S.F. inventor hopes to dress for success with 1-piece suit

Local developer Jesse Herzog has solved a problem most of us didn’t know we had. It’s kind of a trend with him.

Simply put, Herzog has created an alternative to the tired old hoodie-and-jeans look that permeates the lofts and startups of San Francisco techie culture. It is — wait for it — the “suitsy.”

The suitsy is a pair of dress pants, a nice white shirt and jacket … all sewn together. You step into it like a pair of mechanic’s coveralls, zip up the hidden zipper, and voila — you’re dressed for success.

You know how people say it’s a fine line between genius and crazy? We may have found the perfect example. How did Herzog come up with this? Was he drinking?

“I would say most good ideas probably originate with a drink or two,” Herzog said. “That’s fair. I just thought it would be great if I could look professional and feel like I was in my pajamas.”

Herzog, who admits to an overdeveloped sense of whimsy, insists he’s serious about this. Currently, the suitsy is featured on Betabrand, a San Francisco “clothing community” that floats ideas.

Visitors to the site vote on the products, and if there are enough “likes,” they make up a few prototypes and see if people buy them. With well over 1,000 likes already, the next step is to run a few suitsys up the old marketing flagpole and see if anyone salutes.

“It is a serious idea,” Herzog says. “But that being said, I don’t think it hurts to have a sense of humor about the product. There are a lot of people who have responded very seriously that this is going to cause the apocalypse of fashion. And maybe they are right.”

I have no opinion on fashion apocalypse, but people definitely need to just enjoy the quirk. Herzog is doing his part. When a commenter on Betabrand wrote, “This monstrosity is for the lazy,” Herzog volleyed back immediately.

“Thanks,” he wrote. “You hit the nail on the head. This is a great option for a lazy person.”

Herzog is no slacker. He’s a principle in a real estate development firm and is the former part owner of Zog’s Dogs, the Market Street hot dog stand that closed last November, much to the dismay of sausage and interpretive dance fans.

Besides selling hot dogs, Zog’s brought in folks who did modern dance, mustard and ketchup portraits, and as described in a previous column, a video of a weather balloon carrying a Zog Dog into space.

“It’s fun,” says Kristin Herzog, who married Jesse in June. “He has an endless supply of ideas. Some are good and some are hilarious. As my mother said in her toast at the reception, ‘You will never be bored.’”

In fact, Herzog wore the suitsy to the couple’s wedding rehearsal dinner. Things were fine until the group headed to a bar later in the evening.

“One of my buddies busted me,” Herzog said. “He said, ‘It’s kind of cold. Why don’t you give Kristin your jacket?’ That’s one of the drawbacks.”

The other, as many women have pointed out, is visiting the restroom. As one commenter asked, “How would you use the facilities?”

To which someone made the obvious reply: “Depends.”

Typically, Herzog is already off and running with the next step. He’s scheduled to meet with Betabrand this month to see if they can agree to roll out some samples. But he’s way ahead of them.

“The possibilities,” he said, “are endless. You could do a martini version with cuff links. I heard from a guy who played in a orchestra who said if you could do a tux version this would be a dream for him. Right now we’re just in the incubator version.”

As for the critics, Herzog is undaunted.

When someone wrote to say: “You are a very sick man,” the suitsy inventor had a reply ready.

“Thank you,” he said.

C.W. Nevius is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. His columns appear Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail: cwnevius@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @cwnevius

Article source: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/S-F-inventor-hopes-to-dress-for-success-with-5778654.php

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