can i just take a moment to discuss fashion in the lab-workplace? or, more specifically, the lack thereof! with the exception of the 2 european women that work in my lab and one female graduate student that i can think of (besides myself), i have to say that the looks people sport on a daily basis would push clinton and stacey (from tlc’s what not to wear, of course) over the edge. in fact, i may nominate the whole lab to be on the show. the premise: how can people who are so smart dress so . . . not?
i’m not saying that i’m straight off the pages of vogue. i would like to be, of course, but obvious financial constraints prevent me from shopping anywhere really fabulous. to me, banana republic is as high-end as it gets, and i can only afford to shop there occasionally. i would much prefer nordstrom and saks and small boutiques, but they rarely (if ever) have sales that accomodate my budget, while banana does. so my lab-clothes are not that exciting, but they are acceptable: mainly jeans (well-fitting, boot-cut or somewhat flared, in tasteful, modern washes), tees or sweaters (again, well-fitting, not decades old, and in current styles), and either boots or cute sneakers.
yes, i look like a student. yes, i look young, though this is partially attributable to my (lack of) height. but this is much preferable to any of the following ensembles:
1. 40 year old midwesterner when you’re not: 25-year old female in light-wash, ill-fitting tapered jeans (where do you even get these!?), a gray sweatshirt with the name of a sports team or university, and dirty white sneakers.
2. where’s the beach, dude?: rather large 30-year old male in teva sandals, shorts that appear to be at least 10 years old, and a hawaiian shirt
3. i wish i were a retired millionaire: 50-year old male in very faded jeans, loafers without socks, and a tight, striped polo shirt
why, people? i know at least most of you have more money than i do. i realize that not everyone gets excited about fashion, but what you wear is part of how you present yourself. i wonder – could being around all of these people who clearly have no qualms about how they look be contagious? will i appear in lab 5 years from now wearing the middle-aged-midwestern ensemble? oh god. i am here and now making a vow never to lose touch with what the basic current styles/cuts are and a second vow never, ever to wear clothes that don’t fit well. i would bet that with a what not to wear-type intervention, my lab could look a million times better. as a result, everyone would then feel better about themselves, and productivity would increase! plus, maybe we would set off a fashion revolution in the scientific community (which sorely needs one).
maybe i should petition the PI for a $5000 clothing stipend. for the good of all. it just may result in a cure for diabetes.