Your Style: Christine Bakke
Since arriving as CEO and administrator for Rochester’s Madonna Living Community in April 2017, Christine Bakke has come to call yet one more Minnesota place her home.
“I still technically live in Central Minnesota,” she said. “I have a family up there — my husband and two children.
“My interests outside of work revolve around my children — they are both actively involved in sports, so we are often traveling all over for either practices or games.”
Outside of work and children’s activities, Bakke says she enjoys “gardening, reading, movies and hunting.”
Please introduce us to your style.
I would call it a combination of business professional and feminine.
A little background?
As my career evolved, I looked to a lot of successful women, both in my industry and out. There were several women who I would call a mentor and I just picked up on how they looked.
How has your style changed with your stages in life?
Early in my career, I didn’t feel people took me seriously, so I dressed in a much more formal way. I was a young woman with not a lot of management experience and felt a need to make a statement of competence. I used clothing choices to help me look more sophisticated as well as (be seen as) an authority figure. I think I still do this at some level, but I am certainly more comfortable now.
What do you hope your style communicates when working and in other settings?
I want people to see that I am confident and capable, but still fun and approachable.
What do you wear professionally?
At work or work-related events, I mostly wear dresses or suits. Every now and then, you will find me more casual when we are sponsoring a certain event. I will wear our company logo wear with just pants or capris on those days.
The most essential components in your wardrobe?
I really love dresses that make me look more feminine and then matching shoes.
What should every well-dressed woman have in her wardrobe?
I think every woman should have one to two pieces of jewelry that are real — not trendy, costume jewelry, but timeless pieces. I have a diamond solitary necklace with matching tennis bracelet and earrings that I will have forever and most likely hand down to my daughter.
Any purse or tote preferences?
I really don’t like purses at all. I just bought a phone case that I can carry some cash and credit cards in and love it!
Do you have a priceless sentimental item?
My dad’s scarf. He passed away a little over a year ago and it hangs in my closet. It still smells like him. Even though I don’t wear it, I don’t have the heart to give it up either.
Is there an item your family or friends joke about?
I am very casual on the weekends. That surprises a lot of people. I wear a lot of sweatshirts and leggings and I don’t wear any makeup, unless we are going to something more formal.
Favorite color to wear?
Black is a huge favorite. My skin tone seems favorable to many colors, so I don’t shy away from much.
Preferred season in terms of clothing?
Summer. I can wear dresses, open toe shoes — and that’s it!
Is there something especially “Minnesota” about your style?
The only thing Minnesota about my style is when I am hunting!
I was once told to not dress for my current position, but to dress for my next position. That has helped me through the years, if for nothing else than self-confidence. For people looking to advance their career, I think that sometimes you have to conform to social norms within your career choice. You don’t have to stay there forever, but sometimes you have to play the part until you make it.