This is a featured guest article from our very own Sweet Salt stylist, Paige Sorensen.
As a professional fashion stylist, I have dressed many influential people doing many influential things in the world. Clothing is an effective expression, or tool, to communicate with others what you’re about. Clothing has the power to create connections with people within your circle of influence. It’s interesting that business professionals and public speakers tirelessly create presentations to perfectly articulate their message, but rarely think about the message they are sending with their clothing. Clothing is meant to serve you, you are not meant to serve your clothing. Here are some simple style tips that will help you right now. Pick one or two to begin with and then expand from there.
For the men:
- What’s the deal with buttons on a suit? Think in terms of sometimes, always, and never. If you have a three-button suit jacket, sometimes button the top one, always button the middle one, and never button the bottom one. If you have a two-button jacket (most current jackets have 2 buttons) you should sometimes button the top button, and never the second one. Unless sitting down, both can be unbuttoned. Fun fact: in the early 1900’s, Edward VII found it more comfortable to ride a horse with the bottom button of his jacket undone. The trend caught on and is now considered normal.
- To keep the collar of your dress shirt crisp, get collar stays. This is non-negotiable and so easy. They are available in plastic or metal. Either is fine, just get them. Collar stays may be the least expensive style investment with the greatest return.
- Baggy is a thing of the past. Look for shirts and pants with less bulk and unnecessary fabric. Here are some simple suggestions to help you buy today. If you are used to wearing classic or regular fit, try a fitted shirt instead. It may feel different at first but remember, different isn’t necessarily bad. Always look for slim, athletic, or fitted dress shirts. Try to stay away from classic or regular fit if possible because this look is outdated. The good news is that shirts and fabrics have evolved for the better in recent years. Most men’s dress shirts offer a durable and stretchy material perfect for long days in the office or traveling for work. Can you imagine as a missionary having a stretchy comfortable shirt to live out of every day? Genius!
- After buying a suit jacket or blazer you need to prepare it to wear it. First, ditch the stitching. Always remove the stitching on the back of a blazer and pockets. It is only there for shipping purposes, not for wearing. Second, remove any brand labeling on the outside of the jacket. This is usually on the sleeve. It is there for selling purposes, not for wearing.
- Prints! Don’t be scared to mix and match prints. Yes, you can wear colored or printed shirts to church. Yes, you can mix and match prints. For example, if you wear a floral tie, try adding a subtle floral pocket square, or a gingham printed shirt, or some printed socks. The general rule is pick one piece to be your stand out, everything else is there to compliment. If you have a great tie, mix in other items in subtle ways. Everything doesn’t have to be bold or loud. Good prints to wear right now are florals, checks, plaids, ginghams, houndstooth, and polka dots.
- Socks, socks, and more socks! Enough with boring old blue or black socks. Find some socks that share a little bit of your personality. Have fun and experiment with socks.
- Let’s talk shoes. Dress shoes don’t need to be expensive. Error on the side of buying sleek brown dress shoes. To answer your next question, yes, you can wear brown shoes with gray, blue, and black pants. Stay away from chunky soles. Always match your belt with your shoes; brown shoes, brown belt; black shoes, black belt.
- Don’t worry about cufflinks. If cufflinks are your thing and you love them, great. But if not, just leave them alone. Cufflinks are mainly for formal events, not every day wear.
- Tie bars and pocket squares. Why not take your intentional look up a notch with a tie bar and or a pocket square? These don’t need to be fancy just a simple print on the pocket square, and a wood tie bar. Clip your tie bar at about the same level as the top of your dress shirt pocket. These can be found anywhere, but my favorites are found at The Nordstrom’s Rack, and Amazon.
Now let’s discuss style tips for leading ladies.
- Color coordinate your closet. It truly simplifies the many daily decisions you make. When you walk into a bright space it will lift your energy. There is power in creating an inviting color coordinated environment.
- Be observant! What styles and colors are you drawn to? What are you seeing that brings you joy? Be open to those observations.
- Be careful not to under value your undergarment, it makes a difference when it fits correctly.
- Professional or church attire isn’t worn just one way. Be creative and true to you. Have courage to utilize your voice through your clothing especially when working with the youth.
- Always snip the stitching on the slit of a skirt. It is only there for packaging purposes
- Denim jacket to the rescue! A jean jacket is a universal piece that works with any outfit combination. It is the go-to layering option.
- Accessorize with purpose! Jewelry can elevate any outfit. Be mindful of jewelry that can help express your uniqueness. Avoid wearing matching earring and necklace sets. It’s too predictable. Metal mixing is encouraged. The outdated rule of only one metal at a time is long gone. There is power in the purse choice. Your purse can be the glue to a fantastic outfit.
- For casual vibes, jeans and a flat or a mule can go with anything you want on top. Graphic tee, blouse, long cardi, pullover sweater, blazer, anything.
- Don’t be afraid of mixing prints. You can do it. It’s fun!
Remember, utilize your wardrobe to enhance your life and those you see. You are worthy to feel confident and comfortable. You are doing great things!