Wine Rep Stylin’: A Day On The Streets

February 13, 2012 · 6 comments

Let’s take a little break from the whole Winebuyer bashing for some fashion/function/frivolity, shall we?

So, there’s been a bit of talk here and there about Sommelier style recently, and being a lady (and a somewhat fashion obsessed lady at that) I couldn’t resist throwing in my two-cents on Wine Rep Stylin’.

Seeing as I’m all secretive with my identity (so lame, right?), I’m at a bit of a disadvantage here. I’d love to show you my favorite shoes or my go-to dress for the end-of-month pad-yer-numbers begging… er… selling, but that’s just not going to happen. So I’ll use my general rules of thumb and go from there.

(As a side note… I’d love to hear from you REPublic folks out there, especially the mensfolk… what are y’all wearing?)


Today we’ll start with my every-day look. No cold-calling, no suppliers riding along with me, no new impressions to make, just my usual appointments and drop-ins. I tend to dress on the casual end of the spectrum, unless I’m trying to impress a new buyer with my professionalism or am meeting with a supplier for a drink who happens to be driving through town that evening.

NOT ME (image via

ALSO NOT ME (image via The Sartorialist)

EYEWEAR: Sunglasses are a must. Between zig-zagging my way back and forth through the territory behind the wheel, walking the streets, and stepping into darkened accounts, my eyes take a beating through the day. I’ve learned my lesson and now like to wear distinctive eyewear so when I accidentally leave a pair of glasses at an account at the end of a long day, they know they’re mine. I’m eyeing these for my next pair… and considering I just lost my prized aviators, the day has come much sooner than hoped to order these cuties.

Karen Walker sunnies

DENIM… MOSTLY DARK, MOSTLY SKINNY:  I’m a jeans kind of girl when I can get away with it. And whether or not you can wear denim on the job depends on a few things… where you live, who you work for, what you pair them with, and of course the jeans themselves. Darker rinses are easier to dress up. No rips. You’ll never see the SWS guys with jeans on… and very rarely see them without their signature ties. But those of us independents, we live within our own fashion parameters.

Genetic skinnies

Dressing up denim: tailored shirt… blazer, vest, or sweater… boots or pumps. Throw on a colorful printed scarf and some jewelry. Done.

KICKS – FASHION OVER FUNCTION: I have problems, people. Whether it be a normal day on the streets pounding the pavement or pouring at a four hour trade tasting on concrete floor, I just can’t bring myself to wear flats. My idea of comfortable shoes are my TOM wedges with a 3-inch heel. But my usual kicks are either pumps or boots with at least a 2 inch heel. I do carry at least one extra pair of “sensible” shoes in my trunk at all times, my barely-worn Sam Edelman flats,  just in case, but rarely do they see the light of day.

my "Comfortable" shoes

Some day, I’ll pay the price, I’m sure. But for now, I stick with vanity and heels.

THE BAG – THINK BIG, LOTS OF POCKETS: First the wine bag… normally a 6-bottle roller embroidered with the name of some well-to-do winery that I once represented a few books back. I’ve got a few others at my disposal of course, my fave is a 3-bottler that’s easy to toss on top of the roller on those heavy-pour days. It’s pretty. And light.

Then there’s the “briefcase”. I don’t really do briefcases. I do large purses with lots of pockets. Must hold at least 3 bottles of wine, just in case I find myself without the winebag needing to drop off full bottle samples somewhere or show my “label only” winebuyers a pretty package. Buried deep inside the recesses of the work purse are business cards, an iPad, several wine keys (the number of which fluctuates based on proximity of my most recent trip to the airport), extra portfolios, and pens. Among other things that maybe aren’t so necessary. Chap Stick. Unscented lotion. Make-up, at times. Breath mints. Discarded jewelry. A golf ball or two… (random, right?)

THE CAR – MOBILE OFFICE: A few key items I keep in my car…

-A filing box with folders for signed bills of lading, copies of invoices, extra catalogues and portfolios, shelf-talkers and/or press sheets.

-My “mobile postal center”: Envelopes, pre-printed mailing labels for my importers and wineries, and plenty of stamps. Gotta get those checks out.

-The change of shoes, of course, collecting dust in some corner of my trunk.

-Feather duster and double stick tape for my retail accounts.

-A small bottle of Wine-Away, for those inevitable spills. Man that stuff stinks.

-A sleeping bag. No, not for the last minute camp-out… sleeping bags work wonders when I’ve got a case or two sitting in my car throughout the day and it’s 90 degrees out. Not ideal, but a great insulator in a pinch. Over the sleeping bag, I pitch one of those reflective sun-visors.



So that’s the heart of my work kit. In all honesty, this post took me about three weeks to put together, so the possibility of this “Wine Rep Styles” thing becoming a regular feature is not likely. We’ll see.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

alazscar February 14, 2012 at 2:23 am

Great piece; worth your three weeks. AMusing bouquet and decent notes of irony and sarcasm. Perhaps somewhat confessional for the average imbiber. Needs no cellaring.


Cold Calling February 14, 2012 at 4:07 am

Anytime I hear the words “no cold calling” I’m a happy camper! Never cold call again! Now time to get back to my lovely bottle of Magnificat meritage :)


longsincejadedwinerep February 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm

hair: unkempt

beard: week-old

upper: long-sleeve flannel, snap buttons

lower: levis 527, right knee tear, legcuff hem ratted

footwear: shitkicker boots, complete with shit remnants on soles

accessories: prismatic glass pipe, black bic lighter, green/purple herbs

zero appointments. no agenda. i fuckin’ rule.


JsutAtnoherWnimekar February 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Love the independent fashion parameters! You could do a great piece on the other side of the winery. Winemaker fashion (men). Comfort? Yes. Tragic? Obviously.

Hair: Whatever is left covered with a baseball cap.

Beard or Goatee: Apparently a must.

Upper: T-shirt and Fleece Vest (seemed cool in 1992) I suppose most fleece vests are from that era yet vendors and wineries still inexplicably keep cranking them out.

Lower: Jeans- Levi’s, Wranglers. No complaints here. Love my Ben Sherman and CK jeans though.

Footwear: Aussie boots. No laces, no style, no worries mate. Feet smell like hot garbage with a touch of death after a month of use. Lightweight running shoes do the trick mixed in with my laced up Patagonia boots. Channel your inner Mr. Rogers and change into some breathable kicks now and again. When doing trade tastings or public events, be courteous to those around you and leave those nasty Blunnies at home.

Accessories: Those sunglass straps so one can wear their sweet off-the-gas-station kiosk shades as a necklace. From the era of the fleece vest I’m afraid.

When on the road / work withs: Love the surprised look of the rep when my suit and tie combo is sharp. Always B.Rep suits and Zegna ties.
Keep up the great posts!


Jaded Importer February 19, 2012 at 4:52 am

For visiting accounts, jeans and a button down shirt. Merrils for the feet. Office attire in the summer ranges to shorts and a T-Shirt – my suppliers are mostly in Europe, so I only dress up for Skype sessions. Ha.


isabel February 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm

You need to get the MZ Wallace Kate bag. I have one and it is ideal. As a supplier I love it. Room for sharpies (silver so winemakers can sign bottles), space for calculators (that all important GP you have to figure out), side pocket for bottle of water (cause damn those retailers will make you pay for a bottle of water). It has space for my ipad, keyboard, mini umbrella, gps, business cards, camera, key lanyard, etc.


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