Friday, July 31, 2009

Cryptic clothing requirements

I have a scientific mind. I glory in recognizing interesting ecological phenomenon. I revel in the physics observable in daily life. I unfailingly point out the difference between correlation and causation. I believe in randomization and embrace entropy in all experiences. But I am utterly ignorant about being fashionable. For me the most difficult part of preparing for a presentation, conference, or business meeting is packing clothing.

It is so much simpler to choose clothes for field work. It's all about the utility of the clothes not how the clothes represent you. Dressing to prevent sweating during high physical activity in freezing weather, no problem. Need to dress to prevent heat strain and protect against insect bites while collecting data in a swamp, I know how to dress for that success! But what the bloody hell does "business casual attire" mean? or "dressy casual"? There should be an illustrated guide book for graduate students clothing that I can take with me to the store to help me choose clothes. I can never tell if the outfit I'm trying on is trendy and cute or absolutely ghastly. I think most fashion trends must teeter on the edge of ghastly. What I need is a store without fashion trends. Just very basic shapes and colors that an apparel guide book could catalog and direct the dumbfounded grad student through. And oh, don't get me started on picking out a hair cut....


Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

I'm so there with you. Dr. Man and I attended a black tie optional wedding reception a few weeks ago and that was awful trying to figure out what to wear. What do you wear? Do you really need to by an evening gown? Or can you get away with just a pretty dress? Sigh. Let me know if you find such a store or illustrated guide.

Michael said...

The solution is your dear gay friend. I could totally pick you out some business casual wear for a female conference-goer. Generally, I think slacks and a button-down are equally appropriate for men or women. They're comfortable and easy to mix-and-match and you can wear them other places than just conferences. In the late fall/winter/early spring you can add a light or heavy sweater or sweater vest as appropriate. Ta-da!

One note about the button-down shirt for ladies. They generally come in 2 styles: 1) the bottom is cut just like men's dress shirts, slight scoop on the sides, longer in front/back, intended to be tucked in. 2) Bottom is really too short to be tucked in and is generally scalloped/scooped/rounded/fitted to settle nicely mid-hip. Leaving #1 untucked can be tacky, tucking in #2 can be disastrous.

You're welcome. ;-)

MistressofScience said...

Hey Michael, thanks for the tucking un-tucking tip! I was actually wondering about that last week. I'm glad the dress shirt slacks is appropriate I always seem to end up with that combination. I've been afraid it was to manly, for women. I always feel like I should wear a skirt and never do.

Though I will most likely never wear a skirt to a conference, interview, or business meeting I do have a question about skirt length. I like skirts that come a few inches below the knee or mid shin and they seem appropriate, but what about ankle length skirts? Is that a professional appearing length? I can never tell.

Shawn Machia said...

Dear Mistress,

I randomly happened upon your blog "bird porn" you posted last year. Hilarious. I left a comment for ya.


Shawn Machia said...

You're fun to read. I read some of your blogs in the "atheists" and "religion" labels. Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2008, your blog about Atheism and thoughts from childhood.