In the following interview, wardrobe consultant Salta Biissova discusses the powerful connection between personal style, self-confidence, and professional success. Unpacking the common misconceptions about professional attire, Salta emphasizes the importance of comfort, individuality, and smart wardrobe management. She provides insightful tips on how to infuse personality into professional clothing choices, underscoring that small changes can have a big impact on our self-perception and, by extension, our career progression.


Could you tell me a bit more about your business and what you do?


I assist people in discovering their style. Especially when they're transitioning work settings or seeking promotions, I help them curate a wardrobe that not only makes them stand out but also represents their persona. If body changes have left someone unsure about their dressing style, I guide them in understanding how to transition from where they are now to where they were before. Not everyone can accept their new body, and some even grieve their old one. That's why I help them understand and realize that clothes can indeed help you love yourself.

It's all about authenticity, how to dress, and how to express yourself. I firmly believe that we don't go naked in the world. We dress up, and clothes are meant to be worn by us, not the other way around. That's what I do.

In a nutshell, that's me and my work.


I really resonate with that. During my corporate life, even though I didn't want it to be, dress was indeed crucial. Sometimes, when I showed up as myself, it sent mixed signals. I was young and often dressed casually, like I would off-duty. But this style didn't always mesh well in the corporate setting. It created a sense of disconnect. I struggled with being authentic and maintaining my individuality, while also being taken seriously and perceived as an expert or leader. Could you tell me how you assist people in bridging this gap? How can one be authentic while still being professional?


Certainly, I am passionate about this topic, given my background in the corporate world. So when I discuss corporate attire, it's not just theory; I've been there, in professional and leadership roles. I am well aware of the importance of attire, even if some people try to downplay it.

When it comes to personal style for professionals, my focus is on understanding their unique personality and lifestyle. I ask a series of questions during one-on-one Zoom calls to gather this information. I also use an interesting methodology based on archetypes. There are twelve archetypes that I use to create a profile based on the clients' responses to my questions.

For example, if you identify as a creative type, I will guide you on how to authentically express that in a professional setting. Then, I will ask about the requirements of your workplace. Some workplaces are relaxed, but others are quite strict, like a bank. In such cases, I help you navigate how to express your personality within those boundaries.

This process involves a lot of questions, and I always encourage my clients to be patient. The more they answer, the more accurate the results we get. Not everyone is comfortable fully opening up about their body and personal style, which is understandable. That's why I developed this archetype system—to delve deeper into their personalities. If necessary, I use drawings to understand how they feel inside.

Every person is different, so I don't use every method for every person—it could be overwhelming. I start by understanding the personality and then gradually implement the main methodologies. My goal is to approach each person individually and create a style that suits their personality and workplace requirements.


Absolutely. What resonates with me from our previous discussions is this idea of connecting with people by helping them externalize their inner selves. We put on figurative masks in so many areas of our lives; work is just one of them. These masks also appear in our relationships, friendships, and we often feel compelled to behave or appear in a certain way.

When this isn't aligned with our true selves, it can feel uncomfortable, or as I like to call it, "crunchy". This discomfort is amplified when we're in clothes that don't fit or that don't reflect who we truly are. Trying to embody a different persona in uncomfortable clothes is challenging. It drains our energy and makes it harder for us to tap into our power.

I believe this is a struggle many women can relate to -- stepping into our own power while staying true to ourselves.


Certainly, I concur. As women, the power wasn't handed to us all at once. If you compare it to men, they've had power for a long time, whereas ours is relatively recent. Yet, I'm not suggesting we need to nullify them. We need to strive for equality and alignment. At the same time, I'm passionate about empowering women. You can express yourself and reveal who you truly are through your clothes.

For instance, some women may think, "I want to look feminine, but I don't like floral prints." But who ever said that femininity and floral prints are inseparable? Remember, you were born a woman — you're inherently feminine. Let's focus on dressing according to your body shape, your color palette, and your personal preferences. That's what defines your style. You don't need clothes to make you a woman — you already are one. Let's simply showcase your body, your personality, through your clothing.

This is what I often tell women, especially those who have gained weight along the way. When they start disliking their bodies, they retreat into their shells and often start wearing mostly black clothes, thinking that black can hide their shape. But as I mentioned earlier, I tell them that I've been there too. After giving birth, I gained weight. I understand the depression that can come from living in an idealized world where you are expected to be a certain size.

What I'm advocating now is for people to start letting go of the clothes that no longer fit. Put them far away in the back of the wardrobe. Because what happens when you open your wardrobe and see a dress that fit you three years ago, but doesn't fit now? That small dress creates a small anxiety in your mind, and you start thinking that your body isn't great.

But remember, you wear the clothes — the clothes don't wear you. You have to embrace and appreciate your body. After all, your body takes you everywhere you go. That's why I tell people, regardless of their size, that what matters is the shape, the colors, and the cut of their clothes. Once you know your style, your body shape, and your colors, you will look amazing no matter what size you are.

So, to explain further, as a woman, you should embrace your size, your age, your ethnicity, and your origin. None of that matters in the face of style, size, and colors. Once you know and can perfectly combine these three things, you'll always look fantastic.


I've spoken to many women in their midlife. At this stage, our bodies often look nothing like what we imagined. We tend to hold onto an image of ourselves that predates children, midlife, menopause, and all the changes that come with them.

Every time we look in our closets or search for something to wear, we confront this discrepancy. I've experienced this myself, putting on an outfit that I used to look fantastic in, only to find that it no longer fits or flatters me. It's not just about how it looks, though. That outfit represents someone I'm no longer. I've gained experience, knowledge, and lived a life since then.

This brings me to a point you made earlier about grieving our old bodies, which is something we don't often consider.


Indeed, we are influenced by social media and television, which often convey that aging, gaining weight, or being assertive are negative things. However, we need to remember that our bodies have different hormones and are constantly changing.

For instance, someone who was professionally working in a workplace might have to change their style dramatically after having a baby. They can't always wear heels when taking care of a baby. At the same time, they might struggle with this change. This struggle often arises from our brain's resistance to change. We get accustomed to a certain style, size, and lifestyle, and when these no longer resonate with us, we fear change.

That's why I advocate for transforming your look to transform your life. I like to delve deeply into individual people's needs. I help instigate change, but not dramatically. If I were to make dramatic changes in someone's wardrobe, people might reject it because our brains don't like abrupt changes. Instead, I suggest small changes. If you've never worn colors, let's start adding small bits of color. If you've been wearing a certain style, and you want a change, let's gradually shift your style. Let's create actionable steps and a system for you to follow.

Without this, our brains will reject the change, and we might end up thinking that nothing works, or that our style is not great. This process can become emotionally draining. That's why it's crucial to work with professionals, like a stylist in my case. I believe we need human interactions in this process.


Indeed, it's crucial to understand that there's no such thing as a "one size fits all" approach. It's not productive to constantly compare ourselves to others or to what they're doing. Instead, we need to step back and reflect on what we want and where we are right now. It's important to be present in the moment.

We're all changing. It's not just about mourning the person we once were but also about not getting too caught up in the future. We shouldn't worry so much about where we'll be a year from now. Many of us hold on to clothes or careers, believing they'll fit us or suit us better in the future.

But instead of focusing on that uncertain future, why not live, dress, and be present in today? Find something that works for you today and let go of that future narrative, because we really don't know what it holds.


Yes, I agree with you. There's no one-size-fits-all solution. When we cling too tightly to the past, we don't allow anything to happen in the present and this stalls our future. The same applies to how we deal with changes to our bodies. For example, a woman who has gained weight might refuse to wear anything stylish and feel bad about herself. She might look at other people, compare herself to them, and then feel guilty.

However, as I've said before, it's important not to compare ourselves to others. Instead, appreciate what you have. You already have a body, hopefully with functioning limbs and a working brain. These aren't things to take for granted. Once you understand yourself and start dressing according to your body shape and color, you'll feel amazing. You'll start to love yourself. It won't be an overnight transformation - I don't promise any dramatic changes right away. It depends on the individual. Some people change quickly, some people change more slowly.

I'm not comparing these paces, I'm just saying that people have different rhythms of life. That's why it's important to be patient with yourself. Once you start dressing in a way that makes you love yourself and you want to change - maybe you want to switch careers or try something new - it all starts with small steps. When you look in the mirror in the morning and think, "Wow, is that me?" and you love what you see, you carry that positivity into the world. You smile at your boss, they see you're in a good mood and maybe they give you more responsibilities. You excel at these new tasks, and you get a promotion. Small steps lead to big changes eventually.


Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. It's often the small changes that surprise us. We don't have to make drastic alterations. So, what do you think are some of the limiting beliefs or narratives that prevent us from fully embracing this authenticity and presenting our true selves, particularly in professional settings? Or even personally, if it's different.


Firstly, a common misconception is that professional attire is uncomfortable. Many people feel that if they have to wear a blazer to work, it's going to be too tight and constricting. Or they might buy pants that are too tight, hindering their circulation. This discomfort distracts them from their work as they're constantly thinking about their clothes.

However, we live in an era where you can find various sizes and materials for different body types. You can find stretchy blazers, or blouses made from stretchy fabrics. Professional attire can actually be very comfortable if you find the right materials for yourself.

Another misconception is that people have to sacrifice their personal style to dress professionally. For instance, people working in a bank might think they have to wear only one color and that they can't express themselves. But people often forget about accessories like underwear, socks, and jewelry. For example, a woman can wear a tie if she wants to or she can wear different blouses or maybe different cuts of blazers. What about shoes? Why not buy a different color for shoes?

I recently had a very interesting conversation with a woman who asked, "What can I do because I cannot express myself at all because I cannot wear jewelry or color?" I told her, "What about your underwear?" You don't have to flash everyone to say, "I'm authentic like this." If you like your work and are thankful for it, why not wear funny underwear under your police officer uniform and feel good about yourself? I always remind people that small things like this can infuse your personality into your professional dress.

Another misconception is that professional attire has to be expensive. This is not true. Good quality doesn't always mean it has to be very expensive. Sometimes you can go to a thrift store and buy a very good leather jacket.

People also believe that certain body types aren't suited to traditional professional attire. They think they look inadequate and this leads to self-consciousness. I'm here to say that we live in the era of body positivity and you can dress professionally according to your body shape.

Lastly, some people don't know how to mix and match professional clothing. People either buy very plain colors or they buy clothes specifically for one event. This creates a habit of buying clothes for a single event or buying the same thing, and this creates a natural problem. Most of the time, people only wear 15 to 20% of their wardrobe. Can you imagine that 80% of your wardrobe is just hanging there, creating anxiety because you don't know what to do with them? You open your wardrobe, close it, open it again, close it again, wear the same thing, and go to work.

These are some of the most common misconceptions I've seen that people have about professional attire.


Yes, you reminded me of an experiment I did pre-COVID when I first started my business. I had transitioned from a corporate job where I felt the need to dress up. I had separate work clothes and play clothes, and I would instantly change into something more comfortable as soon as I got home.

When I started my own business, I decided to turn all the hangers in my closet backwards. Then, every time I wore something, I would hang it back up facing forwards. This way, I could see all the clothes in my closet that I never touched.

A whole year passed because I wanted to account for all seasons. Surprisingly, I found that I never even touched over half of my wardrobe, regardless of the season or occasion. We tend to default to certain clothes, and aligning those clothes with all aspects of your life can be impactful.

I believe you don't need a lot of pieces to shine and show your authenticity in different spaces.


No, you don't need to have a lot of clothes. The quantity depends on your profession and what's required of you, but most of the time, you can create around 12 to 20 outfits with just 10 items, including shoes and accessories. The trick is knowing how to mix and match colors, shapes, and structures of the clothes, as they all have different fabrics.

Here's a small tip for everyone: try to maintain a ratio of one pair of pants to three tops in your wardrobe. This is because when people look at you, they usually focus on your upper body, also known as the 'portrait zone'. So, if you want to appear as though you're always wearing something different and want to be memorable, don't go beyond maybe two tops for one bottom. This way, people will think you always dress differently, even if you are not.


It's truly been a pleasure talking with you today, Salta. It's refreshing to acknowledge that we don't have to make grand, sweeping changes. If we can let go of the notion that we have to conform to a certain way of dressing or acting, and instead be open to understanding ourselves better, we can bring more of our true selves to the forefront — be it at work or in social settings.

The focus here is on self-discovery and implementing small, achievable changes. It doesn't take much to start seeing a transformation. I appreciate the tips you've shared today, which can help people unravel their beliefs about style and authenticity. This conversation has been enlightening.


Thank you. I loved it too and thank you for having me.


Absolutely. We will provide all of Salta's contact information below. If you're interested, don't hesitate to reach out to Salta and start the conversation about your wardrobe. I'm personally excited to dive into mine. Thanks so much.

That was a great conversation we had, too bad the audio and video didn’t work out when we met online - but that’s ok. I didn’t want to have all this great stuff slip through the cracks.

If you want to know more about Salta and what she does, reach out and connect on LinkedIn.

Check out SaltaSylist on the web.

And of course her smokin’ hot Instagram page.

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You can also check out these other blogs.

Embracing Authenticity in Your Career Journey

3 Ways to Start Trusting Your Gut

The 5 Whys Strategy and Why It's So Important

And over on the Podcast

Ep. 95 Building Confidence and Belief in Yourself with Monica Morgan