Soreyda Begley knows fashion. Well she doesn’t just know it – she lives it! She is originally from Honduras and has lived in the United States for almost 13 years. She is the mother of three children, Isabella, William and Aaron. She is also the Director of the Lexington Fashion Collaborative, Board Director of FLACA (Foundation for Latin American Arts and Culture), and a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Kentucky State Commission.
Because of her experience working in sweatshops in her native country (from the age of 14 to 20), Soreyda is an advocate for fair trade, women’s rights and sustainable development. She has won several awards for her work as an activist and for her fashion design work, including: Latina Business Woman of the Year, one of Business Lexington’s 2011 Leading Women of Central Kentucky, winner of Louisville Fashion Network’s Holiday Design Contest 2010, third place in the 2011 international Born Free Fur Free Fashion Contest, the 2012 Coretta Scott King “Spirit of the Ivy” Young Entrepreneur award and many more. Her work has been published in national and international fashion and art publications as well as in theater, film and gallery productions.
Similar to Dress for Success Lexington, Soreyda understands the importance of a woman’s professional appearance and she knows that a few simple fashion tips can take you a long way. Soreyda is not only a style icon; she is an advocate for women in the professional world and her words of wisdom come from a world of experience.
Soreyda Benedit Begley
Soreyda says NO to leggings as pants, and YES to getting out there and making a difference!
Occupation: Clothing Designer and Community Activist.
Interests, Hobbies: I love to dance, paint, cook, read, going camping and fishing, among many others.
1. How would you describe your professional style?
Very easy going, fun, unique. I wear dresses a lot.
2. Who is/are your style icon(s)?
I love Coco Chanel’s style, she really influenced big changes in the way women dress, for the better. She made it more relaxed and practical. Currently, I’m obsessed with Iris Apfel’s style.
My local fashion icon is Lori Houlihan. Her style is very creative, modern and chic at the same time.
I follow two blogs for inspiration: The Sartorialist and Advance Style.
3. What advice would you give a woman who is trying to snag her first job, or who is trying to advance professionally?
Research and know your stuff. Knowledge translates into confidence and people love confidence. Of course being able to express confidence through you wardrobe not always comes easy. If you are struggling finding a way to express yourself in this area, it can be very helpful to consult with a professional stylist, or with a friend who is good at putting clothes together.
There are also hundreds of fashion blogs where you can go for advice in the privacy of your home. When you go shopping, make sure you pick pieces that feel like you, that are comfortable and appropriate for the work environment you are or want to be at. There are just a few fields that have stayed very strict went it comes to dress code (banks and law firms for example) but you can still bring excitement to the office without being marked as a rebel or rule breaker.
Some examples of very modern chic professionals are: Marissa Mayer CEO of Yahoo, Desiree Rogers CEO of Johnson Publishing (Jet and Ebony magazine) and Anna Wintour, editor and chief of Vogue Magazine. And you may say; well, they have resources to have a fabulous wardrobe! It is not actually about having expensive clothes, it is more about wearing pieces that fit your body type and size, color and shape contrast and finishing completing the look with the right accessories. A warm smile is the best accessory, I think :-). If you have hard time finding clothes that fit you well, get a tailor to get them altered or to bring dated pieces to today.
Others easy rules to follow are:
-Purchase pieces that can be mixed and match easily to create many looks.
-Only hold on to garments that you are actually going to wear.
-Go shopping with time. Being in a rush can bring a lot of frustration and disappointment.
-If you bring a friend with you, make sure it’s someone who is supportive and cheerful. It can be a great help to have a second opinion.
-It is very important to know when to wear what. There is a place and time for everything, you don’t have to throw away your flip-flops because you landed a high profile position in accompany.
Good style takes practice, so practice putting things together and when you have found your personal style, just build up on those key pieces you already own.
4. What does every woman need in her closet?
-Good undergarments, it makes a world of difference on how your clothes fit.
-A little black dress that can easily translate to cocktail/after hours wear.
-A good, timeless coat.
-A pair of shoes that goes well with pants and skirts.
-A light color, long sleeve blouse.
-A good suit with pants and skirt.
5. What is a workplace no-no in your book?
Leggings as pants, catastrophe!!
6. What gets you out of bed every morning?
My hungry kids, for the most part. But seriously, I love the work that I do in the community. It has been amazing how welcoming the Lexington community has been with the fashion movement. I get so many invitations to speak about the Lexington Fashion Collaborative, invitations to join boards, etc. Also, I get inspiration from all the people I’m in contact with on a daily basis. I have a network of amazing people; from activists to politicians to well established artists. I always have interactions with people who make me want to be better and work harder to improve the quality of life in our city and the rest of the world. We all have the ability to make a difference, we just have to get out there and do it!
More of Soreyda’s Style
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