It is commonly thought that ‘fashion’ and ‘style’ are synonymous. And that’s just not the case. Clothing, jewelry, shoes, etc., can come in and out of fashion; to simply be fashionable is fleeting. Instead, I’ve always focused on cultivating a personal style that incorporates the latest fashions. True style isn’t a slave to the latest trends.
Personal style celebrates your independence of mind and unique point of view and is your very first impression to the world. An impression that conveys more that just vanity or frivolity, but professionalism and pride in oneself and their peers. A notion shared by Danielle Belardo, a fourth year medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. Danielle spends her days alternatively in scrubs or in a white lab coat and as a girl who loves fashion, she is determined to bring her personal style to the (examination) table.
Danielle and her fellow fourth year medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine, Vanessa Fabrizio, joined me in the city to bring some sartorial inspiration to their traditional medical uniforms.
Scrubs are the most challenging, however, it’s all about the right accessories and color is one of the easiest ways to bring some personal touches to this hospital basic. Danielle’s favorite way of incorporating color is through her footwear, “Patients always comment on my bright sneakers. I love that a simple accessory can put a smile on their face”. Even simply adding bright laces to a more neutral shoe can add a bit of unexpected color.
Ladies, when it comes to your hair, don’t view it as a hindrance. View your hair as an opportunity! Vanessa finds that braids are fantastic options that are simultaneously practical and visually interesting. For example, adding a braid to your everyday look can create a not-so-average-pony. Braids will also last through long shifts and keep bangs or pesky layers out of your face. To add some color to Vanessa’s fishtail braid we opted for an orange tie instead of a neutral tie. For Danielle, I created a simple twist following her hairline.As a professional, you want to put your best face forward and when it comes to your beauty routine remember to stick with the basics. Make sure to keep your skin looking its best by adhering to a regular skincare regimen. Healthy, happy skin requires less makeup, especially foundation and concealer. As a makeup artist, makeup that looks great for hours isn’t about caking on as much as possible to “last” throughout the day, it’s about using the right products in the right places.
For both Danielle and Vanessa, I used a small amount of foundation best suited to each of their skin types only in the most necessary areas. The goal for their makeup was to keep them looking fresh, well-rested, polished, and professional. My favorite trick for making eyes appear more awake is making your eyelashes the focal point. If they need to be curled, do not skip this step, it is crucial! Look for mascaras that are long-wearing or flake-free, if your mascara smudges or flakes throughout the day that darkness could be mistaken for dark circles under your eyes. Also using a light eyeshadow to highlight the inner corners of your eyes and along your browbone reflects light and draws attention the shape of your eye. For a bit of color on your cheeks and lips that will keep you glowing throughout your shift, try a duo lip & cheek stain.
Though most of the time, Danielle and Vanessa wear white coats over their professional attire, these stylish med students have found that infusing their work wardrobe with their own personal touches, does not go unnoticed by both patients and supervisors alike. In fact, a large study done at the Medical University of South Carolina showed that patients were more likely to trust and have confidence in their physicians who made an effort in their appearance, preferring physicians who were more “dressed up” (76.3%) versus physicians in casual wear (4.7%).
In the above photo, Danielle and Vanessa chose ensembles that illustrate their personal styles and how to transition outfits suitable for the hospital to a look that works for a casual cup of coffee with friends or running errands. Vanessa chose printed pants, classic ballet flats, and a brightly colored cardigan to show her self-proclaimed “preppy” style. “I find it easy to incorporate my classic and preppy style into an appropriate hospital wardrobe. My style reflects professionalism while also being fun and current” Vanessa explains. Don’t be afraid to bring color to your professional environment. It can be easy to get lost in a sea of grays, blues, and black. Just make sure the item is a proper length, fit, and fabric for a professional setting and you’ll be sure to beak up the monotony!
Danielle opts for pieces that are distinct and likes to blend in current trends. She chose a striped skirt as the focus of her look and added a sheer button down blouse plus very comfortable boots. What’s key about Danielle’s look is choosing just one piece to stand out while keeping the other parts of the outfit more subdued in color and more classic in shape. Danielle feels that the ritual of choosing an outfit is a great start to her day, “Fashion is an art similar to how medicine is an art; I admire designers who take chances and think outside of the box, just as I admire my attending physicians who are inventive and innovative in their field”.
To take her outfit from day to night, Vanessa swapped her print for faux leather and added a sleek pair of booties, a jacket, and a bit of evening sparkle. Danielle gave her boots the night off, put on her favorite pair of pumps, and chose a lace top to complete her after hours ensemble. By using a few key basics in their current wardrobes these savvy med students did an excellent job of demonstrating how to stylishly create looks that are work for the hospital, casual plans, or evenings on the town. Danielle and Vanessa each have their own personal style yet they both understand the importance of their image in their professional environment.
Thanks so much to Danielle and Vanessa for being great models, opening their closets, and sharing their personal experiences, words, and time!