Monday, March 12, 2012

Sartorial Suspects

Dressing up for work has been the norm for me since I started work. Even as fledgling students in medical school, we were strongly encouraged to dress the part. Long-sleeved shirts, ties and slacks, that makes up the usual sartorial suspects when it comes to our wardrobe essentials in the professional workplace.

Definitely no casual Fridays of sneakers and jeans for us doctors - lest our doubting patients start glancing sideways at us. Yes, we do have a semi-formal dress code of sorts.

So you can imagine what a relief it was for me to finally be free of such formal restrictions. With no keen-eyed superiors perpetually watching over your shoulder to see whether you've knotted that stuffy Windsor perfectly with the obligatory dimple, the standards of dressing tends to slip unforgivably.

David Gandy
Wait, am I a bit overdressed?

Till one day you catch yourself almost leaving for work in a scrubby graphic tee and frayed stonewashed jeans. Cue the hysterical screams. Horrors! Thank God for ever-present hallway mirrors!

So it's back to the shirt and tie combo again with a sterner resolve not to be mistaken as a dirty bedraggled hobo scrounging in the grimy backalleys. Much to the ongoing bewilderment of the locals here - such as Lanky Larry.

Larry : Such fine threads, are you going somewhere?
Paul : I'm heading to work.
Larry : So dressed up. Is there a special meeting?
Paul : No.
Larry : Maybe an important lunch? An interview?
Paul : No.
Larry : Why?
Paul : Just because? It's a dressy Monday.
Larry : And you're going to work?
Paul : Would you prefer I wear ragged shorts and a dirty singlet instead?

That wasn't the only flabbergasted reaction I'd be getting.

Of course I still got google-eyed stares of amazement from the local yokels since dressing down seems to be the prevailing fashion mode here. So in vogue, that nonchalant, unstudied look rummaged straight from the messy laundry basket with a strong emphasis on comfort and personal expression over presentation and uniformity.

Obviously a casual sartorial style that doesn't jive too well with my fussy tie and jacket, not to mention the occasional vest. Seriously for those who have a hopeless tendency to slouch, there can be no better cure than a well-cut vest.

Didn't their mama ever teach them it's always better to be overdressed?


Vincent~ said...

at my uni, we r not being limited to dress formally. Some even came in shorts during the very, very cold winter. Some docs wore jeans even. odd, but it makes the whole consultation process seems friendly and less stressful.

savante said...

Used to think the same as you, vincent. But after all this time, I realized that it's actually worth inculcating a certain standard of dressing at work. Say what you might but generally Asians would still look askance at a barefoot doctor in shorts.

soul232 said...

Yeah, I think it actually depend on where u are..if u are in asian country, might as well dress up or else rumour might start flying out of nowhere

Elsewhere, i dont think ppl really mind..heck, there even some who came to graduation day with short and t-shirt and put the robe on top =) hahahaha

GVP said...

At the moment, we are being provided a description of each rotation, outlining dress code and etc. I love getting dressed up, and appear neat, though ironing shirts is the bane of my life. I'm glad that most of the time I can hide un-ironed and slightly wriggly shirts underneath a lab coat instead.

Your friend asking you about dressing up really reminds me when I went out for a walk and grocery. You could tell the difference in the way people look at you. And I got bugged by beggars like crazy.

I was told that some students in Cornell wear nothing underneath their graduation gown during ceremony :)

savante said...

Perhaps I am turning into an old fogey but I think there should be at least some respect for ye olde convocation ceremony. At least appreciate the fact that the parents managed to scrape enough money to have you finish your education. Coming in shorts or even naked would be highly disrespectful.

Booker said...

I've been guilty of dressing down too. (Sigh)White jeans, black summery blouse and ballerina pumps, not exactly what the bar council prescribed.

Like you, I take the effort once in a blue blue moon to dress up.

Today, am in a very stiff necked shift dress, stockings!!!! heels and even a touch of make-up! everyone thinks I'm going for an important meeting... perhaps I SHOULD skive today, you know, to keep up appearances ;)

Little Dove said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Little Dove said...

little dove is in complete agreement with you doc savante. dressing up is a must for doctors practicing in Malaysia, expecially when you are in the private sector. image is everything!

p/s: i sense that you would make a good shopping buddy ;)