Dressing for the Part
The job or title of a sommelier comes with a big responsibility in the F&B space. It demands of you to not only ensure the best sales but also that the clients feel leaving happily advised and educated rather than gypped or cheated by a person of refinement and good taste. In light of this, and while I maintain that a book shouldn’t be judged merely by its cover, it still doesn’t hurt to dress it up a bit for the aesthetic, especially when said visuals could help ameliorate the overall experience for someone.
So, brush up your knowledge of the world’s vineyards but also brush up your wardrobe. Here is a quick guide on how to dress spiffy as sommelier.
A well-cut suit has few equals in the world of grooming. Prefer something which involves a tailor rather than buying off-the-peg. Sure it might cost a bit more but remember one doesn’t throw away suits. And with a tailored one, they leave in enough margin to accommodate any extra girth that one may acquire over time. Colours advisable are dark shades of charcoal grey or midnight blue although for a day shift, if one feels confident enough, earthy pastels in a somber tone could be attempted. Think olive green, camel brown, or perhaps a rust-meets-brick hue.
That translates to accessories. Cuff links work, as do ties with tie-pins, collar bars and even the very retro-but-cool collar pins. Some may even wish to have the arm bands to keep sleeves in place but if you get a shirt stitched to your frame, that problem shouldn’t ever arise.
Other things that one may throw in are a pocket square or brooch. In fact, for a casual setting, it’s advisable to give the tie a miss and just go the pocket square way. lapel pins work well as long as they aren’t too distracting. Wearing a sommelier’s pin or better yet, an IWBS pin, might be your best bet!
Go crazy, colour it up, match it to your tie, allow for some cheeky colour play. Unless your uniform code decrees otherwise, this is one part of your overall attire that allows you to be playful.
Comfort matters and many a good brand will furnish you with good brogues (or wing tips) that look good with suit. Slip-ins shouldn’t be your first choice so lace ups or maybe monk straps is the way. Regarding colour, for me it is always mahogany over black. Grey is noncommittal, so avoid those. Any other colour may not always sit well with the rest of the suit.
A personal handkerchief, a wine opener, and a good pen are the other requisites to complete the outfit. Avoid rings if possible as also other jewellery. Watches are fine as long as they dangle like a loose bracelet. Phones should be neither seen nor heard. An apron, half or full-length, is always a great idea. Hair and/or beard and moustache should always be groomed with non-aromatic products. Similarly, hand cream is a good investment provided you don’t slather it on thick.
If you can follow thee basic guidelines you should be pretty much on the safe path to being noticeably memorable but not garishly conspicuous.