I Wore A Fleece Vest To Work To See If I Felt Like A Finance Or Tech Bro

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, carrying a quilted vest.

Drew Angerer / Getty Photos

As a heterosexual lady over 30, I’ve been haunted by this picture of Jeff Bezos wanting surprisingly swole because it appeared throughout the Solar Valley Convention final summer time. I don’t need to get into it, and neither do you, however let’s all agree that his vest and aviators are undoubtedly a LOOK.

Bezos’s vest displaying off his sun-dappled biceps is probably the right instance of what I’m calling the “Energy Vest” — fleece or quilted vests which might be favored by every kind of bros: tech bros of Silicon Valley, finance bros of New York, gross sales bros and finance bros everywhere in the nation (I’ve no proof that that is a world pattern, and presumably this doesn’t apply to hotter elements of the US).

The character Jared (performed by Zach Woods) from the present Silicon Valley wears a signature inexperienced vest.


The Energy Vest is sensible and informal, but it in some way enhances the phantasm of a person’s skilled competence, not like, say, flip-flops. It’s a contradiction: It shouldn’t be workplace acceptable, and but it’s ubiquitous.

I ought to make clear right here I’m talking about vests worn by males. Sure, individuals of all genders individuals put on vests of every kind. However it is a specific slice of bro tradition. Ladies’s enterprise apparel has an entire completely different algorithm, even in these identical industries. The Energy Vest flaunts a really merciless male privilege: being snug.

Garments ship a message. The vests usually are not only a handy heat layer. There’s which means there. There are layers to this layer. The adoption of the vest by males who work in industries like tech and finance says one thing about this garment.

The vest means energy.

The vest means energy. And as a lowly lady, I would really like some energy. Or at the least to FEEL highly effective — like a grasp of the universe, capable of make snap selections and be feared and revered by all I are available contact with. Which is why I made a decision I might put on a vest to the workplace for per week.

My first order of enterprise was to determine what sort of vest to put on: fleece or quilted. I talked to my editors who’re based mostly in San Francisco, they usually each emphatically stated quilted, particularly Patagonia Nano Puff. However I used to be imagining a extra dressed-up bro look — a fleece vest over a crisp white shirt and possibly even slacks and brown leather-based sneakers.

I believe right here is the divide: West Coast tech bros at all times put on quilted vests, and East Coast finance bros nonetheless put on fleece.

“Greenback” Invoice Stern on Billions (performed by Kelly Aucoin) wears a fleece vest along with his hedge fund's emblem.


It was clear I wanted an neutral one that thinks actually onerous about several types of Energy Vests and what they imply. It will be ineffective to ask the bros themselves, as a result of everybody is aware of bros can’t be requested for opinions, at the least not for articulate ones about trend. So I reached out to probably THE excellent knowledgeable for this: Eric Daman, the costume designer for the TV present Billions, which is about individuals who work at a hedge fund, but in addition about the depravity of toxic masculinity amplified by the excesses of money. Which is to say, a present loaded with Energy Vests.

“It’s form of like how the Scottish clans have their very own tartan.”

Daman has been a fancy dress designer for Intercourse and the Metropolis and Gossip Lady, however he’s now develop into a Energy Vest knowledgeable. “The ’80s Trump-world period factor was Armani fits, however after the [2007] crash, individuals rejected that look,” he defined in regards to the rise of the informal vest within the finance world. He stated there was additionally a sensible cause at finance corporations for the look: “They hold the workplaces subarctic to maintain the fellows sharp.”

Not all Billions characters put on vests: The primary character, Bobby Axelrod, by no means wears them (Daman explains his look is extra of completely becoming Tom Ford tee) — and his lieutenant “Wags” sticks to fits, a form of throwback to the precrash period. However one character on Billions, “Greenback” Invoice, has been my fleece enterprise vest inspo. “Greenback Invoice at all times wears his Axe Capital [the name of the fictional hedge fund] fleece,” Daman stated. He’s older, much less hip, and notoriously low cost, therefore carrying the free firm swag. It’s additionally a press release of his character’s willingness to do something for his boss. “I believe out of devotion and honor that he chooses to solely put on the fleece,” defined Daman. “It’s form of like how the Scottish clans have their very own tartan.”

Two different vest-wearing characters are additionally rigorously chosen. One analyst, Ben Kim, who’s youthful, wears an Arc’teryx model vest, made from a skinny efficiency cloth, which is hipper and younger than a stodgy fleece or puffer. One other character, Everett, who was poached from one other fund and subsequently already has his personal cash, wears a Burberry vest to sign his increased monetary standing.

Certainly, I discovered that vests can get fairly costly. That Jeff Bezos vest? It seems to be a $995 Ralph Lauren. You didn’t suppose Bezdaddy was going to slum round in a Patagonia, did you?


“Good vest. You recognize what you seem like?”

“What?” I requested.

“An asshole.”

My vest finances was extra restricted. My editor knowledgeable me that BuzzFeed Information was actually not going to expense a $150 Nanopuff, so I made a decision to stay with one thing extra modest: an L.L.Bean fleece vest I bought as a teen in 1995 and was nonetheless at my dad and mom’ home.

My Energy Vest outfits.

Katie Notopoulos / BuzzFeed Information


I used to be fairly into my first outfit: unfastened black denims, off-white classic button-down with a bizarre scene of a pond and geese on the entrance, and naturally, my vest. A jaunty masculine look. Wanting within the mirror at house I noticed a savvy businessperson. The Energy Vest was working!

I bought to the workplace and my deskmate, Joe, checked out me and stated, “Good vest. You recognize what you seem like?”

“What?” I requested.

“An asshole.”

Mission achieved!

At midmorning I skilled a second of utmost powerlessness. I seen our ground was out of milk for espresso, so I went to seize a gallon from one other ground. The BuzzFeed workplace has a number of flooring, damaged up by division. I sit on the information ground. I see these individuals each day, I do know them, I don’t really feel ashamed of carrying a comparatively ugly vest round them. The following ground up, the place I used to be getting milk, is the place the style and way of life crew sits.

Rapidly I felt a deep sting of disgrace, conscious of how totally uncool I seemed in entrance of those individuals who have been dressed far more fashionably. It was that burning disgrace feeling of whenever you stroll right into a room of strangers and notice you’re extraordinarily over- or underdressed. I needed to scream “It’s for an article!” as a disclaimer, however that may’ve been very bizarre since nobody was asking.


It was more durable to determine what sort of outfit to put on for day 2. I settled on a black button-down shirt with white piping and black denims once more. I don’t actually suppose it labored fairly as properly — it appeared mismatched to have an informal vest over this dressier high. I didn’t really feel highly effective.

Nevertheless, I did discover that the vest was the right weight to put on below my gentle raincoat on a cold April day. Helpful!


My different deskmate, Davey, overheard me speaking about my vest experiment and stated, “Ooooh, I assumed you simply seemed actually unhealthy this week for some cause. Like, your outfits simply seemed…terrible.”

Dara, who sits throughout from me, additionally appeared relieved. “I used to be questioning why you have been carrying that bizarre maroon and teal vest each day.”

This was not empowering in any respect, though I appreciated their candor. I’d additionally prefer to remind Dara, who’s 23, that I acquired the vest when she was 1 12 months outdated.


I paired the vest with blue denims and an olive inexperienced shirt that’s pure polyester however form of MAYBE can go for silk (in case you are very unaware of what actual silk is), so is one thing that may be form of dressed up a bit. This can be a shirt I put on loads, because it suits into my present private type of “appears skilled however is mechanically cleanable.”

At this level, I noticed I simply seemed unhealthy. Energy ranges have been very low.


It was even colder, and I actually struggled with what I may put on below the vest that may hold me heat sufficient. The vest was too cumbersome to suit below my hotter wool coat, and a sweater could be too sizzling as soon as I bought to the workplace. I settled on a black T-shirt with an aqua cardigan sweater. This was actually a horrible, horrible outfit.

As soon as I bought to the workplace, I shed the cardigan and simply went with the T-shirt. I can’t even actually describe this outfit aside from like spinster aunt horseback-riding teacher, however even worse.

After work, I went out for drinks with coworkers. I in all probability ought to have felt embarrassed for carrying a dorky fleece vest out in public (aside from the workplace), however by this level I simply didn’t care anymore and solely targeted on having fun with some happy-hour-priced wine (I assume I’m low cost, like “Greenback” Invoice).


My worst outfit on Friday: a black tee with an aqua cardigan (crumpled up within the nook of the workplace lavatory).

Katie Notopoulos / BuzzFeed Information

The Energy Vest is a type of male privilege, a hideous fleece totem of the patriarchy’s oppression of non-cis-male individuals within the office.

The Energy Vest was an entire failure. As a substitute of feeling highly effective, I felt like a fucking dork. I’m not probably the most modern particular person on the planet, however I prefer to look good and I care about garments. An excellent outfit could make me really feel good, and carrying a blazer makes me really feel skilled. Wanting like a complete fool in a shitty ‘90s fleece vest makes me really feel like shit.

Week-long experiments about attempting a brand new trend or magnificence routine are a staple right here at BuzzFeed –”My Boyfriend Dressed Me for a Week and This Is What Happened” or “This Is What I Learned Going Makeup Free for a Week.” Sometimes, these have a contented ending, and the guinea pig comes away with a optimistic studying expertise about self-acceptance or willingness to attempt new issues. There was no pleased ending to my Energy Vest experiment. I got here away extra certain than ever that I wanted to remain within the standard lanes of “skilled apparel.” It’s straightforward to say you need to gown for your self, however you may’t additionally faux that we aren't all judged within the office for our clothes, and doubly so for ladies. For those who discover it tiresome to ponder what minute variations of males’s vests can imply for skilled standing, simply think about the warfare zone that’s womenswear.

Dressing casually whereas nonetheless wanting highly effective and vital on the workplace doesn’t actually work the identical for ladies. The Energy Vest is a type of male privilege, a hideous fleece totem of the patriarchy’s oppression of non-cis-male individuals within the office. The Patagonia Nano Puff is complicit within the energy construction that led to #MeToo.

The Energy Vest’s energy was out of attain for me. Not solely did I really feel like a slob, I had a much less productive week at work than normal, and I blame the vest for that. I solely hope that my journey into the vest life may help others. I suffered so that you simply don’t need to; I rigorously thought-about the sociological components of sleeveless outerwear with the intention to remark “I can’t consider somebody bought paid to write down this” within the feedback. Sure, I’m that courageous journalist placing my life on the road to set the reality free. Thanks on your consideration of this for subsequent 12 months’s Pulitzers.

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Home, tech, and Samsung Galaxy S9 deals that are as hot as the weather


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My day riding 'Bird' e-scooters shows how the tech industry has changed my hometown


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How 'returnships' help women in tech get back to work after a parenting break


This column is a part of a collection referred to as “Voices of Women in Tech,” created in collaboration with AnitaB.org, a world enterprise that helps girls in technical fields, in addition to the organizations that make use of them and the educational establishments coaching the subsequent era.

I might at all times pinpoint the precise second of disappointment in the course of a job interview, when the interviewer would uncover the hole in my resume. “Oh,” they might say, “how are you going to get again up to the mark?” The change in tone was palpable. I used to be not a candidate; I used to be a legal responsibility.

4 years prior, I had made the choice to go away my technical undertaking supervisor place so as to higher assist my household. As my Three-year-old son grew, he required extra care than he had when he was child, when his wants have been met by easy acts of feeding, bathing, and snuggling. I knew I did not need to lose the very best years with my youngster, who now wanted me to be current within the second, to be engaged, to have vitality. However once I made the troublesome resolution to take a break, I by no means imagined that my profession would not be ready for me once I was able to return. Read more…

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A gaggle of tech and transportation firms concerned in constructing and testing self-driving autos introduced the Autonomous Vehicle Coalition on Tuesday. The group goals to tout the improved security of computer-run autos, together with financial and job alternatives and general high quality of life for folks to get round.  Read more…

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Anti-Immigrant Ads Aimed At Tech Workers Are Running On Public Transit

An advert marketing campaign in opposition to tech corporations hiring overseas staff rolled out throughout San Francisco’s public transit system Thursday.

The marketing campaign was paid for by Progressives for Immigration Reform, a DC-based group designated as “anti-immigrant” by the Southern Poverty Legislation Middle (a civil rights nonprofit) in 2010.

The advertisements say low cost overseas labor has made US tech staff appear “costly, undeserving, and expendable.” They advocate for legal guidelines requiring tech corporations to rent US staff as an alternative.

Kevin Lynn, govt director at Progressives for Immigration Reform, stated the marketing campaign is about defending US jobs. “The thought is to make immigration work for the residents as a complete,” stated Lynn, whose mom immigrated to the US from Eire in 1952. “That’s what we’ve completed for a very long time, nevertheless it's not doing that now.”

The marketing campaign value $80,000, in accordance with a spokesperson for the Bay Space Speedy Transit system (BART) the place the advertisements had been posted. The advertisements will run in stations and on trains for about one month, from March to April. Lynn declined to reveal the supply of PFIR’s funding, however stated it “comes from foundations that help our views on immigration.”

The marketing campaign is a component of a bigger US Tech Staff marketing campaign by the group, which, in accordance with its website, is making an attempt to unite US-born tech staff in opposition to the three-quarters of tech staff in Silicon Valley who had been born exterior the nation.

“Individuals now fill solely 29% of the tech jobs in San Jose, the cradle of Silicon Valley. Regardless of the demand for science, know-how, engineering, and math (STEM) staff, wages have been flat for years,” the web site reads. “We imagine for this technology getting into the workforce, and for future generations to prosper, U.S. tech corporations should search and rent U.S. tech staff first.”

Due to the First Modification, BART can’t take away the advertisements.

“It’s important for our riders to know the advertisements contradict our values,” a transit spokesperson wrote through e mail. “As a transit system we are able to’t deny the advertisements. They adjust to pointers permitting advertisers to precise a viewpoint with out regard to the perspective expressed, in line with First Modification freedom of speech court docket rulings.”

The difficulty of find out how to regulate H-1B visas, which permit expert staff from different nations to return to the US to work in tech jobs that may’t be stuffed by Individuals, is the topic of a lot debate.

On the one aspect, there are giant tech corporations which require a gentle stream of coders and programmers to fill seats, and imagine extra immigration drives extra innovation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Fwd.us, a lobbying group targeted on immigration reform, has been pushing its pro-immigration stance on the H-1B situation for 5 years.

On the opposite aspect are those that imagine the inflow of foreign-born staff is taking high-paying, expert jobs away from Individuals, and that the H-1B visa system enriches overseas corporations that behave like labor farms.

“I don’t see the place innovation essentially comes from variety,” Lynn stated. “What it comes from is having an surroundings the place you may rent your faculty graduates, put them into an excellent paying job, and permit them to innovate.”

Whereas visa fraud does exist, concern about alternatives for US staff has tipped over into xenophobia previously.

Throughout his marketing campaign, Donald Trump stated he would do away with the skilled worker visa program totally. He later scaled again these claims, however tweaks to this system below Trump’s Buy American, Hire American coverage have made it harder to attain the visas.

Tech corporations have broadly opposed the president’s different makes an attempt at immigration reform, with Facebook, Apple, Google, and others supporting DACA, and Apple, Google, Uber, and Tesla opposing the temporary ban on the US refugee program.

A number of proposals for reforming the H-1B visa program are at present earlier than Congress. Lynn stated regulation ought to do away with the decrease two tiers of H-1B visas, or “nearly 95% of this system.”

In response to new “anti-immigration policies,” San Francisco’s BART took a robust stance on immigration points. Its board of administrators handed a safe transit policy in June 2017, which banned federal agents from questioning riders, and said its “dedication to face along with the individuals of the Bay Space in opposing hate, violence, and acts of intolerance dedicated in opposition to our using group and staff.”

“We're within the Bay Space to remain,” stated Lynn. “We'll work in different tech facilities throughout the US. Our purpose is to tell staff of what they should do to deliver strain to their electeds to alter this technique that I feel has run amok.”

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From smart bongs to home growing kits, the best marijuana tech gadgets


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Why Can Everyone Spot Fake News But The Tech Companies?


Within the first hours after final October's mass taking pictures in Las Vegas, my colleague Ryan Broderick seen one thing peculiar: Google search queries for a person initially (and falsely) recognized as a sufferer of the taking pictures had been returning Google Information hyperlinks to hoaxes created on 4chan, a infamous message board whose members had been working brazenly to politicize the tragedy. Two hours later, he discovered posts going viral on Facebook falsely claiming the shooter was a member of the self-described “antifa.” An hour or so after that, a cursory YouTube search returned a handful of equally minded conspiracy movies — all of them claiming disaster actors had been posing as taking pictures victims to realize political factors. Every time, Broderick tweeted his findings.

Over the subsequent two days, journalists and misinformation researchers uncovered and tweeted nonetheless extra examples of pretend information and conspiracy theories propagating within the aftermath of the tragedy. The New York Instances' John Herrman found pages of conspiratorial YouTube videos with tons of of 1000’s of views, a lot of them extremely ranked in search returns. Cale Weissman at Quick Firm noticed that Facebook's crisis response web page was surfacing information tales from alt-right blogs and websites like Finish Time Headlines rife with false data. I tracked how YouTube’s advice engine permits customers to stumble down an algorithm-powered conspiracy video rabbit gap. In every occasion, the journalists reported their findings to the platforms. And in every occasion, the platforms apologized, claimed they had been unaware of the content material, promised to enhance, and eliminated it.

This cycle repeats itself after each main mass taking pictures and tragedy.

This cycle — of journalists, researchers, and others recognizing — with the only of search queries — hoaxes and pretend information lengthy earlier than the platforms themselves repeats itself after each main mass taking pictures and tragedy. Just some hours after information broke of the mass taking pictures in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Justin Hendrix, a researcher and govt director of NYC Media Lab noticed search outcomes inside Google's “Fashionable on Twitter” widget rife with misinformation. Shortly after an Amtrak practice crash involving GOP lawmakers in January, the Each day Beast's Ben Collins shortly checked Fb and discovered a trove of conspiracy theories inside Fb's trending information part, which is prominently positioned to be seen by tens of millions of customers.

By the point the Parkland faculty taking pictures occurred, the platforms had apologized for missteps throughout a nationwide breaking information occasion thrice in 4 months, in every occasion promising to do higher. However of their subsequent alternative to do higher, once more they failed. Within the aftermath of the Parkland faculty taking pictures, journalists and researchers on Twitter had been the primary to identify dozens of hoaxes, trolls impersonating journalists, and viral Fb posts and prime “trending” YouTube posts smearing the victims and claiming they had been disaster actors. In every occasion, these people surfaced this content material — most of which is a transparent violation of the platforms' guidelines — nicely earlier than YouTube, Fb, and Twitter. The New York Instances' Kevin Roose summed up the dynamic recently on Twitter noting, “Half the job of being a tech reporter in 2018 is doing professional bono content material moderation for large firms.”

Amongst those that pay shut consideration to huge expertise platforms and misinformation, the frustration over the platforms’ repeated failures to do one thing that any remotely savvy information client can do with minimal effort is palpable: Regardless of numerous articles, emails with hyperlinks to violating content material, and viral tweets, nothing adjustments. The techniques of YouTube shock jocks and Fb conspiracy theorists hardly differ from these of their analog predecessors; disaster actor posts and movies have, for instance, been a staple of peddled misinformation for years.

This isn't some new phenomenon. Nonetheless, the platforms are proving themselves incompetent with regards to addressing them — over and again and again. In lots of circumstances, they seem like stunned by that such content material sits on their web sites. And even their public relations responses appear to counsel they've been caught off guard with no plan in place for messaging after they slip up.

All of this raises a mind-bendingly easy query that YouTube, Google, Twitter, and Fb haven’t but answered: How is it that the common untrained human can do one thing that multibillion-dollar expertise firms that satisfaction themselves on innovation can’t? And past that, why is it that — after a number of nationwide tragedies politicized by malicious hoaxes and misinformation — such a query even must be requested?

Clearly, it may be carried out as a result of individuals are already doing it.

The duty of moderating platforms as large as Fb, Google, and YouTube is dizzyingly complicated. Lots of of hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each minute; Fb has 2 billion customers and tens of tens of millions of teams and pages to wrangle. Moderation is fraught with justifiable issues over free speech and bias. The sheer breadth of malignant content material on these platforms is daunting — overseas sponsored advertisements and fake news on Fb; rampant harassment on Twitter; child exploitation videos masquerading as household content material on YouTube. The issue the platforms face is a tricky one — a Gordian knot of engineering, coverage, and even philosophical questions few have good solutions to.

However whereas the platforms wish to conflate these existential moderations issues with the breaking information and incident-specific, in actuality they’re not the identical. The search queries that Broderick and others use to uncover event-specific misinformation that the platforms have to date did not mitigate are absurdly easy — typically it requires nothing greater than looking the complete identify of the shooter or victims.

In battling misinformation the large tech platforms face a steep uphill battle. And but, it's laborious to think about any firms or establishments higher positioned to combat it. The Googles and Facebooks of the world are wildly worthwhile and make use of among the smartest minds and finest engineering expertise on the earth. They're identified for investing in costly, crazy-sounding utopian concepts. Google has an worker whose title is Captain of Moonshots — he’s serving to train vehicles to drive themselves — and succeeding!

Look, in fact Google and Fb and Twitter can't monitor all of the content material on their platforms posted by their billions of customers. Nor does anybody actually count on them to. However policing what's taking off and trending because it pertains to the information of the day is one other matter. Clearly, it may be carried out as a result of individuals are already doing it.

So why then can't these platforms do what an unaffiliated group of journalists, researchers, and anxious residents handle to seek out with a laptop computer and some visits to 4chan? Maybe it's as a result of the issue is extra sophisticated than nonemployees can perceive — and that's typically the road the businesses use. Reached for remark, Fb reiterated that it depends on human and machine moderation in addition to consumer reporting, and famous that moderation is nuanced and judging context is troublesome. Twitter defined that it too depends on consumer studies and expertise to implement its guidelines, noting that due to its scale “context is essential” and it errs on the facet of defending individuals’s voices. And YouTube additionally famous that it makes use of machine studying to flag probably violative content material for human assessment; It mentioned it doesn't rent people to “discover” such content material as a result of they aren't efficient at scale.

If they’ll't see it, they aren't really wanting.

The businesses ask that we take them at their phrase: We're attempting, however that is laborious — we will't repair this in a single day. OK, we get it. But when the tech giants aren't discovering the identical misinformation that observers armed with nothing extra subtle than entry to a search bar are within the aftermath of those occasions, there's actually just one rationalization for it: If they’ll't see it, they aren't really wanting.

How laborious wouldn’t it be, for instance, to have a crew in place reserved completely for large-scale breaking information occasions to do what outdoors observers have been doing: scan and monitor for clearly deceptive conspiratorial content material inside its prime searches and trending modules?

It’s not a foolproof answer. But it surely’s one thing.

Acquired a tip? You may contact me at charlie.warzel@buzzfeed.com. You may attain me securely at cwarzel@protonmail.com or by BuzzFeed's confidential tipline, suggestions@buzzfeed.com. PGP fingerprint: B077 0E9F B742 ED17 B4EF 0CED 72A9 85C4 6203 F09C.

And if you wish to learn extra about the way forward for the web's data wars, subscribe to Infowarzel, a BuzzFeed Information e-newsletter by the creator of this piece, Charlie Warzel.

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