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Clothes budget – Status and responsibility vs. Frugal living: Where is the balance

Home Personal Finance and Budgeting Clothes budget – Status and responsibility vs. Frugal living: Where is the balance

  • Avatar billy 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 162
    Joined: 04/07/2016

    You’re overthinking this. Especially as a proceduralist who will likely not be seeing the same pts every week/month.  Get a few good quality shirts and pants that fit and will last you a long time.  Honestly no pt cares if you wear a suit and tie vs a button down vs scrubs and a white coat as long as you aren’t messy.  They will care most about your personality, empathy, and skills (once you get the reputation)-unfortunately those can’t be bought off of some sales rack.   One of the most respected surgeons in my current place sees his patients in preop while wearing rock band t-shirts and jeans- yet his schedule is full and patients consistently refer him to their family and friends.

    #220307 Reply
    ACN ACN 
    Moderator
    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 01/08/2016

    I wear hospital scrubs in two of my office days. Occasionally I’ll dress up once a week with a button down and khakis.

    I don’t think people really care about my dress code.. They care about your besdside manner and outcomes.

    Our busiest and most successful surgeon never dresses up… 3 month wait times to get in for new patients.

    If you're ever having a bad day, just remember in 1976 Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple for $2,300.

    #220315 Reply
    Liked by mero1984, Peds
    Avatar afan 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 88
    Joined: 05/07/2017

    Since you have not started at the new job, your first task is to figure out the informal dress code for docs at your place. See how the other younger attendings in your field dress and plan to look like them. This cuts the range of options from scrubs to suits down the range among your future peers.
    In general, academic northeast is relatively conservative and formal in dress. You still need to match your clothing to the very local appearance typical of those in your field at your hospital.

    Since you are asking, I don’t get the impression that you much care otherwise. Some people are clothes enthusiasts and will always go for being “well dressed.” The precise meaning of that is an individual decision. Some want to be formal. Others refuse to put on a suit. That is personal. You need to figure out where you stand.

    If you think you need to project authority and experience, being young and brand new, then somewhat more formal can help.

    Sources: thrift shops and ebay for most things. Definitely for the types of clothes that last for years- suits, dress pants, ties, shoes and so forth. The cost difference vs new is enormous. You will pay 10-20% of the price of new.

    Shirts from these sources are used and may wear out more quickly. They are so much cheaper than new on sale that it may be worth it.

    Nylon and polyester for underwear. Buy new, they are cheap and last forever.

    #220322 Reply
    Avatar jacoavlu 
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    Splash Refinancing Bonus

    scrubs at work and never away from work, casual between home and work

    I keep socks in my office since warmer months I wear sandals in to work

    The Finance Buff's solo 401k contribution spreadsheet: https://goo.gl/6cZKVA

    #220326 Reply
    Liked by mero1984, Zaphod
    MPMD MPMD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 05/01/2017

    I am happy and somewhat surprised that this didn’t devolve into a contest to see who could claim to wear the worst things to work!

    I think the OP is a guy?

    If so it’s super easy as others have said. If you have 10 nice wrinkle free shirts, about 4 pairs of pants (black, grey, blue, khaki), and 2 nice pairs of shoes (brown, black) you can pretty much wear a different outfit every day for a month or more. Don’t underestimate a personal look either — there are plenty of guys I know who work in biz casual environments that are pretty much blue shirt/dark pants kind of guys.

    I think you only get into trouble when you start wearing things that are wrinkled, dirty, or very ill-fitting.

    #220333 Reply
    Avatar Anne 
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    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 11/07/2017

    Haha, well, I am a proceduralist, so 3/5 days ill be doing procedures, i gotta find the budget for 1 day of clinic and 1 day of research time

    I may be overthinking this as ENT Doc eloquently suggested!

    Click to expand…

    I’m assuming you’re wearing scrubs for the procedures.  Wear what you want for research time.  Have a suit that fits well and makes you feel awesome for presentations/important meetings.

    If you only have one day of clinic/week, you really only need 2 decent outfits.  Choose something that makes you feel like you fit in (some people can pull off being underdressed in an overdressed environment, you may not be one of them yet–you need the invisible robe of swagger and confidence).  And choose clothes that are comfortable and that you won’t be too upset if you have to trash if you have a particularly grody day in clinic (who else here has been thrown up on or had to get down on the ground outside to help someone who passed out?)

    For me, I often have to squat down, help people transfer, check wounds, etc., so my priorities are comfort and being able to machine  wash in at least warm water.  Dry clean only is a definite no for me for work.  I don’t really like wearing scrubs to clinic and finding office appropriate comfortable machine washable clothes for women can be difficult so when I find something that works I stock up in multiples.  I don’t budget but I also only shop when I have to.  Now if we are talking about exercise/travel/hiking clothes, that’s another ballgame.  I will spend more on those because I think you actually get what you pay for.

    I agree, patients don’t care what you wear as long as you are clean and presentable.  They care about how you make them feel.  Other people in the hospital might judge you based on what you wear.  You have to decide if you care about that (I recommend not caring 😉)

    #220336 Reply
    CM CM 
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    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1168
    Joined: 01/14/2017
    Nylon and polyester for underwear.

    Click to expand…

    Tried that once. It’s cotton for me.

    Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried bags for Cyd Charisse (gracious). Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

    #220337 Reply
    Avatar octopus85 
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    Status: Resident
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    Joined: 08/13/2017

    When I was a resident I would hit up the Macy’s sales. Now I hit up the Nordstrom’s sales. I tend to get a couple years out of shirts before I start to blow out the elbows (no idea why?)

    Click to expand…

    Google “broker’s elbow”

    It’s possible you have thick forearms and your shirts are too tight there. I used to have this problem, but I order custom shirts from Proper Cloth – I added another pleat at the wrist to add a little more fabric to the forearm area and haven’t had that problem, since. Alternatively, your cuffs may be too tight.

    #220341 Reply
    Liked by childay
    Avatar octopus85 
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    Status: Resident
    Posts: 229
    Joined: 08/13/2017

    How clothes fit is much more important than brands, etc. And there is a huge difference between clothes that fit you, and clothes that fit over you.

    So buy a few nice outfits and have them tailored. You don’t need much. Can you remember what outfit a colleague was wearing yesterday? Of course not – so they won’t remember if you’re rotating through the same 4 outfits, either.

    #220343 Reply
    Vagabond MD Vagabond MD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 3473
    Joined: 01/21/2016

    I’m a former clothes horse who lost interest over time. I agree with most posters above: simple, clean, well-fitted. No need to spend a lot.

    I wear these: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/nordstrom-mens-shop-classic-smartcare-supima-cotton-pleated-trousers/4220835?origin=category-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FMen%2FClothing%2FPants%2FDress&color=grey%20shade

    They are available in flat front or pleated. They’re durable and versatile and inexpensive. I have similar pants from a custom clothier (at almost 4 times the cost), but I prefer these. Go figure.

    Click to expand…

    I am with CM, former clothes horse, and am now 100% about comfort and function. Sometimes it is pricey (wool underwear) and sometimes cheap (my 20+ year old shirt that I have had to twice sew up holes). Fortunately, I have not changed much in size over the years, so I rarely have to replace things.

    "Wealth is the slave of the wise man and the master of the fool.” -Seneca the Younger

    #220345 Reply
    MPMD MPMD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2493
    Joined: 05/01/2017

    I’m a former clothes horse who lost interest over time. I agree with most posters above: simple, clean, well-fitted. No need to spend a lot.

    I wear these: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/nordstrom-mens-shop-classic-smartcare-supima-cotton-pleated-trousers/4220835?origin=category-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FMen%2FClothing%2FPants%2FDress&color=grey%20shade

    They are available in flat front or pleated. They’re durable and versatile and inexpensive. I have similar pants from a custom clothier (at almost 4 times the cost), but I prefer these. Go figure.

    Click to expand…

    I am with CM, former clothes horse, and am now 100% about comfort and function. Sometimes it is pricey (wool underwear) and sometimes cheap (my 20+ year old shirt that I have had to twice sew up holes). Fortunately, I have not changed much in size over the years, so I rarely have to replace things.

    Click to expand…

    That brings up a bit of Mustachian wisdom about clothing: if you’re in shape everything looks good or at least better.

     

    Avatar StateOfMyHead 
    Participant
    Status: Advanced Practice Provider
    Posts: 143
    Joined: 01/01/2019

    I wear suits to the office and slacks/khakis with shirts under lab coat at the hospital because its fairly comfortable and I perceive this as looking well groomed and professional. At home I live in sweats and the aforementioned old rock tee’s and jeans. My work clothes/suits come from Banana Republic Outlet and they generally run true to size. I usually purchase them online when they have 50% off sales. Although they don’t seem to be as well made as the non-outlet store they are attractive and reasonably priced. I’d estimate I spent $2,000 a year for the first 2 years. I keep about 7 warm and 7 cool weather suits in the rotation along with 5 pants and maybe 10 shirts. My work clothes seem to last about 3-4 seasons. If I find something I really like I will purchase 2 for the time when the original is looking worn. My current yearly budget for suits, shirts, khaki type pants and shoes is probably $1,500.

    #220423 Reply
    Liked by mero1984
    Jaqen Haghar, MD Jaqen Haghar, MD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 199
    Joined: 07/27/2017

    You should be “well groomed” and wear something decent looking and well fitting that makes you look professional and adult-like.  The exact details of this style of presentation are as variable as the individual and situation.

    I see a lot of residents that put a lot of effort into looking like they don’t put a lot of effort in.  I was more like this once, too.  The patients and other physicians have less confidence in them when they look disheveled and teen-like.

    Try different ways of presenting yourself and note the reactions.  If you pay attention you can sometimes see the different responses you get.   Over time you’ll find what you are most comfortable in while still being respectable.

     

     

    #220453 Reply
    Liked by StateOfMyHead
    Zaphod Zaphod 
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    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
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    Joined: 01/12/2016

    Haha, well, I am a proceduralist, so 3/5 days ill be doing procedures, i gotta find the budget for 1 day of clinic and 1 day of research time 😀

    I may be overthinking this as ENT Doc eloquently suggested!

    Click to expand…

    Scrubs dont work? I am plastics and only wear scrubs. It doesnt matter. Maybe if you’re in some fancy joint in the NE that is strict about it, but no, its not a thing. People will tell you it matters but its not the top 10 things that make a difference outside of how it fits into my “thresholds” view on these things.

    As long as you approach any level of what people associate with a doctor you’re fine, that is the threshold. Scrubs, slacks, tie, etc…fine. Board shorts, burlap sack, super fancy rapper type clothes, etc…all below/above threshold and will invite questions into your character and everything else. As long as you’re in the sweet spot people will only judge you on other things. You can extend this all around, pretty helpful.

    #220527 Reply
    Liked by wideopenspaces, CM
    Lordosis Lordosis 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1832
    Joined: 02/11/2019

    I went to JCP and tried on wrinkle resistant pants until I found a pair that fit well and looked good. Searched it on Amazon and they were only $25 ($40 in the store) ordered 4 sets. Did the same with shirts except I got a few more.
    I hate shopping and will do this every few years as the shirts wear out.
    I have had the same shoes for 15 years. I found a cobbler to change out the heels and soon they will need the soles. I polish them and they are as good as new.
    I have one nice suit and nicer shoes to go with it.
    At home I just wear polo shirts and I have way to many.
    I could care less about my appearance but my wife tells me when I do not match or wear the same shirt 2 days in a row. I would wear the same thing every day like a cartoon character if she let me. Clean of course.

    “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”

    #220536 Reply

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