Why Steve Jobs Always Wore a Black Turtleneck

Oct 11, 2011 - 21 Comments

Steve Jobs and the black turtleneck

Ever wonder why Steve Jobs always wore a black mock turtleneck and jeans? Thanks to his upcoming biography, Steve Jobs, we have an answer. Here’s the fascinating excerpt:

On a trip to Japan in the early 1980s, Jobs asked Sony’s chairman Akio Morita why everyone in the company’s factories wore uniforms. He told Jobs that after the war, no one had any clothes, and companies like Sony had to give their workers something to wear each day. Over the years, the uniforms developed their own signatures styles, especially at companies such as Sony, and it became a way of bonding workers to the company. “I decided that I wanted that type of bonding for Apple,” Jobs recalled.

Sony, with its appreciation for style, had gotten the famous designer Issey Miyake to create its uniform. It was a jacket made of rip-stop nylon with sleeves that could unzip to make it a vest. So Jobs called Issey Miyake and asked him to design a vest for Apple, Jobs recalled, “I came back with some samples and told everyone it would great if we would all wear these vests. Oh man, did I get booed off the stage. Everybody hated the idea.”

In the process, however, he became friends with Miyake and would visit him regularly. He also came to like the idea of having a uniform for himself, both because of its daily convenience (the rationale he claimed) and its ability to convey a signature style. “So I asked Issey to make me some of his black turtlenecks that I liked, and he made me like a hundred of them.” Jobs noticed my surprise when he told this story, so he showed them stacked up in the closet. “That’s what I wear,” he said. “I have enough to last for the rest of my life.”

This clip was mailed to Gakwer by Walter Isaacson himself, the author of Jobs biography.


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Posted by: Matt Chan in News


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  1. Rooah says:

    “Fascinating story”? Really? Ummm yeah.

  2. kClaire says:

    So dirty looking tennis shoes complete his signature style of garb for work?

  3. oooooo eeee ooooo says:

    i know your reading this i know you are!!!!!

    trying to scroll down so you dont read it?

  4. intersys says:

    It has somthing to do with the illuminati.

  5. Rick says:

    Steve used to wear different kinds of clothing in his earlier days at apple. He even did some of the corporate suit looks, but his hatred for corporate culture had a lot to do with him ditching the suit and tie, as well as shutting down Apple’s board rooms that Amelio and Scully built.

  6. Lively Granddad says:

    I’ve worn black mock turtlenecks for more years than Steve, as (1) it can be worn with ANYTHING, (2) black always hides a multitude of sins, and (3) there’s no decision-making involved. Jeans or suit pants, it just works. I always enjoyed seeing him as casual but distinctive — especially since I was only 4 years older than he and felt that way whenever I wore them. It was a great look — and still is for some of us. His distinctiveness will be missed in all his unique ways.

  7. Tapani says:

    This is Steve Jobs’ biggest mistake.
    Always having black next to his skin – it is the main reason to his cancer. It created disorder to skin and especially to his tissues and organs inside black turtleneck.

    “So I asked Issey to make me some of his black turtlenecks that I liked, and he made me like a hundred of them.” Jobs noticed my surprise when he told this story, so he showed them stacked up in the closet. “That’s what I wear,” he said. “I have enough to last for the rest of my life.”

  8. Ralph says:

    I also wear the same (well nearly the same) clothes, day after day. Yet my career has not been nearly as successful as Steve’s. Maybe if I also get about 100 identical tee shirts (personal signature style) and identical beige pants (another signature of mine) I will reach his level, hopefully soon.

  9. omg says:

    omg thats the dumbest s*** I’ve ever read. I don’t believe that. I believe he was a great figure in consumer technology but a not a great fashionista.

    • *sigh says:

      @omg . . where in this story do you get the crazy idea that his simple outfit was an attempt to be a “fashionista” of ANY level?? You’ve managed to completely miss the point of this story. You’re entitled to believe anything you want (another example of why belief is such a worthless thing) but if you are going to pollute cyberspace with your oh so important beliefs can you at least try to make them more relevant to whatever it is you are commenting on? Thank you. P.S. – free tip: beginning any communique with hyperbole isn’t the best way to be taken seriously.

    • lost says:

      @omg People like you could be either dense, or plain stupid.

  10. […] – Why Steve Jobs Always Wore a Black Turtleneck: klick …und aus aktuellem Anlass auch noch eine kurze Anleitung/Zusammenfassung zum iOS5 Jailbreak: […]

  11. Frank says:

    Steve lost 20 Kilo in the last few years. Nice myth.

  12. shubhi says:

    I respect the thoughts of Great man “Steve Jobs”..

  13. Marcos says:

    the answer for that question is quiet simple. Anyone looks better in black

  14. Riddell says:

    Issey Miyake and Steve Jobs have a lot in common, great design sense

  15. Deocliciano says:

    Stop IT!
    I already love this man.

    SONY, are you listening?
    How did you lost your soul?

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