Geek Chic: Ties that don’t suck

Geek Chic: Ties that don’t suck

MZ_GeekChic_BadgeGeeks may not be known for being the most chic of dressers. But eventually, we all need to get dressed up for something, weddings, funerals, and court appearances, if nothing else. And when we do need to gussy up, how cool is it if we can look both stylish and fly our geek colors?

Last weekend, I attended the Independent Magazine Awards, presented by Utne magazine. MAKE was nominated in the “Science and Technology” category. I wanted to wear something that looked cool, suitably make-y, but something that was also dressy enough to fit the occasion. So, I turned to my new best (er… Facebook) friend, the lovely and talented Bethany Shorb (Detroit, MI). Bethany is the artist/designer behind Cyberoptix Tie Lab (she’s also pitching in with Maker Faire Detroit).

Cyberoptix has a line of gorgeous standard, narrow, and skinny hand-silk-screened ties, available in both microfiber and silk. The art on the ties ranges from diagrams from technical manuals to vintage engravings to medical illustrations. It’s gorgeous work and really well- and lovingly-made.

Bethany was kind enough to send me one of the Ex Libris ties (bottom image), based on a 13th century bookplate. I wore it to the event and was ready, on the red carpet, when asked: “What are you wearing?,” to say “Bethany Shorb for Cyberoptix.” Ah, there was no red carpet, but I did get a number of compliments.

Oh, and we lost. To IEEE Spectrum. We’ve decided we now want to make them our sworn magazine rival (everybody needs one, right?). So, consider the gauntlet down, engineering nerds. And when we show up for the inter-magazine rumble, we know that we’re going to all look fly in our Cyberoptix ties. Who are YOU going to be wearing?

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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