Saturday, March 16, 2013

medical school wardrobe: dress code

medical school dress code

Having worked in a very, very casual work environment means that I've had a lot of freedom with what I can wear everyday (except for the safety restrictions of needing to wear pants, flat shoes, and a lab coat). With school starting at the very end of July, my closet needs a some additions that I previously didn't have much use for. My school does have a dress code for any time we are on campus (including lecture and studying in the library) - it's as follows:

A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Women are required to wear 
appropriate dresses of reasonable length or slacks with appropriate blouses. Halter tops, midriff tops, strapless or backless tops or dresses; sundresses, crop pants, capri pants and miniskirts are not permitted. Revealing or tight, form-fitting clothing is unacceptable. Women’s hair must be neat and trimmed at all times, avoiding extreme styles or colors. Excessive body piercing is not acceptable. Women are required to wear shoes or sandals with socks or stockings. Shorts, jeans, T-shirts and sandals with bare feet are not permitted.

So - halter tops, midriff tops, strapless or backless dresses, and mini skirt are not going to be a problem for me. I don't even own any of those things! It seems that ankle pants may be considered cropped pants, which is really unfortunate as I consider ankle pants to be dress pants. The other thing is that when wearing dresses or skirts, I'll need to wear tights. I was a dancer for 14 years, so tights for me are like a death sentence (but partially because I just think of shiny shiny tights). The dress code is what it is, so there isn't much use in complaining about it. Instead I'm going to shop for it!

On my 25th birthday I made a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30. One of those items was to own a Chanel bag. I started a savings account where for every paycheck, $25 is automatically transferred into it so I could walk into a Chanel store on my 30th birthday and purchase a bag without any guilt. Unfortunately for my handbag collection, my life has gone in a different direction and I now have different priorities. Since I won't have a paycheck for another 4 years, I am going to cash out that account out and use it to buy my clothes for school. By the time I quit my job in the middle of June, I'll have about $500.

So what do I think I need? I plan on finding the following things:

+ Dress pants: I have never been comfortable in dress pants - they always fit wrong, are too short or too long, and always itchy. I would like to buy a pair of black pants and a pair of dark grey pants. I plan on purchasing them larger and longer and then have them tailored to be exactly what I want. Ideally I would like a pair for heels and a pair for flats - maybe I'll find a great deal on pants I really like and then be able to have both.

+ Skirts: Since I haven't worn many skirts (or really any), I don't really know what I'm looking for here. A black skirt that fits correctly is something I shouldn't be able to mess up too much so again I plan on finding one that either fits comfortably off the rack (doubtful) or find something that can be tailored to what I feel comfortable in. A printed version would be fun too. I did purchase this Banana Republic skirt a few weeks ago when it was on sale for $40, but I feel the certain color of blue and the pattern is kind of limiting (what do you do in the winter?) so I returned it. I did like the fit though so I will make sure to try on more skirts at Banana Republic 

+ Cardigans: I'm told our building is pretty chilly, so cardigans for easy layering will be necessary. I realized looking through my closet that I don't have many cardigans. I'd like a few solid colored cardigans that fit well and can easily be mixed and matched with different shirts and bottoms.

+ Printed Blouses: I have a few solid blouses but very few printed (besides my new awesome cat printed blouse). I think a few printed blouses will be easy to mix and match with the solid cardigans and won't be something I have to think a lot about in the morning.

+ Dresses: A few solid dresses that can either be worn alone (preferable with tee-shirt sleeves or long sleeves) or with cardigans/blazers will be something that will be great to have for the warm months and then later to be layered in the winter. I purchased this Gap dress (seen here) this week during the friends and family event - I think it'll be a staple that can go with many different cardigans/blazers.

+ Black Heels: I've mentioned this before, but I don't own any closed toed black heels, and I don't own any heels that I can wear for more than like 20 minutes. A pair with a stable heel (even though my mom hates the thicker heels!) that allows me to walk and be comfortable will be a must.

+ Nude Flats: Goes with everything! Especially with...

+ Tights: ugh. I'm hoping to find a few very thin pairs for the summer and then transition into sweater or fleece lined tights in the fall/winter. Any recommendations for a tall (5'9'') girl?

So. That's the plan. I don't really plan on purchasing many of these things right now unless I happen upon them (like the Gap dress). I will keep a running total in each month's budget recap for the items that are specifically purchased for school. I don't plan on spending all of this money before school starts but I do want a majority of them so I don't have to worry about it once all the studying starts. 

I'd love to hear if you've had to work with a similar dress code, and what ended up being staples for you.

I want to make smart purchases when buying these clothes, so there will be lots of trips to the mall and tailor to make sure I get exactly what I want. Is my search for these items something you guys care to hear about or would you rather just know the end result? I don't want to bore you about finding the perfect black heel...unless you're into it.

(P.S. You can see all of my medical school outfits here!)