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W e all know the stereotypical nerd getup: button-up shirt, pocket full of pens (with a protector, of course), bow tie, shorts with long socks, a pair of thick glasses — possibly with a piece of tape wrapped around the bridge.

But nerds are evolving, and so is their style. Today you’re more likely to find a nerd sporting a T-shirt and jeans. Fortunately there are some pretty rad ways to keep up with the newest nerdy fashions.


You can’t deny it; startup T-shirts are the standard uniform of a Boulder geek. Startup shirts cannot be bought. They must be earned (usually through blood, sweat and coffee-infused tears). Like Greek letters among frat guys and sorority girls, a startup shirt is something of a status symbol among the Boulder scene. They show that you’re “in” with the crowd and that you’ve reached pro status at nerdy networking. Achieving a wardrobe entirely composed of startup shirts is a lot of work; fortunately, startup geeks love to meet new people — and have them rep their brand.


If there’s anything nerds like, it’s frantically rushing to get something they want (case in point: any con ever). Teefury provides the online form of that adrenaline rush. They sell awesome T-shirts for $10 each — but the shirts are only available for 24 hours. They have designs with everything from Doctor Who to a nyan cat rendition of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” Occasionally, they have “battles” between designs, giving you a special twofer. You have to check Teefury every day if you don’t want to miss any shirts, but the designs are so awesome it’s absolutely worth it.


ThinkGeek is a nerdy merch-Mecca. Not only do they have clothes, but ThinkGeek also sells gadgets, toys and even that ever-so-helpful caffeinated candy. You can “shop by interest,” from Minecraft to Hunger Games. They sell shirts with designs from nerdy webcomic XKCD, as well as “interactive shirts” that change appearance based on certain criteria: my favorite is one with a built-in wi-fi detector that lights up the shirt depending on how strong the signal is.


Threadless is a crowdsourced gold mine of designs. Artists can submit a design, and then users vote on whether the design should be made into a product. In honor of Halloween, they’re currently featuring an out-of-control set of “Nightmare Before Christmas” designs that range from absolutely adorable to flashbacks of crying in the corner after the Boogeyman scene. They even have a design called Geek Chic that models the classic Louis Vuitton pattern but replaces the “LV” logo with pi, a gamepad, 22-sided dice and more. Geek chic indeed.

Jessica Ryan is a senior media studies major at CU Boulder. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan.

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