Some day, the three-month-long Elizabeth Holmes fraud trial will become fodder not just for the pundits of the tech world, but for historians looking back on how we got to here. It will be a case study in the use of clothing to affect opinion (public and judicial) and, if not to make friends, at least to influence people. Or try to.

When the verdict comes down, the transformation of the wunderkind founder of Theranos from black-clad genius to besuited milquetoast will be an integral part of the story. Did it work, or was it a seemingly transparent effort to play the relatable card? Rarely has there been as stark an example of Before and After.

The reinvention started even before the trial officially began, when Ms. Holmes made her first court appearance in San Jose, Calif., for her arraignment in April.

signature black turtlenecks and black slacks; gone the bright red lipstick and blond hair ironed straight as a board or pulled into a chignon. Gone, in other words, was the look immortalized on magazine covers of Fortune, Forbes and Glamour (and, yes, T: The New York Times Style Magazine). The look that inspired a host of ironic imitators at the beginning of her trial. The look that famously referenced both Steve Jobs (but glamorous!) and Audrey Hepburn. The one that tapped into the Silicon Valley myth of the mind beloved of the tech world, in which having a uniform means having more time to think about substantive things rather than clothes.