Friday, November 18, 2005

Polyester gets sweaty and smelly

In today's news is the earth-shattering news that the IT industry has the worst dressed workers. Shocking, isn't it?

Of course this reminded me of a passage in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon.
Randy's posture is righteous and alert: it is all because of his suit.

It is trite to observe that hackers don't like fancy clothes. Avi has learned that good clothes can actually be comfortable--the slacks that go with a business suit, for example, are really much more comfortable than blue jeans. And he has spent enough time with hackers to obtain the insight that is it is not wearing suits that they object to, so much as getting them on. Which includes not only the donning process per se but also picking them out, maintaining them, and worrying whether they are still in style--this last being especially difficult for men who wear suits once every five years.

So it's like this: Avi has a spreadsheet on one of his computers, listing the necks, inseams, and other vital measurements of every man in his employ. A couple of weeks before an important meeting, he will simply fax it to his tailor in Shanghai. Then, in a classic demonstration of the Asian just-in-time delivery system as pioneered by Toyota, the suits will arrive via Federal Express, twenty-fours ahead of time so that they can be automatically piped to the hotel's laundry room. This morning, just as Randy emerged from the shower, he heard a knock at his door, and swung it open to reveal a valet carrying a freshly cleaned and pressed business suit, complete with shirt and tie. He put it all on (a tenth generation photocopy of a bad diagram of the half-Windsor knot was thoughtfully provided). It fit perfectly.


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