Medical school is a challenging time in the life of any student. It’s a time where you are expected to grow up quickly and become independent, all while maintaining your high academic standards.
The first few years will be an adjustment for everyone, but it can be even more difficult if you don’t know what to expect. Medical school brings with it higher expectations and different challenges that need to be addressed as well.
One such challenge is figuring out how to dress appropriately for your medical school environment and set yourself apart from other students in the process.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of general guidelines (everything included med school backpacks) that will help you figure out what pieces work best together and tips on setting yourself apart from your peers without looking like you’re trying too hard.
What to Women Wear In Medical School
Women in medical school need to pay special attention to their choice of clothing due to the highly competitive nature of the school.
Professional-looking female students are often seen as both more intelligent and more poised than their peers, all while looking stylish and feminine.
However, women face an awkward challenge because men usually interpret a professional look to mean a formal one; this can take away from women’s ability to leave their own personal style in general instead of just in relation to fashion.
The key here is finding that balance between looking professional and still maintaining your individuality. While it may seem difficult at first, there are a few simple tips you can follow when getting ready for class or lab so that you don’t compromise on either front:
Wear a Top That Suits You:
This is the most important part of looking professional as a female student. A top that doesn’t fit you well will make it seem like you don’t care about your appearance at all, even if both the rest of your outfit and the rest of your day look great.
Make sure to try things on before purchasing them so you can ensure that they are flattering and comfortable. In the blog post of things you should buy before starting medical school I discussed about this topic deatilly
Coordinate Your Top With An Appropriate Bottom:
Bottoms should be slightly more casual than tops, but in any case, they shouldn’t go against what you’re wearing up top either (i.e., don’t wear shorts with a very formal blouse).
When deciding what kind of bottoms to wear with your shirt, choose something that’s a few shades darker than the top.
And make sure it matches or complements either the texture or color of your top (i.e., if you’re wearing a striped button-up blouse with skinny blue jeans, don’t wear brown boots or shoes).
Buy A Classic Pair of Shoes:
While there are plenty of expensive options out there, classic black pumps are timeless enough to be worn for years. They’re an investment piece that can be worn in any professional setting and still look as good as new after each class.
If you want to mix things up and add some color to your outfit without going overboard, consider buying a pair in a similar hue (for example, pink pumps go best with an outfit that doesn’t have a lot of other pinks in it).
Don’ts: Tighty whities, spaghetti straps, patterned leggings and skirts larger than knee length.
What to Men Wear In Medical School
Men are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to professional clothing. First is that there’s no clear definition for what looks professional for men; this is because there are so many different professions out there. In addition, men often find themselves trying to compete with other men who all dress professionally, which means they have to distinguish themselves from their peers. If you’re struggling to figure out how to look good yet still be one of the guys (or girls), here are a few guidelines to help you along:
If You’re A Guy, Ditch The Suit And Tie:
Most women in medical school will be wearing a skirt or dress in either a suit jacket or cardigan over it. While they can’t tell what’s underneath the clothes, most of them assume it’s something formal like pants and a shirt.
However, if you’re wearing the same, then there isn’t anything that separates you from the crowd. Instead, consider switching out your tie for some nicer button-up shirts and adding cowboy boots (or similar footwear) to give yourself a bit more personality without taking away from how professional you look.
Don’t go overboard, though- even if your waistline is smaller than other men’s at school, you can still suffer from muffin tops when you wear jeans that are too snug.
Always Wear Shoes That Match Your Face:
This is a rule for women as well, but it’s even more important for men here (so make sure those shoes are polished).
No matter if it’s a suit, khakis or button-downs and a blazer, the most important thing to remember is never to wear anything that detracts from your outfit.
If you have nice clothes but your hair isn’t combed or your shoes are scuffed, then the whole look won’t come together in a cohesive way. When getting ready for class or lab, don’t forget that accessories like belts and watches also count as being part of your “outfit.”
Don’ts: Socks with sandals, jewelry that doesn’t match anything else you’re wearing, or pants that hang off your butt.
For Both Genders…
Both men and women can benefit from dressing for their own bodies type. While it’s true that everybody is different.
Here are a few fashion tips specifically for the different types of bodies you will encounter, based on what parts their body is most tapered (i.e., Narrower shoulders with a wider waistline).
If You Have Wide Shoulders, Wear A Belt:
This will help define your smaller waist while still maintaining the look of a wide chest.
You will also want to make sure that you’re not wearing items that have large pockets; this can add bulk to your hips that may not be there.
If You Have A Smaller Bust, Wear Long Scarves:
Much like how you would wear belts, scarves are an easy way to define your waistline and draw attention to other parts of your body.
Colorful scarves also make it easy to add some personality to a professional outfit without having to worry about adding too much.
If You Have A Large Bust, Don’t Buy Clothes That Are Too Tight:
While it may be tempting to buy a bra that leaves little to the imagination, this will only make you look like you’re drowning in your clothes.
Try to find shirts that fit properly but have a little room in them; this will help define your waist without drawing attention away from your chest.
Buy A Backpack For Medical School:
How you carry your materials and supplies depends on what type of uniform you wear. If a backpack is suggested, then that’s the way to go; even if it’s just a minimalistic black leather backpack with only the necessities inside (i.e., laptop, textbooks, notebooks or binders).
A backpack ensures that everything you need in med school has a place to go, and while you may not use one at the start of your classes, they are indispensable once it comes time to study for exams.
Whew… that’s a lot to think about! But now that you have some better idea of what looks good and what doesn’t when it comes to professional attire, you’ll be able to take your wardrobe from bland to bold in no time.
With that being said, remember that clothes are a choice. You don’t have to wear what everyone else is wearing or necessarily what you think will be considered the season’s trendiest colors. Instead, go for something you feel confident in and can enjoy while still making a great first impression on all of your peers!
What are some of your tips for looking professional? Do you agree with anything I mentioned above or do the opposite? What’s worked out best for you over time? Sound off in the comments section!
Mandy is a veteran blogger who has been writing about outdoor fashion and gear for over ten years. She’s constantly on the lookout for new products to share with readers, and she rarely turns down an opportunity to check out what’s new in this growing field. Mandy loves being outdoors as much as possible, which is why she spends her free time sharing tips and tricks with other active people looking to improve their lifestyle.