It’s a good time to be a nerd. Currently the nerd has a strong reputation, with plenty of nerd billionaires and with techy nerd jobs all the rage, embracing your inner nerd is hot right now. So if you wanna rock the nerd style, we can totally understand.
Dressing like a nerd is no longer the slur it used to be. And in fact, you’ll often see influencers and egirls embracing their nerd style and still looking cool.
First up, before we look at how to dress like a nerd, we’ll make sure we understand what is nerd style.
What is nerd style?
The style of a nerd has traditionally been seen as using clothing or styling which is less focused on fashion, and more on comfort or practicality. Nerds are not interested in fashionable items, and are especially dismissive of branding. They might also prefer kitsch items, such as Sci-Fi themed t-shirts or collectables.
A genuine nerd might choose to wear a pair of chunky glasses not because they look cool but because they are affordable and functional. And they might wear the same v-neck sweater their mum bought them at Christmas 5 years ago simply because it’s comfortable, it fits and they like it – regardless of whether it looks ‘cool’.
In short, the nerd style often focuses on not actually caring what people think about your style.
Who is a good example of a famous nerd?
When it comes to the classic nerd, we think of that dweeby looking guy in the corner with chunky glasses and a bad shirt. And today there are several very famous nerds who have made nerds kinda cool.
Some examples of famous nerds include:
- Bill Gates
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Stephen Hawking
- Napoleon Dynamite
- Carlton from ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’
- Bill Haverchuck from ‘Freaks and Geeks’
- Sheldon from ‘Big Bang Theory’
- Moss from ‘The IT Crowd’ (also Richard Ayoade is a good example of nerd style in real life)
Here’s some classic nerd courtesy of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory.
You might notice that the front of that list features some pretty successful people – while the end of the list features the nerd who has mostly been played for laughs.
But you can also see how these nerds have influenced society and how their style might be inspirational.
So with all that in mind, how can you dress nerd style as a guy (or a gal) and still look cool as fuck?
How to dress nerd style
When it comes to nerd style or geek chic, you need to focus on clothing that you might equate with a geography teacher or computer programmer. Avoid bling, avoid brand names, focus on mostly fair muted or neutral colours and embrace your love of obscure rock bands, computer games or TV series.
The classic style of a nerd is to wear corduroy trousers. Long seen as a very unfashionable material, and pretty much never embraced by haute couture, corduroy is actually hard wearing and pretty comfortable. Perfect for the nerd in you.
Ever see Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs or Elon Musk rocking a Gucci t-shirt? Nope. They pretty much only wear very generic simple coloured t-shirts with no branding or logos. The very height of functional and practical.
In fact, Steve Jobs famously would find an item that he liked, be it shoes, t-shirts or jeans, and buy multiples of them. This meant he didn’t need to go shopping for clothes regularly, or think about what to wear day to day. Classic nerd.
The alternative to the plain tee is to style it out with a super kitsch alternative. Although these days you can find kitsch t-shirts with Mario, the Ramones, Star Wars or other popular alternative culture references, the trick is to rock the t-shirt for something that isn’t fashionable. Yet.
A classic example of this is uber nerd Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, who has an endless wardrobe of kitsch t-shirts.
Big fan of German rock band ‘Obscurity’? Or maybe you have an unhealthy obsession with retro British sci-fi show Space 1999? Now that’s nerd… Can you find the t-shirt?
Embrace the shirts or polo shirts with the big collars. For maximum nerd points, you also need to starch them to perfection.
V-neck sweater + shirt combo
A classic nerd style is to wear a knitted v-neck sweater with a shirt underneath. Keep the sweater crazy patterned and the shirt kinda plain for best effect.
The thick fabric flannel shirt with a crazy pattern is also classic nerd style. Oh and make sure you do those buttons all the way up…
A big chunky woollen sweater is ideal nerd wear. It’s comfortable, practical and mostly pretty un-cool (although they’re more cool these days). Aim for either simple coloured or a nice Scandi style pattern.
Nothing wrong with a suit jacket or blazer as casual wear. Especially if you’re looking for that geography teacher or geek chic styling.
Shirt and tie as casual wear
What’s more nerdy than turning up to a party or casual event wearing a fully buttoned shirt with a tie? Moss from the IT Crowd is a great example of this style of nerd wear – and actually the actor Richard Ayoade does tend to dress like this in real life too.
Of course nerds wear specs. Right? If you do use eyewear, aim for chunky square frames for maximum nerd styling. Even if you don’t wear glasses, you can use clear glass frames to get the nerd effect.
Simple or retro trainers
Don’t even think about a pair of Nike Air Max here. Plain white Reebok Classics or Adidas Continental sneakers would be ideal – although these brands are a bit cool.
Steve Jobs was a big fan of New Balance 990’s (or these days you can get the same style the 2002R for much cheaper).
Fellow tech star Mark Zuckerberg goes for Nike Flyknit Lunar 3.
If in doubt, opt for the most comfortable trainers and avoid anything with pizazz or styling. We like the Reebok Classics from Footshop.
Simple black loafers
Trainers too stylish for you? A pair of simple black shoes is also an ideal nerd style statement. Again, the less in the way of bells and whistles and more focus on comfort and practicality.
Pockets and pouches
It might be a pair of trousers with extra pockets, or it might be a man bag or bum bag (fanny pack as they call them in the US). Whatever, having some extra pockets to keep a handy Swiss Army kit and collection of throat lozenges is the height of nerd styling.
Embrace the man bag and go for a retro style leather satchel.
Where to get nerd styled clothing
If you’re looking for nerd style clothes, some of the best places are charity shops or vintage stores. These tend to be a goldmine of kitsch t-shirts and old mans clothing – which is ideal for nerds.
If you’re looking for cosy and comfortable nerdy mens wear at a good price, check out Damart. They have plenty of great simple styles like flannel shirts, knitwear and sweaters which are ideal for that geek chic.
So there you have it… Lots of ideas for your nerd style for men. Got any other geeky fashion tips? Drop them below.
Prefer to dress a bit cooler? Check out our how to dress like a rock star article…