SBF May Have Ruined the Disheveled CEO Look

It now sends a disturbing message, writes 'NYT' fashion critic Vanessa Friedman
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2022 1:23 PM CST
SBF May Have Ruined the Disheveled CEO Look
This photo shows George Stephanopoulos interviewing Sam Bankman-Fried on Dec. 1.   (ABC News/Good Morning America via AP)

The financial misdeeds of fallen crypto wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried are being dissected everywhere. In the New York Times, fashion critic Vanessa Friedman explores an entirely different angle to the story, suggesting that SBF's demise might also spell the demise, finally, of the "schlubby" fashion style of tech CEOs. You know the type: T-shirts and cargo shorts instead of a suit—"the ultimate billionaire white boy tech flex," as marketing professor Scott Galloway puts it. The idea these CEOs are deliberately projecting is that they're too busy with weighty matters to worry about what they wear. And while the ethos goes back a ways, with Steve Jobs' turtlenecks and Mark Zuckerberg's hoodies, nobody seems to have embraced it as much as SBF.

He didn't wear "just any T-shirt and cargo shorts, but what could seem like the baggiest, most stretched out, most slept in, most consciously unflattering T-shirts and shorts," writes Friedman. Topped, of course, by "the most unkempt bed-head." The problem is that his "sloppy dress" now seems more like "a red flag about a sloppy approach to other people's money," she writes. "A clue that someone who doesn't care about showering or style is maybe someone who doesn't care about audits and the commingling of funds." Noting that SBF wore a suit in his first Bahamas court appearance, Friedman expects him to continue dressing up from here on out. She adds the "sartorial schtick" of dressing down in Silicon Valley will probably go out of style—"at least for a while." (Read the full piece.)

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