Geek Chic

Fashion Week has just ended in New York.

When beautiful models strut the runways, the clothes they wear may be pretty, but really - are they practical?!

Well, it's not just the beautiful people who appreciate fashion.

Techies need clothes, too!

And it was in that spirit that The Early Show's Saturday Edition offered haute couture alternatives!

Andy Ihnatko, a tech columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, stopped by with a runway show only a geek could love.

It was all about clothes and accessories that either incorporate technology or help you to carry and manage the tech you already have.

(The following product descriptions were prepared in part with information provided by the manufacturers)

1) E-VOLVE Shoulder Holster (eHolster, $79.95)

The E-Volve gadget holster lets you carry your phone, camera or any other gadgets invisibly under your suit, without creating any heavy bulges ... your gadgets are just a quick-draw away. And when you have your coat off in the office, you look like a detective in a '70s cop show. Win-win!

2) PANiQmode Interactive Clothing (PANiQ; prices vary by item)

This technology is licensed to a number of different clothing designers and can be built inside any garment. Cloth touch-buttons embroidered into the clothing can operate your music player, answer a phone call, etc. It's not mechanical buttons, either ... it's all cloth, and can be laundered and dry cleaned. ... Er, just make sure you take your iPod out of the pocket before you throw the jacket into the wash.

One model wore a coat by Cole Haan. But any garment can integrate PANiQmode controllers. SummitWired makes the iQ line of sportswear and workout wear, including a Blue iQ hoodie that one model sported on our geek runway.

Summit Wired, $127.99 with PANiQmode, $63.99 if you want to buy the controller late.

Another model wore the Club Jacket from Celio (Celio; $277).

3) ScotteVest (ScotteVest; Quantum Jacket, $250; Scott eVest TEC Shirt, $80)

For years, ScotteVest has been designing clothing for people who carry lots of gadgets; it's practical stuff that has been tested and retested.

A model wore the Quantum Jacket. It has independent channels for your phone headset and music player headphones that keeps them untangled and within reach by your collar whenever you need them; you can take your coat on and off without having to untangle yourself. The player goes into a pocket with a translucent window, so you can operate its controls without even taking it out. And there are individual pockets for just about any sort of tech you might want to carry ... the coat has over two dozen of them! And it includes pockets for such items as your passport and airline tickets.

ScotteVest makes a whole line of clothes with these concepts. Underneath, one model wore their TEC Shirt, which is slim and light but also has that same system for organizing your cords and earbuds.

4) ETRE "TOUCHY" Gloves (Etre Touchy, $20)

The same model wore ETRE's "Touchy" gloves. Blackberries, iPhones and cameras are almost impossible to use in cold weather; your gloves are too thick to operate the little buttons, and touch-displays don't even work through the cloth. So ETRE has designed warm gloves without the thumb and index fingertips.

5) NIKE+ SHOE SYSTEM (Nike Plus, $60 and up depending on style)

Nike makes a wide range of shoes with a simple feature: a little compartment under the sole that can hold a MAGIC BEAN! You can't feel it under your foot, but it constantly transmits information about your speed and distance to your iPod or iPhone, where you can check your progress; a synthetic voice will chirp up when you're halfway through your workout, reach a certain marker, etc. And when you get back home and dock your iPod, it can upload all that data to a Web site that graphs your workouts day-to-day.

6) 511 TACTICAL PANTS (511 Tactical; $49)

Two models AND Andy wore these PERFECT pants; Andy owns six pair himself! These were designed decades ago for rock climbers and all the things they carry, but soon became favorites with the FBI and police SWAT teams for their ability to keep "anything you need" within reach.

One model pulled each of these tech gadgets out of his pockets:

  • The top pouch (designed for a knife) is perfect for the iPhone or other smartphone.
  • The front pockets are deep enough to comfortably carry a full-sized camcorder.
  • The back pockets are both deep and are cut for easy access. Andy carries his Kindle e-book reader in one. The other is even deep enough to hold his NetBook (Windows notebook computer)!