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Sara Messina aims for the classics with a bit of fun

Confidence comes from well-fitted clothing, Messina says, not from tugging at things that don't fit.

Sara Messina
Sara Messina on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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“My husband, Steve, and I moved our family to Rochester four years ago from Orlando, Florida, for his job as a neuroradiogogist,” says Sara Messina, who works in communications at Mayo Clinic. Since, they have come to appreciate all things Rochester and Minnesota — including, for the most part, winters here.

“My favorite thing about Rochesterites is how we embrace everything each season has to offer. In winter, we go snow-tubing at Ironwood Springs, ice skating at Soldier's Field and to the ice bar at Social Ice,” Messina said. In summer, we shut down the pool on Friday nights, golf until 9 p.m., and go on family bike rides every evening after dinner. Yes, winter is long, but we squeeze out every last opportunity for fun. And when winter gets too long, we try and go somewhere warm for vacation!”

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As the mother of three children in elementary school at St. Pius X, Messina said, she enjoys “chauffeuring them to activities.” Family game nights and eating her husband's cooking are also high on her list of favorites along with planning various activities and trips for family and friends. In between, she added, she tries to “squeeze in Pure Bare classes, walks and golf so I can continue to eat Steve's cooking.”

Please give us a snapshot of your style?

Classic and put together, with a playful twist. I like to stand out a little bit.


Do you differentiate between style and fashion?

Fashion is what everyone wears. Style is how you personalize it.

What do you hope to teach your children about style?

Even if style isn't really "their thing," I hope they understand it has a role to play in how people perceive them. I want them to use style as a tool that can help them project confidence, competence or whatever other positive attributes they have.

Sara Messina
Sara Messina on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Origins of your style?

I grew up in Florida and went to college there — and it probably shows. I embrace gingham, seersucker and pastels!

What do you wear here and there in Rochester?

I work from home now. Most people would probably think it's bananas, but I really miss wearing suits. Now, I wear button-down shirts in the summer and sweaters the rest of the time. I keep a blazer nearby in case I need to pop on something more professional for a Zoom meeting.


Rent the Runway has been a huge help for formal dressing and trips. I love being able to rent something perfect for an occasion and then send it back when I'm done.

Unless I'm going to or from a workout, I rarely wear athleisure when I'm running around town. I like to look put together, even for casual occasions.

What is your most important wardrobe component?

My pearl necklace. It's been my signature since college.

Sara Messina
Sara Messina on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

What should every well-dressed woman have in her wardrobe?

Clothing that fits well. Confidence is attractive — tugging at clothes isn't.

Is this different from the answer your mother or grandmother might give or would have given years ago?



Please tell me a little about your favorite accessories?

With a few exceptions, I love high-quality and versatile accessories, including purses and shoes. That helps me keep my collection small. I prefer being hands-free — all three of my everyday purses are cross-body.

Favorite footwear?

My favorite shoes to wear in the summer are my Tory Burch Miller sandals. They're polished and comfortable. I can wear them to the pool, dinner or running errands. My Golden Goose sneakers are probably the only thing my wardrobe has in common with both celebrities and 20-somethings.

Do you have a priceless sentimental item?

No, but I love my Cartier watch, which was a gift from my husband. Like so many of us, I wear an Apple watch now, but I miss wearing a classic timepiece.

Is there something in your wardrobe people would find surprising?

People who know how organized and curated my home is would be surprised to know I have 10 swimsuits — all of which I wear. I have a lot of swimsuits for vacations because I don't like re-wearing bathing suits without washing them.

Preferred season in terms of clothing?

Spring is my spirit season.

Do you have any favorite places to shop for clothes and/or accessories in town?

Believe it or not, the pro shop at the Rochester Golf & Country Club. They offer low prices on popular golf brands and goodr (brand) sunglasses for about half the regular price.

Is there something "Minnesota" about your style now that you’ve been here for a while?

I bought real boots and coats when we moved here from Florida four years ago — I'm getting there.

And what about Rochester’s style?

I appreciate how people in Rochester dress practically for the weather while still incorporating style.

Parting thoughts or advice for readers?

My best advice is to create a wardrobe of only items you love (yes, love!) to wear. Don't keep things out of obligation. Don't keep things that have already served their purpose or that you're not excited to wear. I adore this quote by writer Amy Fine Collins: "Opening up your closet should be like arriving at a really great party where everyone you see is someone you like." We all deserve to feel this way.

Do you know someone who has unique style? Send nominations to life@postbulletin.com with "Your Style" in the subject line.

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