Tablespoon Thursday: You Don't Have to Trade Your Sense of Style for a Stethoscope

Meet Samara!

Samara is one of my classmates with a very warm personality; someone I can approach when I have queries or am in need of clarification of something during my studies or simply want to know the name of her polish. From our first year of medical school I always admired the simplicity and modesty of her style and how she seemed to effortlessly piece items together to create an overall classy and comfortable look for classes or even a night of studying at the library. 

At our University, there are no regulations in place regarding mandatory professional dress for classes. As such, most of my classmates tend to dress down for lectures with the exception of a few persons. Samara being one of the exceptions. 

When I decided to start featuring my colleagues on my blog, I was more than thrilled when I threw the thought out there for her to be featured to discuss her fashion sense and how she managed to remain the well-dressed 'doctor-in-training' for the last two and a half years despite the lack of a strict dress code. 

I hope you enjoy this feature for the month of November. 

Hi Samara, tell us something about your outfit. 

I honestly really love stripes, so I always gravitate towards them when I'm shopping; plus the skirt has pockets! I also like to balance tighter pieces like the skirt with looser ones like my blouse because it balances the outfit and also makes me more comfortable. 

The pieces I chose for this outfit consist of my: 
  1. Embroidered shirt from: Old Navy
  2. Striped Skirt from: Macy's (Tommy Hilfiger)
  3. Shoes: a local store in Trinidad that can be found in Gulf City Mall or Lowlands Tobago.
  4. Necklace:
  5. Earrings: from the Upmarket in Trinidad and Tobago, which is a local pop up, movable market that allows local craft/art vendors the opportunity to sell their goods. It's as if Etsy showed up in Trinidad for a weekend. 
  6. Nail polish: Revlon's Color Stay Gel Envy Nail Enamel in 'Checkmate' which can be purchased locally at any SuperPharm branch.
  7. Bracelets: the beaded ones I made myself and the silver charm bracelet is from Pandora. 

How do you manage to dress so nicely, when there seems to rarely be any time for oneself as a third year medical student? 

This year I started laying my clothes out the night before. Doing this allows me to put more thought into what I will wear, as I like to contemplate and plan what I will wear, and it also makes getting ready the next morning easier by reducing the amount of time I spend on planning an outfit. 

Do you believe that the clothes you wear may have an impact on your interactions with others? Explain. 

Yes it does. There's this idea that when you put more care and thought into your attire, you feel more confident. I also believe that even if my outfit isn't 'spectacular', just being comfortable in my clothes, affords me the opportunity to be comfortable around my peers and others as I am not constantly fixing my outfit or worrying about it. 

When choosing an outfit what are some things you consider? 

When I'm buying clothes, it either has to be something classic that can be worn with anything, or I need to be able to think of multiple ways it can be worn as I am trying the item on. By doing this, it ensures that my clothes are cohesive and everything can be used in at least two separate outfits, which makes life easier when I am planning and putting pieces together. 

When choosing an outfit for the day I always consider what I will be doing, for example if I am going to stay back to study at the library, I'll wear something that is very comfortable. The weather also influences what I will choose to wear, if it is rainy, I'll wear shoes that can get wet for instance. Overall, I'll pick things  that I 'have' to wear first, and then build my outfit from there. The same goes for my makeup too; if it's really hot or if I'm staying late I'll wear little to no makeup. 

Are there any tips that you can give to other medical students or students in general who are looking to improve their attire for lectures, library study sessions, skills lab or clerkship(s)? 

I think the best thing to do is to put your clothes out the night before. It just saves so much time and you'll be happier with your outfit if you chose it when you are not rushed. 

Dresses always make you look as though a lot of thought went into your outfit; so when I am rushed, I always pull one on. I also have an algorithm of sorts for what I'm picking, and then I'll just add things on top of it such as earrings or a necklace. For example, for Skills (which is a small class session where we are taught physical examination and history taking techniques which has a professional dress code), I almost always wear slacks and a blouse and then I'll pick different shoes or I'll put on eyeliner or something to make it different. 

Also, at the end of the day, be sure to wear what makes YOU happy! I'm not going to spend an entire day in something I hate. And why should we have to?

Do you agree with the statement "how someone feels and how someone dresses is connected?"

I think for me it is at least partly true. 

I wear clothes that I really love and that makes ME happy. Wearing something I genuinely like helps me look forward to school a bit more and just makes me feel more confident.

So there you have it! What do you think? Do you agree with some of Samara's advice? Do you have any tips to share on ways to improve your attire in medical school? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

All photos were taken by me at The University of The West Indies, Medical Science Complex, Mt. Hope Trinidad and Tobago. All clothing items were Samara's personal pieces and not given or selected as a review for any third party.

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