Behind every great man is a great … wardrobe. Yes, it’s true — at least when it comes to the handsomely clad, professionally accomplished chaps in our new series, Dress for the Job You Want, which profiles more than a few good men who have proven that success is an equation of both substance and style.
They’ve cut their teeth in the fashion industry, climbed the corporate ladder, created their own companies, conjured plenty of new ideas — and have looked damn good doing it. For these guys, dressing for the occasion is simply part of the gig.
But you don’t have to be a fully suited, buttoned-up show-off to stake your claim in the game, as suave subtlety often wins in the end. And, with our apologies to Mark Twain, it takes a lot more than just clothes to make the man. However, a good sartorial statement can go a long way when it comes to charting your career course.
As the go-to accessories designer for some of the most talked-about television shows and movies (Entourage, The Vampire Diaries, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Law & Order, and Dallas — just to name a few), Bobby Schandra knows the power of dressing for the gig — both on-screen and off. Inspired to follow in the footsteps of his family’s renowned diamond and jewelry business, he introduced his eponymous collection more than 10 years ago. His luxury lineup now includes a broad spectrum of elegant yet edgy designer handbags, jewelry, watches and other accessories along with a recently launched men’s jewelry and accessories collection.
The Hollywood-based designer and entrepreneur has also recently parlayed his firsthand knowledge in successfully launching and building a brand to help others do the same, moonlighting as a business and strategy coach specializing in marketing, branding, sales, and PR.
Here’s what he had to say about dressing for the job.
The Cheat Sheet: What do you love most about your job?
Bobby Schandra: I love the opportunity to serve others and create a vision for them — whether that be through personalizing their individual style with my collection of accessories or coaching them through the launch of a new start-up.
CS: Favorite part of the 9-to-5 day?
BS: What’s a 9-to-5 day?
CS: How do you define your personal style?
BS: Comfortable, stylish, and functional. An athletic-casual look is my go-to style, and with the continuing emergence of the athleisure culture, it’s easier than ever to go from the gym to the office. I make a lot of calls — both in and out of the office — so it’s important that I’m wearing ensembles that are comfortable but also presentable. Of course, if I’m headed out for a red-carpet event, then it’s impeccably tailored, 007-style all the way. My cousin makes bespoke suits, so I wear custom whenever possible.
CS: Why should all guys care about their personal style?
BS: Most people rely on visual cues. We make judgments based on how people look, and right or wrong, our subconscious starts classifying. Personal style is a reflection of you, and looking the part is critical. You need to dress like the best version of yourself and who you aspire to be. Also, a big part of style is good grooming, too.
CS: Do you believe that success and good style go hand-in-hand?
BS: Yes! Dress how you want to be perceived, and you’ll feel better about yourself as a result. You’re always going to be more successful when you feel great about yourself.
CS: Why do you think it’s important to dress nicely?
BS: As a business and marketing coach, I can easily speak to the fact that we all are developing a brand for ourselves — whether we like it or not. It’s time to be more intentional with our personal brand, and that starts with good fashion and grooming.
CS: Where do you find some of your best sartorial statements?
BS: For ready-to-wear, I gravitate towards Hugo Boss and Cole Haan for shoes. For athletic wear, I head to Lululemon. They have great stuff for guys, too. All in all, I focus on quality over quantity. Start with a solid set of basics, and then expand.
CS: Workday essentials?
BS: Coffee in the morning for sure! My MacBook Air, and noise-cancelling Bose headphones when I have to jump on a call at the coffee shop. I also love good, old-fashion stationery and a spiral journal for note-taking. Oh, and I’m always wearing one of my natural stone, beaded bracelets, too. They fit any style — dressed up or dressed down!
CS: Where do you like to spend your off-duty hours?
BS: I love spending time with my beautiful wife and our dog at the park. You’ll also find me in the gym a lot of the time. Fitness is a huge part of my life. After all, a healthy body is always in style.
CS: Best career advice you’ve received?
BS: I tell my clients to start at their vision and suspend reality for a bit. Go back to that sense of childlike wonder without any inhibition; that’s the best starting point. It’s all about finding the balance between doing what you love, what you’re good at, and what you can make a living off of.
CS: Best style advice you’ve received?
BS: Wear clothes that fit you and that are flattering to your body type.