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How Steve Jobs Didn’t Influence the World of Fashion

Steve Jobs
Image Credit: Ben Stanfield, Creative Commons

From the late 90’s to his untimely passing, Steve Jobs has been known as two things – the guy behind one of the most innovative companies of all time, Apple, and the guy in sneakers, jeans and a black mock turtleneck. Granted, the former made him an immortal icon in the tech industry. But it’s the later which showcased his philosophy of personal branding and prioritizing, and became a large part of what made Jobs a cultural icon.

Jobs wasn’t the first person who sought consistency in his public outings to the point that he would always be seen wearing exactly the same thing. Albert Einstein always wore a gray suit. Johnny Cash was always dressed in black. Mark Zuckerberg’s casual style revolves around jeans and gray t-shirts. People are known to adopt certain styles, or even certain items of clothing, as if they were uniforms, and use them to either remove the daily drag of deciding what to wear, or to become highly recognizable by their clothing choices.

This is, however, the exact opposite of what fashion and trends seem to be doing. Promoting the constant change by releasing different clothing in seasons, and then building trends around them, the constant change of fashion could, at best, fit into a single style, although this isn’t always a case within the same brand. As it’s often said that style and trends don’t always go hand in hand, what Jobs and people like him did way develop a personal style to its natural extreme, where style becomes a single combination of clothing. And it wouldn’t work well for everyone.

Einstein, Jobs, Cash and Zuckerberg could afford this kind of restriction for themselves because the body of work they performed touched people’s lives in a very profound way. They themselves don’t have to show how they evolve by a change of their clothes because the products of their work showcase their personal evolution, and it’s the clothes that are there to provide the link between all the different phases in their work. They are there to ground everything in a single recognizable image.

Another message that is conveyed by this kind of unusual fashion choice of always wearing the same is that the person who is doing it has more important things to think of. If clothes are a way of expressing ourselves, Jobs’ clothes said about him that he was more interested in developing Apple products than being distracted by things like choosing what to wear. It is a testament of focus very driven persons have and is as such a representation of their personality. Just as someone would have Verdict products because they fit into their lifestyle, others could chose an uniform for themselves because that is what represents what matters to them the most –their body of work. If viewed like that, Jobs’ influence on the world of fashion, or lack thereof, would be in the fact that his choices clearly depicted a person who isn’t guided by any trend that comes from the outside, but only by the things he carries on the inside, which were in his case related to creation, efficiency and progress.

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Lessons to Learn from Hipsters

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The term “hipster” is one of the most hated and controversial labels of our time. People who are called hipsters hate it because they’re not too fond of being labeled. People who call them hipsters hate it because, well, they just don’t like what the hipster subculture stands for. And while one would argue that there’s no such thing as a hipster, and the other would say that hipsters exist to the dismay of the mainstream culture, the fact is that there is a subculture among young urban people, with certain traits and trends arising within it. But what the mainstream critics fail to recognize is that the so-called hipsters have something to teach, something that everyone would benefit from listening.

Not giving in to the pressures of the mainstream society would be one of those things. The amount of criticism and vitriol flung at the people identified as hipsters is incredible, but it doesn’t produce any noticeable result. The hipster, as they call it, is alive and well within a subculture that’s built around independent and alternative music, movies, forms of art, and lifestyles. Not that the kind of mix that comes up when you have all sorts of alternative arts and lifestyles doesn’t produce a miss or two, but the shear will not to give in to the pressure is something that should be respected, if not admired. It’s also something that’s not entirely unique to hipsters, as the confident carefree lifestyle that Verdict users like to live also has the same spirit of not giving in to pressures.

The search for authenticity is something that the mainstream could also learn from hipsters. The mainstream view on the relationship between hipsters and authenticity is that the group fetishizes it. While this might as well be true in some cases, and while the search for authenticity doesn’t always end with finding it, the worst it gets among hipsters is the same you’d find in the mainstream – a mix of things that don’t have to get along and a false sense of the authentic. So yes, while the outcome isn’t always favorable, the idea that authenticity is something that should be sought and developed is found among hipsters and it is something that mainstream could use more.

Living according to one’s conscience is another thing hipsters do, especially when it comes to things related to ecology. Eating only organic foods, using artisanal products that are more expensive but nature-friendlier, as well as riding bikes aren’t the most practical and cost-effective always, but they are certainly fueled by good intentions. While many of these things aren’t that strange in some parts of the world – in some countries organic food still dominates the cuisine, and riding bikes is mainstream in much of Europe – in other places they are seen as an attempt to forge an identity that seems unnatural and forced to the mainstream culture. Still, being seen like that by the eyes of the many and not so brave is a thing that shouldn’t be too hard to trade for a clear conscience.

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Carefree and Careless – Why it’s Better to Be the Former

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Being carefree and being careless are two very different qualities people choose to incorporate into their lifestyle. The root of both words is care, so it’s sometimes easy to mix the two and their meanings, although they cannot be more different. Especially when they are used to describe the attitude one can take towards the world. People who are carefree and people who are careless are two very different kinds of people, and if you’re looking to change your lifestyle so that you worry less about things, you’d be better served by choosing to be carefree.

A carefree lifestyle is a lifestyle in which you tend not to worry as much about all the troubles that might become you. You might be broke, you might be heartbroken, or you might lose your job, and if you’re carefree you’ll know that money is lost and money is made, that there’s plenty of fish in the sea, and that there are a lot of ways you can support yourself until you find a new, better job. Carefree people don’t ignore their problems, as that wouldn’t be a very smart thing to do, but instead on dwelling on the problems and becoming paralyzed by them, carefree people take a different approach. They have enough confidence to know that things can change for better and for worse, and that they’d be better served by trying to change things than by moaning. The same attitude of knowing what to care about and how to do it also spreads into their private lives – because being carefree means you should know to set your priorities, you’ll be able to separate the peer pressure from your genuine opinions, and know which one are important.

A careless lifestyle is more often associated with disregarding the consequences of one’s own actions. People who are careless also tend to not dwell on things, but the things they decide not to dwell on are much different from the things a carefree person wouldn’t dwell on. Careless people are also described as reckless, negligent, or incautious, and all of those words paint a picture that’s not that pretty. Carelessness can cause damage in the workplace, in personal relationships, in any kind of human interaction, or any other kind of interaction for that matter. Yes, it could be said that a careless lifestyle is a rebellious lifestyle, but that rebellion wouldn’t make any sense, because it would be a rebellion against pretty much everything, with no real reason behind it except the desire to avoid feeling responsible for the outcomes of our own actions.

Personal motivation for becoming careless and carefree might be the same – the desire to cope with the pressures that inadvertently arise from being alive and being human. However, while careless people choose to ignore the pressure by not giving any thought about what effects their actions might cause, carefree people will know to let go what they can’t influence, and focus on what they can. So yes, becoming carefree would be a better way to worry less in life, both for you and the people around you. So get your Verdict gear in order, put a smile on your face, and learn to greet all things in life – the good and the bad alike – with a positive, constructive attitude.

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Where Gadgets and Style Meet

There probably was a point in time when the value of gadgets stopped being based solely on the functions they had and became entwined with the style the gadgets came in. It might be hard to exactly pinpoint that moment, but chances are they would have something to do with Apple, because when it comes to marrying style and technology, Apple’s been on the crest of that wave for a very long time. Not that it’s the only company that relies heavily on product design to ensure its place in the hearts and minds of consumers, in fact, any company who would even dream of competing in Apple-dominated markets would better be heavy on the design side if it is to have at least a slight chance.

Tech products, the various gadgets we can use today, have become a fashion accessory in their own right. A smart watch has replaced a standard timepiece. A smartphone has replaced a number of things that we used to use, but now don’t need because there’s a single device that does a bunch of things. A power bank, like the one made by Verdict, is as much an accessory as it is a gadget. The list goes on and on and is seemingly endless. In fact, it would seem that the only thing that’s needed for a gadget to be considered a stylish accessory is for it to have some resemblance of style. And this, of course, is not the case, because the place where gadgets and style meet, where gadgets become accessories, has some rules of its own.

Image Credit: MIKI Yoshihito, Creative Commons

If you’d think of it a little bit better, the thing that separates the really desirable, stylish gadgets and those that might catch the eye but rarely make you take out your valet is functionality. In order for a gadget to get to the point where it’s considered an accessory that people want to have it has to do its primary job well. Even when a gadget becomes an accessory it never really stops being a gadget, and it never stops drawing its value from its original use.

People won’t spend their money on a smart watch that looks incredible if it will break down every now and then, or if it would have only a couple of hours of power autonomy. You wouldn’t want to get a Verdict speaker if you wouldn’t be able to use it with your devices, or if it wouldn’t be able to reproduce sounds louder than a whisper. No, in order for a gadget to be viewed as an accessory, it first needs to be a very good gadget.

And of course, it needs to be superbly designed, because that’s what gives the additional value to the gadget and takes it to the next level. This isn’t something that’s easy to do, as we’ve seen plenty of great products which had flaws in their design that either limited functionality, or simply didn’t make them attractive enough to reach the coveted status of an accessory. But those that get there are the ones we remember the most as the points where tech met style.

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Personal Style – How to Develop It

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There are many things you either have or don’t have. Sense of rhythm, for example, or green eyes. But among those things you’re very unlikely to find personal style because, for the most part, personal style is something you build over time, something you develop as you become a self-aware individual. You need to be aware of your body, you need to be aware of your values, and you need to be well aware of your place in this thing we call society. There are plenty of shortcuts all along the way, like joining a group and adopting their style for your own, but the case where an adopted style fits perfectly with the one that could be called personal is something on which you shouldn’t be counting. Better to spend more time trying to figure out who you are and what look is the look that describes you.

To do that, your first step should always include some good, long, tough introspection. It’s easy to just sit in front of a computer screen, do a couple of internet searches and find the people who look like you feel you would want to look. But that look they pull off isn’t necessarily something you might be able to pull off, or something that you’d be comfortable trying at all. You might want your style to ooze wealth, then find out that fur coats are a status symbol, only to be turned off of them by the fact that it’s not okay for animals to die so you can look wealthy. That’s why the first thing you need to do is some soul searching. Who are you? What kind of person are you? What kind of clothes will accentuate your personality? You also need to be aware of the kind of impression you want to make with your style choices. Are you a serious, professional person? Then a clean cut style, with perfectly fitting clothes and carefully chosen minimal accessories will be the thing to look for. Are you a creative soul? In that case, you can play with colors, sizes, and bold combinations.

You should also be well aware of your body type, because some things simply won’t look good on you if you don’t meet some requirements, and you’ll end up not liking your choices. Overly baggy clothes fit tall people better than people who are not very tall. People with short legs and long torsos look better in medium to high rise pants, and should avoid low cut pants. There’s a ton of these kinds of guidelines, and the best thing about them is that they’re not meant to force you into a certain style. They are there to make sure that your body looks as proportionate as possible with some helps from the clothes you wear. Colors and patterns also have a part in your style. For best outcomes, it would be a good idea to develop a color palette, one that will match your skin tone and your eye color, and stick with it.

Once you’ve established what kind of look fits your body and your personality the best, you need to go shopping, right? Well, wrong. Shopping comes next, after you do some research. It is possible to look online for brands and clothing lines that fit your requirements. Brands like Verdict, for example, cater to self-aware, confident people who are not afraid to go against the grain. Other brands deliver a promise that you’ll be trendy and blend in well if you wear their clothes, and people choose those even though following trends and having style are very often two opposite things. Because most of the brands and clothing lines have an online presence today, you can find a brand that suits you before you leave your house to go and actually buy clothes. Buying your clothes in a brick and mortar shop is something you will have to do eventually, because there’s nothing better than trying out your new clothes before buying them. The old-fashion way of shopping is something you need to partake from time to time, and there’s very little chance you’ll make a mistake if you go step by step.

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Choosing the Right Clothing Line for Yourself

If you’re confident enough in yourself and your own taste, no one will be able to tell you what to wear, and no one will be able to make you feel bad for the fashion choices you make. You won’t look for approval from your peers before each and every purchase you make. You won’t have to worry about what was “in” this season, and what wasn’t, or for how many seasons you’d be able to wear that item you spent a lot of money on before it becomes ridiculously outdated. However, no matter how independent and confident you are, you will still need to buy clothes from clothing lines and brands, unless you plan to have every item other than your socks and your underwear custom-made. But hey, there’s plenty of clothing lines to choose from, so how hard can it be?

The answer might surprise you, especially if you’re a considerate person who likes to think about choices before actually making them. In that case, the number of factors you’ll need to count into the decision making process can get quite high. So, before you set out to find the right clothing line for your needs, here are a few things you’ll need to consider.

Clothing line
Image Credit: Robert Couse-Baker, Creative Commons

Before anything else, you need to be able to imagine yourself wearing the clothes from the line and feeling good at the same time. Yes, this has to do with the looks of the clothes – both the design and the cut. If you’re not too into denim, you should skip the lines that use denim heavily.

If you don’t like plaid shirts, you should look for a brand that only makes dress shirts, or simple casual shirts. As for the cut, you’ll need to be aware of what your body type is and what are your measurements, and then find the clothes that are cut in a way that will fit you the best. If you have long legs, a long torso, very broad shoulders or a posterior you’d like to hide, you need to find the clothes with a cut that fits those kinds of physical traits. If you’d like really skinny jeans, you should know that not all clothing lines have them, just as a lot of them don’t have baggy cargo pants.

Materials influence your choice in two ways. First, you might have a strong distaste for some materials, like polyester for example. In that case, you’ll want to avoid clothing lines which use it frequently. You might even be allergic to some of the materials clothes are made from these days. There are a few manufacturers and designers that use materials made from milk protein, and no matter how weird that might sound, it is a real thing and it can cause an allergic reaction. It is also known that wool and sensitive skin don’t go well together, and that some dyes used to color clothes can cause an allergic reaction. So, if you know what you should and should not wear health-wise, you should factor that in when you chose a go-to clothing line.

Of course, you need to have a long look at the brand itself. Using a certain brand tells more about you than you might think. Brands have their own image, they cater to people who live different lifestyles and have different values, and using a brand has become a way people identify themselves as a part of a larger group. So, if you don’t want to be identified as someone who is just a part of the mass, you should avoid the brands that cast their net to catch the biggest number of consumers. If you want a brand to compliment your carefree, confident lifestyle, you should go with Verdict instead of a brand that caters to people who are obsessed with trends and other people’s opinions. This can take a more political turn, and you can choose to buy only from brands that don’t use sweatshop workers. Or the brands that use only the materials manufactured to the highest ecological standards. All in all, finding a brand you’ll turn to when all the others fail isn’t as easy as it seems, but it’s a fun jigsaw puzzle to assemble, and you’ll thank yourself you invested the effort by the time you’re done.

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Why Clothing Matters

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You know the saying that clothes make the man, or the woman? Well, it’s true. Not because people in the fashion industry want you to believe it’s true, or because it’s a great excuse for people who pay way too much attention to what they wear. It’s true because of human behavior, because of the way we perceive our surroundings, and because there are certain cultural aspects of clothing and looks that come into play. But whatever the reason behind it, you should know that you’re being judged by the way you look on a daily basis.

Sight is one of the most important of senses, if not the most important one. That’s a fact that really doesn’t need any backing, we know it instinctively, and it’s been proven scientifically. However, apart from just seeing thing, eyes are important because we use the information they provide us to judge things. At a street crossing, we look left and right to see whether there are cars coming our way, and if there are not, we know it’s safe to cross the street. In a store, we use the information we gather with our eyes to determine whether the things we see are the things we need to buy. And of course, we use our eyes to judge the state of the things we want to buy – a bad apple will look bad, a damaged packaging will indicate the products might have been tampered with. Other senses come into play as well, but the eyes, they simply provide us with so much information and we’re so used to relying on them.

Of course, over time, we’ve evolved to use our eyes to judge people. If they don’t look good, we might attach a number of attributes to them, even subconsciously. So a person with an unkempt look might be perceived as ill, poor, lazy, or less desirable. And that’s not a nice thing, and it even doesn’t have to be accurate, but it is something that happens in people’s brains. It gets worse, because we usually take an extremely small amount of time when meeting someone face to face to form an impression of them, and that first impression can be formed only on the basis of how people look. Now, not that you should give much thought to what other people think about you, but there are situations when this might be relevant, like when you’re on a job interview, or if you’re on a date. Also, sometimes it doesn’t matter what you wear as long as it’s not indecent and the clothes are clean. So, the fact that clothes matter because people judge you based on it doesn’t have to be all that burdensome.

However, clothes also matter because they are a way for you to express yourselves. Brands like Verdict, in fact, encourage their buyers to use their brand only if it fits their personal style and their life philosophy. This is where clothes become a tool that can be used to manage the image we present to the outer world, which can be very useful sometimes. Utilitarian as it might sound, you will thank yourself for wearing a good suit on a very important business meeting. It might not be pleasant if you don’t like wearing suits, but it’s important to understand that we don’t live in a vacuum, and sometimes it might be beneficial for us to sacrifice a little bit of our personal style if it would bring us something else we want. Of course, taking this too far will eventually make a person lose his or hers personal taste and transform them into just a part of the crowd. That’s the downside of the fact that clothes matter – people who realize it sometimes think that it’s an invitation to be like everyone else, because that’s the safe thing to do.

So, from something that we’re judged on, or a way we can express ourselves, to a tool we can use to influence people in our advantage, clothes are proven to be something that matters a lot. And that’s without thinking about how they provide us protection from the elements and the eyes of people we don’t want to see us without our clothes. Clothes can be a symbol of oppression, but they can also be something that signifies our belonging to a group, and for some people that’s very important. But they can also be fun, they can be artsy, they can be useful and they can serve a specific purpose. And it is because they are all of these things, and many more, that we love our clothes, and we give them such impotrance.

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How to Achieve the Carefree, Confident Cool

Being cool isn’t a new thing. It isn’t an American thing either, even though the term “cool” was first popularized in the jazz circles of the United States in the early 20th century. The philosophy of emotional detachment that is in the center of being cool is something that came to the United States on ships that were carrying slaves from West African tribes, most importantly the Yoruba tribe. The Yoruba had a term “itutu”, which translated in English means literally “cool”. It was used to describe a type of behavior that was required of their tribal elders, who had to be cool, calm, collect and detached in order to be effective mediators in tribal disputes. It is a very sad fact of history that the same attitude of cool was later used to deal with the horrors of enslavement.

Nowadays however, the term cool is applied instead of good, nice, great, or any other terms that we could use to indicate our approval of things. If used like that, the term doesn’t have a set value, its meaning becomes fluid and it becomes just one in the sea of expressions people like to use.

But there is that quality of cool which some things possess, something we instinctively recognize. A carefree and confident lifestyle is one of these things. Might be because the carefree attitude is so easily equated with detachment, or it might be because confident people tend to worry less about things and are more likely to retain their composure in tough situations, but the formula that being carefree and confident is a way to be cool is very true. But how would one go about acquiring the air carefree and confident cool?

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Well, it would have to be by adopting the lifestyle. Carefree can sound like a synonym for irresponsible, and confident might seem to some like it’s an invitation for unbridled egocentrism. But that’s not what they lifestyle is about. The not caring part actually has to do with dealing with the pressures of all the peer groups, societal norms, media and marketers who aim to influence our opinions and guide our actions.

Being carefree is about learning whose opinions matters, who to listen and trust to, and who shouldn’t be anything more than just background noise to us. It takes some work to get there, in truth, as a lot of us are used to being judged by people who don’t have any business judging us, and it’s perceived as just a normal part of living in a society. It takes some guts, too, to make those crucial first steps.

Confidence can help. If you really know yourself, believe in yourself, and are absolutely determined to express yourself in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone, you will find the strength to be carefree. Then again, when you notice you’re doing well and being your authentic self in the same time, you’ll get even more confident in your choices. This will continually give you assurance you’re on the right way, which will in turn help you get even further with the carefree part. You’ll be able to buy the things you really like. You’ll be able to listen to music you really like. You’ll be able to substitute the mainstream brands for those like Verdict, which cater to a select few. You’ll be able to explore your taste in all the things life has to offer, without worrying what other might think about it. And before you notice anything’s changed, people will start to see the air of cool around you. But at that point, it won’t matter to you.

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Authenticity – How Important Is It?

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Authenticity is one of those words that get bounced around quite a lot, usually without paying much attention to the full meaning of the word itself. Authenticity is also often used to describe things that are not, in fact, authentic – in that case, the lack of authenticity becomes a trait and a guilty verdict. Things that are manufactured on an assembly line, like cookie-cutter music, movies, and other forms of what should be artistic expression, can sometimes be shunned if they are perceived to be anything less than authentic.

Of course, not all people give so much weight to an obscure thing such as authenticity, so the cookie-cutter products usually find their way into a lot of homes because they join the mainstream. Is it, however, important to worry about authenticity? Is it something that can be forced, that can be produced, and is there actually any purpose of trying to be authentic?

The core of authenticity is in the virtue of truthfulness. Existentialist philosophers spoke of human beings as being authentic, and how that authenticity relied to the way they act and the things they produce by those actions. For them, staying true to one’s own self, personality, conscience, morals, no matter how much the pressures from the outside would try to make one cave in, would be authenticity. Authenticity is, for them, a struggle, because the outside forces who would like to make you conform are always there, applying pressure.

If viewed like this, authenticity is a concept all of us can relate to, if only for our exposure to the outside pressures which we have felt since our early age. Society is, at its worst, a group of pressures and institutions that are there to enforce those pressures. From schools, to colleges, workplaces, our neighborhoods, circles of friends, groups of peers, the pressure just gangs up in order to mold us into the norms that are acceptable. And in some cases, it’s good that things are like that – laws are put in place for a very good reason, and they should be abided by. But for the choices that are not in the realm of illegality, things like the food we eat, the clothes we wear, how we like to spend our time, how we like to make our money – that’s where the term authenticity can really be applied, and where not being authentic is something that simply should not be forced upon us.

Not that attempts at authenticity are without any fails. You can’t dress like a 19th century prospector and claim you’re authentic because you simply can’t be, unless you’re indeed a prospector who time traveled from the 19th century. However, you can find a brand that makes products that will pertain to some aspects of your personal philosophy, like Verdict might, and be who you are without chasing attention and being overly extravagant. The general notion that we should explore ourselves and feel free to express ourselves, within the boundaries of laws, is something that should come natural and it is what would make us authentic. As long as you’re not trying to be something you’re not, or a poor copy of a person you see on TV or in magazines, you can be your authentic self, and there are really very few things that are more important than that.