« Five(ish) Things I Don't Know About You | Main | The "Dumbness of Crowds" »

Female-friendly tech shirts

The first batch of fitted woman-shaped t-shirts has arrived (in spite of the blizzards), and I was thrilled to see the extra care these companies are taking. Whether these companies make products that are women-friendly is up to you to decide, but there's no question they were thinking of us when they made the t-shirts!


The shirts are from:

You all know who they are, but they get extra points for the hot pink color!

"Your very own IT department."
(Definitely the shirt with the most 'tude)

Kuler (from Adobe Labs)
Very, very, very cool color-harmonizing thing. Read more about it here

The new and wonderful stikkit
"Little yellow notes that think."
Read more on their blog

(For those of you who know Rael Dornfest, well, he's one of the main guys in stikkit, so you KNOW it's clever)

PDF to Excel conversion software. Extremely useful.

Sun's Sara Dornsife sent me the fun Fud Fighter's shirt. In Sara's words:
"It's not even branded as Sun and is just something that Simon Phipps and I wanted to have available to give to people that we felt were out there fighting the FUD about open source. In other words, neither project or product, they are just in support of the cause."

Here's a picture of Simon modeling the men's version, and Sara in a different shirt (she's sending me one of those as well. It has a HORSE on it!!)

I'm not done--I have more shirts here and on the way--and I can't thank you enough to those who've sent them, most especially for just thinking to have them.

Posted by Kathy on January 2, 2007 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Female-friendly tech shirts:


If a shirt is "fitted", what does that mean?

Posted by: Gizmo | Jan 2, 2007 10:10:06 PM

Needless to say, any woman seen wearing these is asking for an "Can I analyze your Baud?" and maybe even a "Giggity giggity..."


Posted by: Foxdie | Jan 2, 2007 10:19:28 PM

Major negative points for the sexism in the stikkit t-shirt's wording.

Posted by: NJG from NYC | Jan 3, 2007 12:57:52 AM

I read this wearing my backstage.bbc top. http://backstage.bbc.co.uk/ The ONLY geek top I have that was made for girls. Not only made for girls but they are good quality. Its been through multiple washes and the print has not faded (seems to be a new trend in geek tops that they only last about 3 washes). Thanks to Ian Forrester from BBC Backstage.

Posted by: Niqui Merret | Jan 3, 2007 2:30:12 AM

I have to wonder if tactile quality and/or slogan are significant factors in the marketign effectiveness of these shirts since I cannot help but notice that you appear to be proudest to be wearing the Stikkit shirt. Can you confirm the reason for this?

P.S. @NJG Surely Stikkit is only sexist if the male T shirts do not say the same thing?

Posted by: John Dodds | Jan 3, 2007 4:25:05 AM

Another thing vendors should think about vis a' vie event shirts. Even though the attendees might be predominantly male if they know what's good for them they come home from the event with some sort of trinket for wife or girlfriend; a nicely fitted shirt *in her size* would eliminate desparate dashes to the hotel/airport gift shop on the way home. Yes, I'm speaking from experience.

Posted by: Ward Harold | Jan 3, 2007 7:46:08 AM

I'm working on it! With a boatload of unworn men's XL shirts in my closet (which I FINALLY donated after reading your post), I'm working on getting some women's shirts for the CodeMash conference that I'm helping to organize. Sure, it costs a bit more ($3/shirt), but heck, we're paying that for XXL shirts anyhow, so why not?

The other "downside" is that our vendor-sponsored shirts with logos won't fit easily on the smaller women's shirts. My response: fine. Provide vendor-sponsored shirts in women's sizes as well so as not to tick off sponsors, but also make up some nice women's fitted shirts without date or sponsor logos so that it would be a nice shirt for future CodeMash conferences (and for gifts for spouses, etc., as another poster mentioned).

I'll definitely send you one if I can pull it off! Thanks for the suggestion!

Posted by: Dianne Marsh | Jan 3, 2007 9:14:25 AM

wow girl! never you mind the shirts that's a quality torso you've got there, you can have my number any time!

Posted by: George | Jan 3, 2007 4:10:33 PM


Great shirts, but from your initial post aren't most of them sexist? When you walk up to someone in one of those shirts do they ever look you in the eye or are they drawn somewhere else? Thought you were looking for a subtle design?

BTW, nice post of Simon; where is he at? It's been too long since I've had a good game of shuffleboard!

Posted by: NW Guy | Jan 3, 2007 5:14:26 PM

I don't think the shirts are sexist, but it's my personal view that giving men's cut but NOT women's cut t-shirts to all attendees *might* be considered a little sexist.

There's no point in trying to hide the fact that we're women and regardless of what size we are (I happen to be in the small/wimpy category), we're still shaped differently than men.

NW Guy, I'm old enough now that not only DO people look me in the eye as opposed to... somewhere else..., but I've now reached the point where I would probably be amused and flattered if they they occasionally slipped ; )

And to those giving me compliments... I have on word: Photoshop.

But I appreciate it. George

Dianne Marsh: good for you!

John Dodds: I can always count on you for a comment like that ; )
If I look, well, *prouder* wearing that shirt it's just a trick of the light and cropping. That said, I actually had a little tiny bit of input on the product, and I love the folks who created it. So there's that.

And NJG: I agree with John, I don't see where the stikkit wording is sexist.

Ward: " a nicely fitted shirt *in her size* would eliminate desparate dashes to the hotel/airport gift shop on the way home. Yes, I'm speaking from experience."

That may be the simplest, most useful comment on this whole idea! Thanks.

Gizmo: "fitted" just means something like, "made to fit well" (so actually, my saying "fitted woman-shaped..." was redundant.

Thanks everyone. This has been a fun and unexpected treat to hear from these companies that are making t-shirts for the women (and a bigger treat to wear them, although this post required more photographs of me than I've had been in for all of 2006. I'm a huge camera avoider).

Posted by: Kathy Sierra | Jan 3, 2007 8:45:08 PM

@NW Guy: That was in Buffalo Billiards in Austin, where we had a gathering of the open source Java clans during ApacheCon.

Posted by: Simon Phipps | Jan 3, 2007 10:10:00 PM

Kathy, I've been loving this series of posts & agreeing 100% about not wanting to wear a floppy old mens L for a promotional T-shirt. I liked the Ripplewifi one you posted so much I wrote to them yesterday & asked how I could get one too, and they're sending me one in my size, just like that! Awesome experience all around.

Posted by: sadalit | Jan 4, 2007 8:05:51 AM

Kathy, if you like PDF2XL, you owe it to yourself to check out the REAL DEAL: Monarch Pro.

Monarch finishes conversion jobs PDF2XL may not be able to start (convert even poor;ly formatted PDF, plus text, HTML, etc. to Excel, Access, CSV, etc. etc.)

See http://www.datawatch.com and follow the Monarch links.

Posted by: Monarch Saved My Life | Jan 4, 2007 5:37:14 PM

The Stikkit t-shirt isn't "sexist," but it is, no duh, a sexual double entendre that some women will no doubt find quite offensive. I hope Stikkit has researched its target user base and concluded their users are a mostly younger crowd whose female users will find the shirt funny?

I guess this kind of edgy marketing with sexual come-ons "can" work (It worked for, say, GoDaddy.com), but I wonder if Stikkit is running an undue risk of being taken not too seriously by business users. Imagine Stikkit giving this t-shirt to a 40 or 50-something female CXO, or, for that matter, any woman who has dealt with sexual harassment in the workplace. Instant loss of credibility. That said, is there THAT much money in marketing Stikkit primarily to college kids and such?

And, obviously, I don't think a guy (a straight one anyway!) would like to wear this same shirt! ;-}

Posted by: Monarch Saved My Life | Jan 5, 2007 8:16:00 AM

This is a bit more tangential, but we make science geek t-shirts, and we are one of the few companies that make a women's version of every design.


"Female-friendly" is indeed about more than just selling a women's size shirt.

Posted by: YellowIbis | Jan 5, 2007 2:05:57 PM

These shirts are cool beans, as far as they go, but you missed a really large collection that my g/f found. It's apparently newish site with many many *fitted* grrrl geek and other 'tude shirts -- some are definitley edgy, but the site says they aren't interested in shirts that start confrontations, rather that start conversations. Yeah - good luck! My g/f bought "i'd go home but i forgot my user i.d. and password". I'm tryin to decide between "not your space" or the sexy "fire fox" in killer nailheads. Anyway it's http://www.tootoographic.com

Posted by: Cliterate | Jan 5, 2007 3:48:00 PM

Hmmm... your head is cut off in all of the photos. Does that indicate some sort of deep emotional trauma? Did you have an unhappy childhood? (Or was it just a bad-hair day?) ;>)


Posted by: Johnny | Jan 9, 2007 9:23:50 AM

For those with a collection of ill-fitting t-shirts that they don't want to give up, here are 2 options for re-use: 1) a few books have come out recently on modifying t-shirts - "Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt," and "99 Ways to Cut, Sew, Trim, and Tie Your T-Shirt into Something Special" are just two 2) make a t-shirt quilt or have someone make one for you (see http://www.champaignsnowball.org/images/quilt2.gif for an example).

Posted by: Genevieve Foskett | Jan 11, 2007 2:02:01 PM

I'm so happy to see women's-style tshirts! This is great!

I know my way around a sewing machine and have taken in and re-fitted a men's XL Tshirt. (Given to me at an O'Reilly/Kathy and Bert sponsored event....which is a little ironic. ;> ) Anyway, my fevered dreams of achieving fame and props from posting simple Men's Tshirt Alteration Instructions on LifeHacker were cut short because the fabric that men's big tshirts are made of are entirely different than what women's fitted, curve-friendly, tshirts need to be made of. So it's not like one can even go home with the big, unflattering, ungainly mens' XL Tshirt and take it in to make it look good. (Not without introduction of some serious princesse seaming and possibly buttons up the back.)

Btw, Kathy, I thought for a second you were using a professional model for those tshirt shots til I saw the hair. (Which is not in any way meant to impugn your hair, just that I recognized you.)

Posted by: Solveig Haugland | Jan 15, 2007 2:34:52 AM

Hey I like the shirt it simple and nice.. :)

Posted by: Trisha Parks | Jan 25, 2007 1:09:44 AM

I like the Cogniview shirt!That fits me. :)

Posted by: nicole cruz | Feb 5, 2007 7:08:03 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.