Tie: YSL vintage/thrifted
Tiebar: vintage/flea market
Pants and loafers: Banana Republic
With my classmates being the oh-so-fashionable bunch, I decided to highlight the outfits they chose for clinic / OSCEs / days when they were just feeling on point. I hope this serves as some OOTD inspiration to other med students out there when you just don’t know what to wear!
Blouse: Calvin Klein
Shoes: Tory Burch
I spent this past Saturday at my alma mater for my fraternity’s Initiation Banquet. Not only was it relieving to take a break from memorizing some neuroanatomy and pharmacology, it was also a nice reminder of my first foray into menswear. Before pledging, I really had no business wearing a suit, but alas, the tenets of being a gentleman demanded otherwise. I learned a few things over the years, including what tweed was, how to tie a bow tie, and that pastel doesn’t have to be incorporated into every aspect of your wardrobe.
College style is interesting. For a lot of us, it’s the first time we really get to dress ourselves without our parents having to approve what we wear. That’s awesome for a night out or days when you just want to wear sweats to class, which are most days honestly. But what about those moments when you have to actually look decent? There are meetings with professors, career fairs with prospective employers, dates with people (real dates, dining halls don’t count), or just wanting to transition to a more mature style. How do you make yourself stand out?
As mentioned in my previous post, there are several key items that you’ll want to have in your closet, one of which is the khaki sport coat. It’s an awesome alternative to the classic navy blue blazer, which can get a little too boring and prep school. With a piece like this, you’ve got an excellent base on which to build a solid wardrobe. It’s figuratively and literally a blank canvas, so don’t be afraid to play around with color and pattern here.
- These are fun, and probably afford you the most freedom regarding how you want to wear your blazer. If you’re going somewhere casual, this look goes great with a pair boots, jeans (dark or distressed work fine), and even a vintage-style graphic tee. If you’re headed somewhere a little more formal, try upgrading your shoe to a nice loafer and your pants to slacks or dark jeans with a gingham shirt for added color and pattern. You might also want to try pair of colored chinos (wine/merlot colors play off the khaki very well here, just don’t spill actual wine on the jacket). Make sure to keep your shirt solid and accessories relatively sedated, let your go-to-hell pants do the talking.
Meeting with a professor
- Whether you’re looking to go to med school, grad school, or planning on directly entering into the workforce, letters of recommendation are vital. Start building relationships with your professors early and get noticed (a topic I’ll discuss in future advice posts). One way to do so is to dress like you mean it when you show up to class or office hours. While I’m not saying you need to go full suit-and-tie, this occasion might require an intermediate level of formality (let’s say you were interviewing for a research position or asking for a letter of recommendation), so the outfit should reflect that. Try my look above, dark pants with an oxford (repp tie optional, but awesome). The look is classically collegiate and put-together without being too stuffy. If you want to try something a little more bold, a turtleneck would be an unexpected yet welcome addition here. Try to keep the fabric thin so it doesn’t interfere with the silhouette or add unnecessary bulkiness.
Career fairs/research symposia/formal events
- These situations are the most formal of the three; you’ll be meeting potential employers or presenting in front of department heads, so you should take these the most seriously. Normally I’d recommend dressing more conservatively and wearing a navy suit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Depending on your industry, the nature of the event, or the pieces you pair with your blazer, you’ll stand out against a sea of blue and black if you can score a khaki suit. You can always wear the jacket as a separate! As always, fit is important; you don’t want to look like a boring beige blob. Additionally, use classic colors like blues and neutrals to help to ground your outfit and to provide contrast to the khaki. Feel free to try an accessory like a pocket square or a larger faced watch to keep your look interesting.
Bonus look (previously posted outfit for a dinner at school)
- Don’t be afraid to play around with your look, I’m wearing a blue shirt with white polka dots, a pocket square, and an air tie, you can too.
Until your next visit,
Now onto the other aspect of my blog that isn’t worrying about school: menswear and personal style. While I’m perfectly content in a pair of sweatpants (slim-fit joggers, mind you), there is something special about buttoning up a suit jacket or lacing up a pair of boots . As I mentioned previously, the white coat still needs some getting used to, but even that makes you feel different, more composed. You stand a little straighter, you hold your head up a little higher, you walk with a purpose (at least until a resident calls you a “shortcoat” which isn’t exactly a good thing). While I might feel uncomfortable in it now, I’m sure I’ll wear it like a second skin soon enough.
As for my layperson clothes, I’m on a strict grad student budget, so I try to get the most bang for my buck. On this site I hope to share my tips on dressing for certain occasions, secrets to snagging the best deals, and how to cultivate your overall personal style. I like to use style instead of fashion because I think it connotes a sense of personality and individuality that fashion does not. I admit, finding your own sense of style can be difficult. Barriers can come in the form of price, access, or general apprehension of trying something new. But if you follow a few simple rules, you too can put together a killer look that’s more than just the matching shirt/tie combo that comes from the same box. Here we go:
Rule 1 – Comfort
- In my opinion, the first rule of style is that there are no real “rules.” For example, “no white after labor day” is probably one of the most well-known, yet absurd fashion rules that we follow. It’s an outdated custom from the upper-crust elite that should have died when they did. Nowadays, it’s more acceptable to wear year-round. When I say comfort, I mean more than physical comfort, I mean comfort with yourself and how you look. Yes, a look may be very popular and trendy, but if it doesn’t feel right, don’t wear it. That’s not to say you shouldn’t experiment and push your boundaries, but it’s important to find what you think looks best on you and what makes you happy. Everything else is extra.
Rule 2 – Fit
- You might be wondering why I’m talking about fit when I just finished talking about being comfortable. Both are important, but fit is what elevates your outfit to the next level. It’s amazing what changes you can make to your look when you pay attention to how clothes drape your body. For men, that would be in your jacket, shirts, and trousers. Ideally, you don’t want to have a lot of billowing fabric around your waist, and this holds true even for some of the bigger guys. Just as in women’s fashion, the same holds true for menswear: hiding underneath a tent won’t make you seem smaller, you’ll only look bigger/sloppy/like you’re trying to hide. My personal style hero Dan Trepanier and his team at articlesofstyle put together some great guides for men of different body types, here’s one for the larger guys. I don’t plan on doing too many posts about dressing for your body type, but there is a lot of great information out there regarding that.
Rule 3 – Keep it simple
- Style isn’t always about being the loudest one in the room. Most of the time, it’s about putting your best face forward and tackling the world while looking and feeling good af. Style is about building confidence, and the best way to do that is to not let your clothes speak for you. My best advice regarding that is to start off with a few key staple pieces that you can build your wardrobe around. Here are a few that are in constant rotation in my closet:
- brown penny loafers and brown leather boots (and my trusty LL Bean boots)
- dark denim, black denim (your go-to pants)
- faded/vintage wash denim for the spring and summer
- oxford cloth button downs in white and blue
- a navy blazer, a lighter blazer (in gray or khaki)
- a casual crewneck sweatshirt, a cardigan, and a denim trucker jacket
And those are your three simple rules for being pretty. Now go ahead and show the world who’s boss, (student) doctor’s orders.