Franky Marshall / Photo by Rose Callahan
Search Google images for the term “sommelier,” and you’ll find an endless stream of serious-looking people in a sea of gray, black and navy suits and separates. But many modern sommeliers dress casually, in brighter colors and with more individuality. The evolution of sommelier fashion reflects the movement to take wine from staid traditionalism—some might say elitism—toward accessibility and inclusivity.
The industry is changing, pros say, and the proof is in plain sight.
“The wine and spirits industry is not what it used to be 10 years ago,” says Óscar García Moncada, wine and spirits director for 67 Wine and Spirits. “The softening of all ideas of what ‘professional dress code’ means has [created] change over time, allowing me to express more of my personal style while still feeling professional.” He primarily opts to wear classic tailoring with fun pops of color during his workday, at times with a statement sneaker, and can often be found in more avant-garde ensembles by designers like Willy Chavarria.
Moncada believes presentation and style is a key factor in this line of work. A great look, he says, can influence the way one sells a bottle, be it a boost of confidence or channeling a specific vibe.
“I always feel it’s important to distinguish yourself and show the unique quality that’s all yours,” says Franky Marshall, a New York-based bartender, educator and consultant specializing in Cognac and Pineau des Charentes. In industry circles worldwide, she’s known for her love of electric purple and pink, and her dedication to the color palette has become a personal brand of sorts.
“I believe in making an impression, presenting well and caring about the way I look—to be honest though, I tend to dress for myself, whether it’s for work or not, because it’s just who I am,” she adds. “I like the way I feel when I’m expressing myself.”