Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What to Wear to Work: Young, Female- Scientist!

Reader question:

Dear Emily,

Thank you for the style tips on the website!  It is the best I came across on my research to new style.  Since few weeks I am trying to answer the question: how should I dress as a scientist?

What would you propose to a young female scientist working in the institute?  I run over hundreds of blogs, websites etc, but nowhere could I find the answer.  The standard jeans and sweater/jumper were my best choice for the University years, but now I really feel like change.

I would like people to know that I care about my appearance.  My work colleagues dress very casual, there is no formal dress code.  Emily, I hope you are able to answer my question and guide me towards the style, which would make me feel elegant with a bit of glamour, young (I'm 25) and comfortable at the same time.

Best regards,

Hi Kinga,

Thanks so much for your question!  This is a great question that I think a lot of professional women in intellectual, historically male-dominated fields can relate to.  If you work in academia some people feel that if you dress nicely you are somehow paying less attention to your work.  I think that's absurd, and I applaud your efforts to raise the bar and dress in a casual-professional manner that is respectful to your work and colleagues.  

To achieve a polished and professional work look that is still age appropriate and doesn't alienate your colleagues, I recommend mixing classic feminine basics like pencil skirts and tailored trousers with more casual staples like a long sleeve tee (shown above), thin-knit sweaters and blouses.  I imagine heels wouldn't be practical if you're in the lab most or all of the day, so I'd suggest a stylish pair of kitten-heels or pointed-toe flats.  If you wear a flat shoe, look for one with some structure and style, to give a bit more professionalism to your look.  

Add some fun and personality to your look with stylish touches like a ribbon belt, a pretty necklace, or an animal print shoe.  This will create an elegant, yet stylish and appropriate look that I'm sure will be a hit at work.  Best of luck to you, and congratulations for representing more women in science!