It's hard to be a good liberal and be so obsessed with ... things. Believe me, I'm not asking for sympathy; I actually love this part of myself. I have a good asthetic and I am damned proud of it. However, it disturbs me how much of my time is taken up by my more materialistic impulses. My time AND my money. I should probably be more disturbed by the money part--but I am going to suppress that notion. (Mature defense mechanism!)
Of late, Pinterest has taken up a large amount of my 'Internet time' (read: time I spend waste on the interwebs). [Side note: Why does Internet get to be/have to be capitalized? Is it a proper noun? Isn't it just a regular noun? Just curious.] I love Pinterest. I love it so hard. For those non-pinners among us, Pinterest is essentially a website that allows you to 'collect' all of your favorite internet finds digitally--it's like a cork board for the electronically inclined. Previously, I had a very full bookmark folder, now I have an entire website devoted to pleasing my eyeballs with my favorite looks/clothes/shoes/hair/makeup/digital art/etc.! Best part: I can kind of see it all on one page.
Theoretically, Pinterest is probably really good news for those who actually work in the fields I spend so much time obsessing over (beauticians, fashion editors, buyers, whathaveyou). For the plebians among us, though, Pinterest really only serves to exacerbate our obsessions. For instance: last weekend I was in Montreal and saw this gauzy, aqua, polka dot, short-cut tank top. It's one of those things that I can't wear to work (apprx half of my closet... or more), and it certainly can't be worn without a tank underneath (it's see-through). And yet, all I could think was, 'omg I bet I could make such a punky-cute kick-ass Pinterest-y outfit out of this!' And so I bought it. Thank god it was $10 and from Forever21, but you can see how this sort of thing could get out of hand.
I spend a lot of time wanting to apologize for my habits--repent for my excessive spending on fashiony items. (Did I need that fang necklace? How many items in my closet still have tags on them?) It really does get out of hand from time to time. However, staying on top of these trends and maintaining my individuality is one of the few things that helps me to maintain my sanity in the ever-exhausting medical school sea. It is REALLY hard to be a fashion-mag reader when you work in medicine (this goes for docs, nurses, anyone). Medicine is just NOT fashion friendly. Let me tell you why--and my favorite go-arounds.
- That terrible footwear for which we are so well known. 'le barf! Danskos are a sin that can not be repented for, yet one for which we all eventually fall (in some way or another). Turns out 16 hour shifts are much more pleasant with proper arch support/comfy shoes. So forgive us. However, there are some better options. I have discovered that most of the time you really need to be wearing the more hideous variety of shoes you also need to be wearing scrubs--meaning that it doesn't matter if the shoes match your outfit. So--your best best is to have fun. Get a weird pattern, something bright or sparkly. You won't regret it. And when everyone around you is draped in drab medical blues and pukey greens, you can steal a look at your shoes and remind yourself that you like to have fun.
- Scrubs. I actually think scrubs can be really cute. Sure, you look like a medical drone (and let's be real, you are), but I like to think of my scrubs as an easy blank canvas. You will never find me without cute earrings and a necklace, and generally my hair in a nice top knot. It's easy to look as drab as the scrubs make you feel, but it's not to hard to jazz yourself up. See above comments about shoes to complete your look.
- "Is this profesh?" I end up waking up my boo at least once a week to ask her opinion on my outfit. I see the world a little differently. Most outfits that I find professional probably wouldn't cut it at the hospital. I have to intentionally tone down my looks in order to avoid getting looks. I ask Jess because she typically dresses a bit more appropriately than I do. (I mean, who has leather leggings, right?) Generally, Jess is pretty good about telling me if a dress is too short or a shirt is cut too low or too tightly. I don't like to stretch the dress code (too far?) because I am already a walking target--I have a loud mouth and a proclivity for tattoos.
- Stand your ground. When someone asks you about something you are wearing, chances are it's just because it's different. For instance, late in December I wore this really sweet green dress with opaque black tights and red cowgirl boots. I was kind of intentionally clashy. It was one of those 'Is this profesh?' kind of mornings. I wanted to get in the holiday spirit, but have fun with it. There was nothing risque about my outfit. The dress went down to my knees, my tights were opaque, and the cowgirl boots barely have a heel. It just didn't fit in the 'typical' doctor wardrobe. I received several compliments on my boots and several... comments. "Oh, cowgirl boots." I get your not-so-hidden message, medical establishment: you aren't ready for a shake up. Well, sorry. This is nothing objectively unprofessional going on. My general tack was to say, 'Yes! Cowgirl boots! I got them at a ranch in Oregon,' and leave it at that. No point in starting an argument, because we clearly aren't coming from the same planet.
We have a long way to go, us doctor folk, toward looking more human. I really feel like taking steps toward more interesting clothes might help our patients feel more comfortable. Maybe if every doctor weren't wearing gray pants and a white button down we would seem more human. Anyway... I could go on for days, but I'll spare you. Just my two-cents on looking cute.