Style Tips from Dapper Nordstrom Personal Stylist Brent Martin

The dashing Brent Martin pontificates about the art of dressing
Ali Brownrigg  |   March 2014   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
brent martin nordstrom style tips seattle magazine

Origins of style: “I can remember in the early 1980s when I was in sixth or seventh grade asking for a pink sweater and subscriptions to Vogue, Interview and GQ for Christmas,” says 41-year-old Nordstrom personal stylist Brent Martin—requests that made him quite an original in small-town Colorado, where he grew up. Today, Martin, who worked in Seattle’s coffee industry for 15 years before starting at Nordstrom in 2011, is still partial to pink (and other bold colors and patterns), with a personal aesthetic that can be described as urban prepster with flashes of daring, confidence and originality. “I look at street style a lot,” he says, “what people are actually wearing rather than what the runway tells us to wear.”

Universal appeal:
While he has the world of high fashion literally at his fingertips each day at Nordstrom, Martin is a fan of high/low and vintage styles. “A good wardrobe does not consist of designer items alone,” he says. “Anyone, no matter their budget, can dress well.” The key, according to Martin, is wearing clothing that makes you feel great. “Don’t just buy something because it’s on sale, buy it because you love it.” In other words, it’s not the size of the closet, but the quality within it that matters.

Encore performance: Martin is one of 18 personal stylists at the downtown Nordstrom, where he helps his clientele—which includes many notable Seattleites, both male and female, whom he is much too discreet to name—to “look good, feel good and present themselves with fundamental confidence.” His most-prized successes, says the customer service all-star award winner, happen in Encore, the plus-size department, where he helps those receptive shoppers discover the right ways to dress for their bodies. “It’s really so much about the proper size and fit,” says Martin, as well as accentuating the waist and highlighting the face.

Pro Tip

Women tend to have too many basics and not enough statement pieces, Martin says. That goes for outerwear as well. “Have the right clothes for the right activity,” he urges, which includes what he calls a “lady coat” for going out when wearing your fleece just won’t do.

Glasses: Pierre Eyewear, Ottica Seattle (Belltown,

Tie: Salvatore Ferragamo (Bellevue,

Blazer: Gant by Michael Bastian, Nordstrom (multiple locations,

Shirt: Hugo Boss, Mario’s (downtown,

Bracelets: A gift from his niece McKenna

Waistcoat: H&M (multiple locations,

Denim: A.P.C., Nordstrom

Shoes: Prada, Nordstrom