Lately, I've been on rotations with a lot of women, and I have been reminded that I have been subjected to the unfairness that is professional dress for too long. Please let me complain a little.
For men, it is clear: doctors and student doctors should wear dress shirts and ties, slacks, nice shoes. For the profession of medicine, professional attire required. I have bucked the trend as much as I could: no tie, sweaters, collarless shirts, all sorts of things to see what I could get away with. Depending on the rotation, even these days, sometimes I have to go in every day dressed to the nines.
But all through medical school, I had to suffer the 'professional' dress of women. And most women are good about dressing. I'm not trying to cast aspersions on all of womankind, just the ones that don't know how to dress well. All through medical school during clinicals, I met girls who considered sleeveless or strappy tops, blouses that were open to the midsternum, sheer or see-through blouses, tops that bared midriff, they considered this professional attire. This is to say nothing about miniskirts or tight skirts, tight or sheer pants, or any number of other professional attire atrocities.
One friend was complaining after rounds that one of her patients was hitting on her. Well, if some 20 something girl falling out of her blouse was bending over and showing the goods off every morning, who wouldn't hit on her?
I think this is probably my whole etiquette thing kicking into a very high gear, but I really believe that professional attire has everything to do with self-respect. Part of dressing the part of doctor is believing that you are a doctor. And that means looking respectable before your patients and colleagues.