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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

  • IntensiveCareBear IntensiveCareBear 
    Spectator
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 235
    Joined: 12/22/2018

    Never a white coat. You shouldnt need anything other than the basic premise to sell it. …

    … I dont know of any docs that went out of business for not wearing white coats, suits, or anything else previously mentioned. Some of the most prolific plastic surgeons, private cosmetic guys span the spectrum from scrubs only and always to fancy suits, etc…they are all busier than they have time for…

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    Well, just consider what nearly any successful doc or practice has docs wearing in their website photos, marketing info, hospital badge pic, hospital website pics and videos, Google page pics, important meetings, CME talks, etc. It is nearly always white coat and/or suit and tie for those pictures and videos. There is a good reason for that. They are trying to thrive and grow by appearing as professional and competent as possible… not merely trying to avoid going out of business. If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking.

    Along with good grooming and posture and mannerisms, good dress sets you apart and instills confidence in pts, staff, and doc themselves… Jaqen hit on those reasons above. The coat’s still a tool that has its place for every doc, even if it’s only occasional… mainly since it’s a lot cheaper and more practical versus a suit. White coats are as cheap and good of dress piece as most docs can ever find to help them look the part.

    Whether you choose to wear a white coat day-to-day is always personal pref… like I said, it’s less important for small to medium private office where everyone (pts and staff) obviously knows who the docs are. I find white coat especially helpful in large or fairly anonymous group situations (hospital unit, large group or multi-spec office, Urgent Care or ER, charity clinic, etc). GL

    When the man is at home, his standing in society is well known and quietly taken; but when he is abroad, it is problematical, and is dependent on the success of his manners.”

    "Hmm, that sounds risky." - motto of the middle class

    #221272 Reply
    Avatar hightower 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1485
    Joined: 12/07/2016

    So now, that I am finishing training and moving to become an attending, I am focusing more on my credibility as a doctor in the social system that we have.
    Although Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg can get away with their minimal and simplistic approach to clothing and appearance, my observation that doctors will not be able to get away with the same if they are to appear “authoritative and trustworthy” for patients during rounds, clinic visits, etc.

    In this context, what is a reasonable budget for clothes that one should consider seasonally or yearly? how can one budget such an aspect taking in context a focus to live below one means as well as being minimalistic.

    I am trying to live a life of minimalism as I have read it is a source of inner peace and financial growth, without appearing to be cheap in my work environment or with patients.

    A budget and plan for one’s wardrobe are therefore crucial in my mind (I realize this may be different between men and women (i am a man), but hope to hear an opinion from both genders!)

     

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    I am SO glad I can get away with wearing scrubs everyday as a hospitalist.  If I’m not wearing scrubs at work, I’m wearing pajamas at home.  I have some casual clothes I wear when I leave the house on my days off and I have exactly one “nice” outfit to wear to weddings and funerals and the like.  My clothes budget is essentially $0 per year.  Usually any new clothes I get come in the form of a birthday or Christmas present from someone else, haha.
    I do genuinely wish I had the time/brain power to spend time thinking about my looks and worrying about what to wear.  But, I’d have to quit my career to accomplish that.

    #221309 Reply
    Liked by childay
    Avatar hightower 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1485
    Joined: 12/07/2016

    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.

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    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.

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

     

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    It’s true that being in shape makes it easier, but you can still dress pretty darn bad even if you’re in great shape. And a well dressed fat person could even look better than you if you’re bad enough at dressing yourself.  My sister in law in NYC works in the fashion industry and is always preaching about this stuff.

    Spend a week in London walking around the city and pay attention to how everyone is dressed.  You’ll learn a lot.  I was blown away by how well dressed everyone is there.  American’s are slobs in comparison.

    #221316 Reply
    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2844
    Joined: 01/03/2017

    I’m glad I’m not in a specialty that has to “dress up”. I’ll also be glad when the world understands the utter lack of importance/utility of a white coat. We’re getting closer, though. Fortunately, most of my patients only care about the “doctor/physician” title on my name tag. Besides, a not small number of my patients won’t even remember who I am or what I did.

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    #221325 Reply
    Zaphod Zaphod 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 6186
    Joined: 01/12/2016
    Well, just consider what nearly any successful doc or practice has docs wearing in their website photos, marketing info, hospital badge pic, hospital website pics and videos, Google page pics, important meetings, CME talks, etc. It is nearly always white coat and/or suit and tie for those pictures and videos. There is a good reason for that.

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    The reason is the same as why we did bloodletting and such, tradition and everyone does it, why dont we throw in the stethoscope around the neck which almost no one does thank god. Has no bearing on reality. Its also variance punishment, do an ad without it (and I’ve seen tons with only scrubs so its not uniform) and it does poorly and your peers wouldnt have maybe you lose a client.

    In a hospital group now. No one in my group owns a white coat, we all wear scrubs. If it mattered, there should be some data that showed it made a difference. Consults, sign ups surveys, etc…it wont show up because of all the things that do matter, its the least important. If it doesnt change the bottom line than there is simply no real reason to do so if one doesnt want to.

    It makes sense when you think about it. For a doc and a pt, there are far more pressing things than yes/no white coat. Do you listen and connect, do they feel taken care of, etc….are you even marginally good, etc…those all trump clothes by such measures as to make them imperceptible. Being a rude doc and dressing nice is going to come off worse than being just unmemorable. Your first job is being a good doctor and professional, do that and little else matters.

    If you want to wear a white coat, go for it, thats what you want. But lets not pretend it has any value or use. If it did, it would and we should be able to see the impact…and we dont. I do plenty of things in life that dont make a difference on some evidence level, but thats what I like. No big deal.

    I’ll also be glad when the world understands the utter lack of importance/utility of a white coat.

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    I think they do, it seems some doctors are the ones hanging on.

    #221371 Reply

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