For Roxana Altamirano, the underdog is king. As founder of Nerdboyfriend.com, she transformed her admiration of geeky male celebrities into a successful online style guide. The blog features iconic male portraits — from classics like Salvador Dalí and Ernest Hemingway to contempories such as Elvis Costello and Adrien Brody — with links to stores where her followers can re-create the look du jour. “It’s all about ideas,” says Altamirano. We caught up with the L.A. resident to discuss what it takes to win her heart and what she’ll be dressing her boyfriend in this fall.
Why are nerds such sex symbols?
The word “nerd” got associated with the blog by accident. I wanted to start a photo blog posting images of the male icons I was in love with. I realized they weren’t the hippest or best-looking guys, but they still had a unique style. “Nerd” has different meanings: to some it’s glasses and high pants, and for others it’s someone who’s passionate about what they do.
You recently posted an image of A Tribe Called Quest to the site. In most circles, they’re not considered nerdy.
I actually get heat from people. They have their own definition of “nerd” and my posts don’t fit that. But for the most part, people understand it. A nerd boyfriend is just a guy who owns his style. It’s kinda nerdy if you don’t necessarily wear what’s on the runways. It’s no longer about wearing Guess jeans cause they’re the most expensive, it’s about wearing Guess jeans because no one else does anymore.
Who was your first celebrity nerd crush?
Indiana Jones. He’s not very nerdy but …
But he was a professor.
Right! And I became enamored with Jim Henson, too, but not because I had posters of him on my wall. It’s just the idea of him.
Have you met any crushes?
The only one I’ve met and posted is Andrew W.K. Also, man, I post a lot of people who’ve passed, but I wouldn’t mind meeting John Turturro, David Bowie or Ian McKellan.
What are some essentials you like for guys this fall?
I stick to the classics. I like button downs — light pink and blue oxfords, the schoolboy type. I’m also a fan of waiting-for-a-flood pants. Not like Thom Browne or anything, not like man capris. I think TOMS are sexy. And I like when guys carry canvas totes. Those will do the trick.
Do you dress your boyfriend?
We’re really not stylish people. We just lounge in sweatpants a lot. And now I’ve made the habit of going out in sweat-pants. [Laughs] But no, I don’t need to help him. He’s actually very stylish on his own. The problem is there’s just no time to put a lot of effort into it.
Her fall style picks for men
1. Alternative Apparel
Eco-Fleece Hoodie, $50,
2. Standard Issue Utility Chino, $158,
3. TOMS Burgundy
Classics, $54, www.toms.com
4. JCrew Saturdays
Esquina oxford shirt, $98, www.jcrew.com
“The most popular [posts] are the classics. And whoever’s hot right now, like Adam Scott. The whole community gets excited for guys they actually find hot, not just ironically hot.”
-- Altamirano, on her blog posts