Actual need is irrelevant. An in-your-face pair of specs announces to the world (or at least to your Starbucks barista), "I'm such a visual person — and sometime devourer of obscure French philosophy — that only the finest eyewear can grace these orbs."
The default look should be one of angst, as if the cultural fate of the world lay in your moisturized hands. (Beard stubble optional but recommended.)
Select and carry with you an idiosyncratic creative totem — anything from a particular style of cheap plastic pen to a finely bound antique leather sketch journal.
The timepiece can make one of two statements: "I've got class and style; just look at my Bell & Ross." Or "the party never stops."
Shirt and tie
Think yin and yang. The cotton-poly blend of the shirt with its circa 1970s design bespeaks a certain creative savvy. A distinctive (or distinctively shabby) tie or jacket should be thrown in as a nod to professionalism.
Known in the trade as the "peek-a-boo" of a designer's outfit, it says, "If there's any doubt as to my creative cred, catch a glimpse of my outrageous belt."
While wildly overpriced jeans are a mainstay of a designer's wardrobe, a well-chosen pair of plain-front slacks evokes visions of British mod.
Canvas sneakers offer a hint of youthful playfulness — and tell the suits in no uncertain terms that you refuse to play by the rules.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.