Geek Chic

As all of you may know, Dr. Isis is the go-to wisdom for all-things science fashion. I have asked her many questions on professional dress (some of which I’m actually following! I’ve been wearing heels to work sometimes! This kind of transformation has to happen slowly), and she is my muse for whenever I wonder “does this adorable blouse go with my pencil skirt?” (usually the answer is no, matching is something that Sci needs to work on).
I do like dressing up. It makes me feel more confident and like I can actually ask questions in seminar and maybe sound intelligent (though it doesn’t always work). But I can’t dress up all the time. In some of the research I do, there’s grubby stuff that goes on. And I like tshirts! Moreover, I like geeky tshirts!
So here, in my non-matching, fashionless, geeky, yet amazingly awesome way, is my introduction to: Geek Chic.
(A note: this will probably be the only fashion post I will ever put on this blog, and it showcases all my favorite geeky shirts! This is also a wonderful excuse for if you want to buy Sci anything. I accept gifts.)

Geek chic is usually made of the following things:
-geeky functional shoes
-blue jeans
-geeky shirts
-geeky glasses (optional)
-geeky jewelery (also optional)
So let’s start from the bottom and work up.
A geek shoe is a good shoe. They must be closed-toed and all sides must be covered (to follow lab protocols). It’s a shoe that will be with you five years down the road. They don’t look grubby, they look broken in. They don’t look old, they look loved. And a good science-geek shoe is one that will stand the test of time, wear, and 3M NaOH. Sometimes, I wish I was wearing something with steel toes, but those aren’t so good for every day wear.
Me, I’m a Converse Chucks girl. I like them in some fun color like purple, but if I could get them in royal blue with lady bugs on them, believe me, I would. When I can’t look down and think “ooooh, I am wearing cute flats today!”, I can look down and go “oooh! Ladybugs!”
I can also recommend Sketchers. They may not be the height of fashion, but mine DID survive 3M NaOH with hardly a mark on them. I don’t know if I want to know what chemicals they were treated with to allow for that…
This is the best part. I own many geeky shirts, and I love them all. I used to be a huge fan of thinkgeek, but Sciencewoman has recently turned me on to YellowIbis, and both are full of great shirt ideas, or you can design your own!
Geeky shirts can be broken down into several categories:
Chemicals: as a geeky girl, it is always best ot have at least one chemical tshirt. Mine is of course caffeine, but if you are a hott chick, I personally also recommend capsaicin.
capsaicin.jpg (via YellowIbis)
Physics references: My personal favorite one of these is this (via thinkgeek):
Front: schrodingers%20cat%201.jpg
Back: schrodingerscat2.jpg
Though I’m also a big fan of “resistance is futile (if <1 ohm)”. Every time I see it I giggle.
Computer references:
From the somewhat creepy “I’m blogging this” to the classic Linux penguin or ‘no, I will not fix your computer’, these are always favorites with the comp sci crowd.
I’ve been dying for one of these
ilovebrains.jpg (via YellowIbis)
for the neuroscience in my soul. Too cute!
Obviously there are many more categories of awesome geeky shirts, these are merely the ones I like best (I also recommend the chocolate molecule and the ethanol molecule).
Geeky glasses:
From the cute wire frames, to the excitingly chunky plastic variety, geeky glasses are a staple of geek chic. I prefer the wire frames, they’re lighter, and less likely to slide down your nose when you’ve been pipetting for ages.
Geeky jewelery:
For the dressed up geek. I was recently introduced to Made with Molecules, a site that specializes in “art in science”. More importantly, they offer serotonin and dopamine molecule jewelery. How awesome is that?! They also offer estrogen, endorphins, caffeine, and chocolate necklaces, and there’s even a pair of serotonin cufflinks for your handsome male neuroscientist. I should warn you, though, that her interpretations of the chemicals are a little fuzzy. Serotonin has a little note that says “made with happiness”. It’s not REALLY happiness, it’s more a modulation of limbic centers, some people say it’s a modulation of repetitive thinking and memory, as well as modulation of a bunch of higher processing…argh…ok, happiness.
I also just found out they have this:
AWESOME. That would be the greatest thing for an ethanol researcher’s PhD party. I think I need to go buy one, actually…
Oh wow, I just found out they have geeky holidays cards. Must…buy…
Anyway, it’s not all chemicals. I personally wear a trilobite.
So there’s my personal guide to happy geeking around the lab. My geeky tshirts gets lots of compliments, however much they may make Dr. Isis squirm. But fear not, Dr. Isis! I’ll dress like an adult soon enough. 🙂

9 Responses

  1. I have the ethanol glasses! Perfect for champaigne at New Year’s Eve! And I used to have several chemical shirts, including caffeine, ethanol and CHO-CO-La-Te.

  2. I want those ethanol glasses way more than is appropriate.

  3. There is no such thing as “way more than is appropriate”. They are so cool.

  4. The -OH glasses are OK … but it would be nice to see them without the ‘ethanol’ right there.
    I mean . . .if you do not get it … see if you could figure it out before drinking too much. With appropriate clues from the helpful host, as needed of course.

  5. I’ve gotten a handful of geeky shirts from
    also thanks for the link to Dr. Isis’ article. I forgot to add her to my RSS feed when hers got fixed, and I’m passing that article along to my fashion-challenged girlfriend (up next: my fashion-challenged self)

  6. Hey, many thanks for the mention! We’re going to have some extra-geeky holiday products coming out soon but I don’t want to spoil it yet ;).
    I have to mention one of my favorite geek jewellery items:

  7. My favourite computer geek shirt ever, says simply:
    cd /pub
    more beer

  8. One of my labmates and I got the dopamine earrings at a conference last year… we were both presenting posters about dopamine!
    So do you like trilobites because just they’re cool fossils, or because of your allegiance to the House of Heterodyne? Because Girl Genius is just the epitome of geekdom, and Agatha Heterodyne is undeniably a well-dressed woman in science.

  9. Kathryn: YES! I was wondering if anyone would realize my devotion to House Heterodyne! The trilobite is my way of trying to maximize my inner sparkiness. But the only thing it’s done for me so far is had me make a REALLY good cup of coffee…

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