Adrian Monk was a TV detective whose obsessive-compulsive disorder carried over to his choice of clothes [source: NBC]. For him, it was always brown over plaid. But that was the work of his costume designers. The very real Steve Jobs, who we're pretty sure wasn't following a scripted wardrobe, almost always wore a black mock turtleneck and jeans — at least in public, and at least since 1992 [source: Potts].
Why? Jobs never said. Like everyone else, we can speculate. The outfit looked comfortable. We all loosen our ties and pry off our heels when we want to do our best work. Or Jobs may have done it to save time, since he was undoubtedly busy.
Although he wore the outfit while at NeXT Computer, Jobs could've made it his uniform for Apple [source: Potts]. It made Jobs and his products easy to identify. Jeffery O'Brien, a former senior editor at Wired magazine, suggested that the simple, straightforward outfit could send the message that Jobs uses his creativity elsewhere [source: Jackson]. Or Jobs, like his products, may merely have favored a simple interface.
In the category of "har, har, har," comes one reader's response to Steven Heller's fabricated "Fashion iCon" article. Daniel Kostka suggests that Jobs' turtleneck was wired for Internet access, as part a new line of iNecks [source: Heller/Kostka]. In a yin-yang kind of theory, one satirist suggested the outfit countered our "misery" in choosing among the thousands of songs on our iPods [source: Shine]. Perhaps the turtleneck reflected Jobs' attitude toward buttons: First, he removed them from his shirt, and then his company came out with the iPod and iPhone.
But the fact is, Jobs didn't wear the outfit inflexibly. He changed when it was appropriate. He wore a suit to the 2001 MacWorld Expo in Tokyo and wore tuxedos to the Academy Awards [source: Jackson]. He occasionally wore a white T-shirt and black vest to work, and it's rumored that he owned a white turtleneck [sources: Jackson, Dukcevich].