Dress like Carl Sagan, impress potential romantic interests


Nerd Boyfriend is a Tumblr that provides a guide to dressing your significant other in the style of pretty much every male nerd superhero you can imagine—from Adam West to Woody Guthrie. (Plus quite a few dudes that I don't really think of as geeky icons, like Yves Saint Laurent. But maybe that just because my list of nerderies doesn't include "fashion".)

I'd be intrigued by this Carl Sagan cosplay ... that is, if my husband didn't already pretty much dress exactly like this.

Via Kottke


  1. I’ve been trying to dress my husband like this for fifteen years. Match this outfit with a pair of desert boots and you’ll have to fight off the hot geeky ladies like they’re marauding spider monkeys.

  2. With the exception of the jacket, that pretty much IS how I dress; though I never made the connection with Carl Sagan before now. In fact, I’ve always associated Sagan with turtlenecks, which I most definitely do NOT wear (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

  3. I am trying to determine if there is any hidden message in the timing of this post and the preceding post about catchy anti-STD tunes.

  4. Trade the khaki for a pair of Levi straight-leg jeans, make the shirt white, and the jacket a V-neck cashmere sweater instead, in dark gray or dark blue.

    Skip the belt, it will just get in my way. No shoes, no socks. We’ll be dining in.
    Oh yeah, I can see it.

  5. Much as I admire Sagan, my wardrobe still suggests Woody Guthrie. Maybe if I washed the overalls and ditched the guitar… But how come there’s no Cory Doctorow look?

  6. Read “The Beautiful Fall” and YSL will quickly morph into a geeky icon. It’s an excellent book to boot. I have just about zero interest in fashion, but I’ve read it twice. YSL was a huge nerd, no question.

  7. The link for the belt is wrong and instead goes to a scarf… but the rest of the stuff is a mere $600 up to that point. Maybe I’ll do some research on how to do this as cheap as possible. I want to look like that.

  8. I already do dress like that. If you tell a grown man he can no longer wear t-shirts and jeans, he will most likely end up dressing like Sagan there. Maybe not the same colors of course, but the combination of slacks, button-down and a sport coat (or blazer) is timeless.

    @14: you can achieve this look for far less than $600 per outfit. The most expensive part of that outfit would probably be the sport coat. I think you can pick up a nice one at JC Penney for under $100. You might even find a good one at a secondhand shop, if you’re lucky. The rest of that stuff can be bought almost anywhere. It’s really just the coat and the shoes that will cost the most. You could probably do it all, head to toe, for under $200 if you’re really frugal. Plus, remember that the coat, shoes and belt can go with other outfits, which will stretch your money even further.

  9. The original Nerd Boyfriends—Beastie Boys—paid tribute to Carl Sagan’s 1970s-academic-in-a-blazer-and-turtleneck style in a memorable shoot outside the Guggenheim approximately ten years ago. I believe pipes were involved. Struggling to find a link. Hold the line.

  10. I like the inclusion of Coppi. He looks pretty bad ass in the photos shown.

    But he was a bad ass. He led an amazing life.

    When not climbing mountains like an eagle to win the toughest cycle races in the world, he’d spend his spare time in prison camps when his career was interrupted by world war two and his batallion was captured in North Africa by the British.

    When released from the detainment camp, he found a bike and rode home to pick up where he left off winning races where the margin of victory didn’t need a stopwatch, the church tower would do to count the ten, twenty or more minutes until the second place rider would arrive.

    An athiest, an anarchist who had a notorious affair with a mystery woman Coppi was cannonized by his contrymen and there is a church honouring him and other cyclists on a hill above Lake Como.

  11. An old Planetary Science professor of mine on Sagan:

    “A pretty brilliant guy, once you got past the bullshit.”

  12. $170 for a button-down oxford shirt (and it’s not even sized properly)?
    $160 for chinos?
    $300 for a cheap blazer?
    $260 for a belt?

    Total price, $890.

    Sounds like nerd boyfriend has a pretty deep wallet.

    (Compare to Lands’ End, where you can get the same outfit for $305–and $200 of that is the blazer, which you can probably get cheaper somewhere else).

  13. Great site, but all the linked items are crazy expensive (if the link is not entirely broken) and I´m sure cheaper alternatives can be found.
    Still, it´s fun and there are lots of nice photos I´ve never seen before.

  14. Chinos… urgh. You will end up looking like a microserf.

    Anyway, as with any sense of style, it’s not the macro but the micro – i.e. not the clothes as such but the details that do it, surely?

    So for the authentic ‘1990s Microsoft programmer’ look, you need in addition to the chinos and shirt, a row of pens and electrical screwdrivers in the top pocket of the shirt and ‘utility belt’ for your mobile (or now, Windows7 smartphone).

    Personally, I stick with my own personal cross between 1950s college professor and 1960s mod with a bit of Victorian dandy thrown in for light relief. Just don’t call it ‘steampunk’ or I will be forced to beat you to death with my silver-tipped cane or throttle you with my watch chain…

  15. I’ve been looking at the nerdboyfriend site and I am confused now. Do they use ‘nerd’ to just mean ‘retro’ – I mean no-one in their right mind would say Alain Delon or Akira Kurosawa, to take just two of the first few in that directory, were ‘nerds’. Or is it just that you’d have to be a nerd of some sort to want to dress like them – which I despute, cause both of them were and are, cool as f*ck. Style persists. Fashion doesn’t. They both had it as did many others on that list. Surely, the essence of ‘nerdishness’ is the very opposite of style? Am I wrong?

    1. I could be mistaken, but I think the part you’re missing is that this isn’t “How to dress like a nerd” for nerds, this is “How to dress your nerdy boyfriend like someone who turns you on” for girlfriends of nerds.

      Which, yes, includes a whole bunch of people who aren’t any sort of nerd.

  16. Or, you can be Carl Sagan in the shower, making a discovery!

    I can remember one occasion, taking a shower with my wife while high, in which I had an idea on the origins and invalidities of racism in terms of gaussian distribution curves. It was a point obvious in a way, but rarely talked about. I drew the curves in soap on the shower wall, and went to write the idea down.

    I would love it if the blog analyzed J. Robert Oppenheimer, or Julian Assange. Richard Feynman, or even Jack Parsons are two other musts (Hmm…but which part of Parsons?) Females? I want Lise Meitner’s dress from c. 1914, at a conference at Gottingen…

Comments are closed.