Skud blogged a very funny comparison of geek vs. non-geek dress codes. I think the geek code allows for a more fine-grained analysis!
THE GEEK DRESS CODE
With elements of clothing listed in order of ascending formality
Tshirt your mom bought you at Kmart when you were in high school. Ill fitting; 80s colored; perhaps with abstract designs.
Tshirt for tech company, probably white, grubby, boring.
Tshirt for unboring tech company or science fictional thing.
Cool tech tshirt, black.
Cool tech tshirt, black, tucked in, with belt.
Snarky geek tshirt perhaps from threadless or Thinkgeek; tight fitting to show off boobs and/or muscles.
Snarky geek shirt with sports jacket; best multitool on belt.
Underwear worn yesterday, turned inside out.
Underwear your parents or s.o. got you for a utilitarian present.
Underwear that is actually cute and fits, that you bought for yourself.
Underwear with snarky geek saying on it. Impressive!
Baggy pants, too short, bought in high school by mom; used to be either green, grey, black, or brown; now a greyish nothing-color; holes optional.
Jeans without prominent holes.
The “nice” jeans; no holes, no stains; they fit.
Pants that are not jeans but are not quite suit pants either -OR- a misguided Utilikilt.
Long flowing hippie skirt, unfashionable, no underwear, or boxers
Skirt that is more current style of some sort.
Miniskirt and combat boots ( with snarky tshirt, multitool, and jacket, this is punk geek formal).
Ball gown of amazing ridiculousness, with sneakers.
Actual fancy dress that looks fantastic, with girly shoes (to be used sparingly).
Tank top with shelf thing built in.
Actual bra, scungy.
Fun colored lacey bra -OR- none, with Snarky geek shirt, tight.
Mismatched white tube socks.
Ironic leg warmers.
Stripey knee socks.
Stripey thigh highs.
Fishnets, artistically torn, with safety pins. Especially on guys. Guys, y’all are taking notes, right?
Accessories acceptable for dressing up:
Laptop bag, fancy.
Laptop modded in any way; stickers; etching; plastic case.
A funky vest. (For hippie chicks or old unix sys admins).
Pocketwatch. (Sys admins ONLY).
We could keep going, I’m sure! I can’t even begin to touch upon shoes.