Why I Left a Career in Professional Sports to Build STYL

My “I need to build this” moment happened at a Nordstrom Rack in Chicago, and it brought back two painful college memories. Like most college students, I had a very limited budget for personal expenses. I waited tables, bartended, and the majority of my earnings went to rent and food, leaving few opportunities for buying clothes.

On the first occasion, I headed to the mall for some shoe shopping. My roommate was raised in SoCal and he had that cool surfer vibe. I wanted to emulate his white high tops and ankle cut socks look and I bought a pair of white on white Nike’s.

Later that night he came across the Nike shoe box and asked to see them. I was certain he was going to give them his approval, until I took them out of the closet and heard him say, “Dude, those look like white nurses shoes”. They were promptly returned the next day.

white nike sneakers that look like nursing shoes

A year later I went shopping at Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego for a new shirt for an upcoming party. While looking through the men’s dress shirts for sale at Nordstrom, I was approached by an attractive female sales associate.

After asking me a few questions her eye’s perked up and she said, “I’ll show you what to wear to a party to really impress”. Intrigued by the thought of being original and expanding my fashion sense, I looked at the $80 shirt she pulled and my mind immediately said NO, but I agreed to try it on.

In the dressing room I should have trusted my initial reaction as I looked in the mirror and the shirt made me look like I was being burned alive. I opened the dressing room door to the attractive sales associate who closed me with, “It looks great on you and you have the confidence to pull it off!”

I arrived at the party, got weird glances, laughed at, had a few drinks, came home, and never wore the shirt again.

Ugly red, yellow and orange flame style dress shirt

- Conor Sammartin is a Co-Founder at STYL