Why doesn't Steve Jobs wear a belt?
June 10, 2008 8:51 PM   Subscribe

Am I the only person to realize that Steve Jobs never wears a belt at these public Apple conferences? Is this part of his "iconic" look or maybe a mistake on his part?

I really think not wearing a belt makes his look seem incomplete and gives the impression he wears pajamas 24/7 and just before his Apple events, rushes into some clothes, forgetting his belt before dashing to the stage in a hurry.
posted by stlboi to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (36 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Regardless of the reason, "mistake" is the wrong word. It might be a bad idea, but I doubt that any part of those presentations happens by accident. But you know, after three or four years now of watching keynotes, I haven't even noticed. It's never come up in interviews, either, or been picked up by people looking for something to criticize about him and Apple. It's almost as though it didn't matter whether or not he wears a belt or just has, I dunno, really well-tailored pants that just stay up on their own.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:59 PM on June 10, 2008


Steve, 30+ years ago.

belts and old-school 501s don't go well together, 'k.
posted by tachikaze at 9:01 PM on June 10, 2008


I remember hearing that his jeans are tailored. Maybe he just doesn't need one and doesn't care about the expectations of the non-tailored world. Sort through this if you like.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:03 PM on June 10, 2008


Current thinking in men's fashion favours not wearing belts in you can get away with it because it ruins the lines of the clothes. I'm not cool like Jobs, I'm just repeating what I saw on an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy a couple of years ago.
posted by AndrewStephens at 9:11 PM on June 10, 2008


You might want to take a look at this.

(Fictional; doesn't mention belt; still perhaps relevant)
posted by neroli at 9:12 PM on June 10, 2008


An article about Steve's fashion sense.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:16 PM on June 10, 2008


Speaking as a young software engineer and very recent student, ie a member of two of Apple's core (nyuk) markets, the idea that a belt is something that one would want to wear and "forget" as if it was something you would normally put on as a matter of course is entirely foreign to me. A belt makes a look seem complete? Well, damn, I don't think I even own one. Is this a man thing? I don't think my fiance has one either.

I mean, the idea never even occurred to me before. Why wouldn't you just buy pants that fit? What does a belt add? Do most people just not buy pants that stay up, anticipating that a belt will take care of that? Doesn't that make your pants look bunchy at the waist?

In other words, if I had gone to the WWDC keynote yesterday I wouldn't have noticed, but now you can bet I'm going to be checking out all the waists at work tomorrow because this question just completely blew my mind. I thought belts were things that one could turn to when one was in the mood to wear one's fat pants, not an everyday accessory.
posted by crinklebat at 9:17 PM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why wouldn't you just buy pants that fit? What does a belt add?

Dress pants generally require belts to look, well, dressed. This is not controversial.

However, 501s are not dress pants.
posted by tachikaze at 9:19 PM on June 10, 2008


He wears the same outfit every day, Levi's, black mock-turtleneck, white New Balance shoes - but never a belt. It is definitely his daily uniform.
Although, I did see him wear a white turtleneck one particularly hot day.
posted by idiotfactory at 9:19 PM on June 10, 2008


Why wouldn't you just buy pants that fit?

Pants are sized in increments of two inches, and sometimes the best fit you can find is nevertheless a little loose. One's waistline can fluctuate a bit as well, and one doesn't want to buy pants that only fit now but will also fit if one loses or gains a few pounds.
posted by kindall at 9:20 PM on June 10, 2008


The only way my pants stay up without a belt is to hike them over the bulge, Fred Mertz-style. (Not as big, but you know)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:31 PM on June 10, 2008


Don't give me that two inch bit. It's definitely not hard to find the "odd" sizes. I own pants with waistlines ranging from 28-31. Everything in between. You just have to look a bit harder.
posted by Precision at 9:56 PM on June 10, 2008


Belts are not worn to keep trousers up, much as necklaces are not worn to hold your head on. They are fashion accessories.
posted by sfkiddo at 9:57 PM on June 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


No, you're not the only one that has noticed.
posted by tellurian at 10:12 PM on June 10, 2008


Belts are not worn to keep trousers up, much as necklaces are not worn to hold your head on. They are fashion accessories.

Says who?
posted by unmake at 11:11 PM on June 10, 2008


All interesting answers. I think that it's really interesting that the CEO of one of the most fashionably conscious companies chooses to not wear belts especially with a tucked in turtleneck. It's just weird to me because I've noticed through highschool and the working world that when someone often wears tucked in shirts with no belt and their pants kinda high, they are often viewed as "out of touch" with fashion or they are known to not really care about how they appear to others. But he has much respect from me for keeping close to his roots through all these years and not worrying what other people think. I mean it's not a terrible look. I just personally think it would look a little more complete with a nice black belt to balance it all out. :)
posted by stlboi at 11:40 PM on June 10, 2008



No. No belt. He's got it exactly right. That recipe has no belt in it -it doesn't go with those pants. You may not like the dish, but he followed the recipe exactly. It's a very calculated outfit. I think you're just from a different sartorial climate.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 12:10 AM on June 11, 2008


From Wired:
Somehow we got on the topic of makeup for TV interviews…
Jobs: I have never worn makeup.
Shriver: Really?
Jobs: I don’t give a s**t what I look like.
Shriver: But some people do.
Me: Yeah, like Schwarzenegger. Boy, does he layer it on. Have you ever seen him close up?
Shriver chortles: Have I ever seen him close up? I can’t believe you asked me that.
posted by AaRdVarK at 1:11 AM on June 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


You do not wear belts with jeans that fit - you can wear belts with low-riding jeans to keep them from dropping off but that's another fashion statement entirely.
posted by dabitch at 1:24 AM on June 11, 2008


I noticed that years ago. Could be a "Think Different" thing.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:28 AM on June 11, 2008


It also says to employees, "We won't hassle you about protocol as long as you get the job done."
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:34 AM on June 11, 2008


sfkiddo: "Belts are not worn to keep trousers up, much as necklaces are not worn to hold your head on. They are fashion accessories."

I wear a belt to keep my pant up but that's because my gut is so big that it pushes my pants down, Steve Jobs in much better shape (even at ten years old than me) and can get pants that fit him without a belt.
posted by octothorpe at 4:29 AM on June 11, 2008


I didn't realize that belts are normally worn with pants until after college. Maybe Steve Jobs never realized. More likely, he knows that one should wear a belt, but he just doesn't care. Scientists and engineers generally don't have to adhere to the dress standards of the business world.
posted by emd3737 at 5:57 AM on June 11, 2008


That's seventeen extra seconds per day he can spend thinking about product design & management -- instead of putting on his belt. I bet that's the rationale for the whole look.

Now I gotta go design my own uniform...
posted by amtho at 6:08 AM on June 11, 2008


My "classic" ideas about trouser fashion rules is that the belt should match the shoes. There is no belt that matches white gym shoes.

Even if the rule is no longer apt in these heady modern times, I still can't think of a belt that would work with his look.

(There is a guy at work who clearly follows the belt as accessory rule, because he wears suspenders to keep his pants up. His belt is just loosely hanging there.)
posted by gjc at 6:16 AM on June 11, 2008


Remember Seinfeld?
He used to tuck in AND wear those big snow-white sneakers.
I think it was simply the zeitgeist of the 80's and early 90's; like so many guys, it stuck.
My mom and probably your mom too wears the same hairstyle today as she did when she was a high school senior. Why change if it works?
posted by Dizzy at 6:30 AM on June 11, 2008


My mom and probably your mom too wears the same hairstyle today as she did when she was a high school senior.
Maybe your mother, but mine certainly doesn't. I suspect many others don't either.
TEST: Drag out high school photos and look at reactions about how they dressed and their hairstyles. My bet is that it would be all 'OMG, I can't believe I had that hairstyle/wore those clothes'.
Why change if it works? FASHION.
posted by tellurian at 6:44 AM on June 11, 2008


If you have a gut and you wear your pants below your gut, rather than at your actual waist, the buckle can get irritating if you spend a lot of time sitting.

That said, there's something wrong with men who don't wear belts. Weirdos.
posted by electroboy at 7:13 AM on June 11, 2008


[a few comments removed - this is a basic question, feel free to answer it.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:18 AM on June 11, 2008


2¢... Personally, I feel naked if I leave the house without a belt. Maybe I am getting square in my old age, but at some point in high school I noticed that even khakis without a belt looked weird. I am, of course, speaking ONLY to men's fashion here. Let's hope the current trend of girls wearing their belts just below the bust for no reason whatsoever is a short-lived one and in five years ridiculed as leggings and pegged pants are today.

My rule is: all leather should match: shoes/belt/watch band. since I do not have a watch with a black band, I often go without, rather than mix the brown and black leathers. Of course, that could be solved by getting a metal-banded watch but I'm not there yet.

Again, maybe I'm just getting old, but I feel like if you're an adult: you wear a belt. The exception being if you're an Italian high-fashion male model you get to do whatever the hell you want. You've earned it.
posted by indiebass at 9:14 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yup, definitely belt required with jeans. Jobs looks weird.
posted by rlef98 at 9:40 AM on June 11, 2008


I'm also confused by the use of the word "mistake" in regards to his not wearing a belt. I was a slender no-hipped female growing up and wore belts out of necessity. They kept my jeans up. Now that I've grown up and been visited by the child-bearing hips fairy I still wear belts, but only because it's now my style and some of my jeans will still wiggle their way down my hips w/out them. I have never once thought a belt was a requirement, but an accessory that some people used and some people did not.

On a side note: I put on my belt so that the buckle rests to the left of center, almost on my left hip. I've been asked many times why I do this, sometime not kindly. I always were a black leather belt with a silver buckle and for whatever reason don't like having the buckle front and center. I've been amazed at how readily people are willing to be scandalized by my heathen belt usage.
posted by Constant Reader at 10:18 AM on June 11, 2008


For shorter people like me, not wearing a belt is preferable because it breaks up the lines from torso to legs. If you're tall, you want to wear a belt specifically because it breaks up the long silhouette. Of course, if your pants are falling down, that's an entirely separate issue of size, fit, and tailoring.

girls wearing their belts below the bust for no reason whatsoever
It creates longer lines and thus has a slimming effect on the silhouette and also accentuates the bust.
posted by junesix at 10:29 AM on June 11, 2008


You do not wear belts with jeans that fit - you can wear belts with low-riding jeans to keep them from dropping off but that's another fashion statement entirely.

Of course you wear belts with jeans that fit, if you are the belt wearing sort. No one deliberately buys ill fitting clothes in order to wear a belt. My personal feeling is that pants with belt loops worn without a belt have an odd, incomplete look. It's so early 90's, somehow...

belts and old-school 501s don't go well together, 'k.

Boo to that.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:47 AM on June 11, 2008


This is foreign to me too. I always figured you wore a belt if you either needed it, or wanted it as an accessory. I would never say it's a mistake not to wear one...
posted by Nattie at 11:48 AM on June 11, 2008


Am I the only person to realize that Steve Jobs never wears a belt at these public Apple conferences?

No.

Is this part of his "iconic" look

Yes.

or maybe a mistake on his part?

No.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:26 AM on June 12, 2008


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