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Patient Chic: Being Comfortable in an Uncomfortable Situation

The big day has arrived: Your doctor visit! You get to look forward to the glorious occasion of sitting in a dreary waiting room, reading old magazines,trying not to think about the new crop of germs you are being exposed to, and having yourself inspected and analyzed by a judgmental stranger. Of course the first thing on your mind is, “What do I wear to such an occasion?”  Is it possible to be over or under dressed for your doctor visit? What shoes will best compliment your hospital ensemble? The hospital gown: an office visit must or is it best to avoid this infamous little piece of drapery? I would like answer these questions for you and more. Allow me to take the mystery out of your fashion diagnosis.

I like to consider myself a bit of a doctor visit fashion expert. On my resume resides a diverse array of frequented doctors offices. Over the past year, I have visited everyone from the general practitioner to allergists, rheumatologists, and neurologists. I realize that not everyone is as fortunate as I am to gain this kind of experience. So, allow me to guide you through the mystifying world of patient fashion.

The Clothing:

Generally, a doctor visit isn’t the most pleasant of occasions. I realize that I seem to have made it my hobby, but seeing doctors is really not my idea of fun. So, when encountering these uncomfortable circumstances, I like to try to make myself as comfortable as possible. One of the first things you should consider before selecting your patient wardrobe is the nature of the visit. Will you be expected to remove your fabulous garments? Will you be expected to move around often?

If you find yourself in a situation where you are expected to doff your duds, make sure you can get in and out of your garments with ease. Don’t wear anything with oodles of buttons, buckles, or laces. I know it will be tempting to don your best corset, but I would strictly advise against it. Quick, easy pull over clothing is best. If you are going to need unrestricted movement, I would recommend wearing workout clothing. Yoga pants are wonderful. They are comfortable and allow lots of movement without looking sloppy. They are an essential in every patient’s wardrobe.

A note on the hospital gown and some tips to get out of wearing it:

Layering is an excellent idea for the doctor visit. I like to wear yoga pants and a cami with either a cardigan or zip-up hoodie. This way you can just strip down a little and still be comfortable. Also, wearing a loose, flowy skirt has gotten me out of the dreaded backside-bearing gown on a few occasions.


Just like your over clothing, you want to make sure your underclothing allows for movement and is easy to get yourself in and out of. No Spanx or girdles! I also like to stay fairly conservative in the undergarment department when I visit the doctor. I once made the mistake of assuming I wouldn’t need to strip down for a visit. I was seeing a neurologist and it didn’t occur to me that I would be required to wear the dreaded gown. I ended up prancing about in a matching hot pink lace bra and thong. I. Was. Mortified. The lesson: Always assume that you will be taking off your clothing.

At this point, I feel like I should address the following question: What if the doctor is attractive? Can I skip the conservative underwear rule?

I’m not suggesting that all patients wear granny panties, but I still think full coverage is the way to go. In my experience, the Dr. McDreamys and McSteamys of the world only live in TV Land. Most of the male doctors I’ve encountered have been roughly middle-aged, grumpy, and had bad hair. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news ladies. But honestly, would you really want to discuss all of your bodily imperfections with the golden Greek god of medicine? I don’t think so.


Ballett flats and flip-flops are great for a doctor visit. Easy on, easy off. Are you noticing a trend? Just make sure that said shoes aren’t too smelly. Nobody enjoys smelly feet.

Hair and Makeup:

Yes ladies, I have given some serious thought to appropriate and practical hair and makeup styling for the doctor’s office. Too much time on my hands? Too many doctor visits? I’ll let you be the judge. So, first, when planning you hair style, you need to consider two things: 1) You will probably be pulling clothing over your head. (Unless you wear a button-down. That could be a good idea.)  2) You will probably be laying on your back at some point.  Once you consider these things, you will know that your hair will likely get messed up and you don’t want to have to rest your head on the lump of a ponytail holder or a bun at the back of your head. Either wear your hair down and have a ponytail holder on hand for later, or wear a top-of-the-head ponytail a la Pebbles Flintstone. Remember, comfort is key.

This brings me to makeup. Some may ask, “why bother?” I’ll give you my reasons. I’m usually pretty tense before a doctor visit, the makeup ritual puts me in a zen state and keeps my mind busy. Instead of worrying about the impending tests and what they might find, I focus on my beauty ritual. I work in the familiar steps: conceal, contour, base, eyes, brows, cheeks, lips. Doing my makeup makes me feel like I’m donning my super suit. My scared, timid alter-ego is safely hidden away and the fearless hero emerges. It may seem silly, but it works for me.

I like to keep my makeup simple for these occasions. I’m not trying for glamour and I know things are likely to get smudged if I over do it. At times like these, natural is best. Soft tones, neutrals, light eye makeup, nude pink lips are my go-to look. It doesn’t hurt for a super hero to show a little vounerability in these situations.

So there you have it, Patient Chic. Even if you are not feeling fabulous, you can look fabulous and be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes that makes all the difference.





So, I’ve Decided to be a Wonderbra

I’ll always have a place in my heart for Hannibal Lecter. Don’t take this the wrong way, I’ve never entertained the thought of eating anyone’s liver, even with fava beans and a nice chianti. Or any kind of body part with any kind of side dish, now matter how well it pairs with the wine. I have no homicidal tendencies at all, actually. I’m just not that kind of gal. However, Hannibal only eats rude people. One can’t fully hate him for that. In today’s world, there seems to be plenty of them to go around. Am I wrong?

Dr. Lecter finds rude people to be quite delicious. I’m not culinarily adventurous enough to find out.

Today’s society seems to be embracing the rude and the crude. They populate the casts of popular TV reality shows, they appear in news shows, they are worshipped in the tabloids, and they surround us in our everyday lives, insisting on having their way…Or else! Why do we put up with this? The last thing this country needs is more nasty/self-absorbed/just plain rude people.

At this point in my life, I stand at 6’2″ tall and weigh roughly 200 lbs. (Give or take depending on how much chocolate I’ve had that day.) Ah, the vices you know. Anyway, I’m fairly happy in my image right now, but I wasn’t always. Growing up, I was always the tallest in my class and had next to no meat on my bones. I spent most of my youth as an awkward combination of knees and long arms, bad teeth and acne. How bad were my teeth you ask? At one point I looked like the result of the misguided romance between a shark and a vampire. It also didn’t help that I was really into wizards and vampires way before they were cool. I was a nerd. Needless to say, I was picked on. What’s the point of this little exercise in self-deprecation? Well, you weren’t surprised that I was bullied as a kid, where you? Just a brief description of my former looks and nerdish ways made the fact that I was bullied almost a given. Some people may even say that I brought the harassment onto myself. A lot of teachers actually said this to my face. If I wasn’t so awkward and weird, things could be different.

Like a lot of kids today, my self-esteem was in the gutter. All of these new school programs about raising a kid’s self-esteem can’t fix that kind of hurt. Lowering discipline and grading standards, telling everyone that they are special, yet crushing the kids that don’t necessarily conform is not helping the problem. I think it’s making the problem even worse. Today’s educational systems seem to be churning out self-entitled individuals who don’t seem to think that they need to work very hard to succeed. Our educational system seems to be designed for the express purpose of creating rude people. Mr. Lecter, if you’re out there, you’re in luck.

I grew up, got braces, filled-out, and developed a personal style that I love. I’m still a little awkward, I’m still a huge nerd, but overall I’m doing much better. I seem to have traded my self-esteem issues with masochistic tendencies, though. I’ve put myself through hell working in the customer service and retail industry for the past ten years of my life. During that experience, I’ve been yelled at, cussed out, groped, stalked, called every dirty name in the book, and had items chucked at my head. Rude people. There is no excuse to abuse a service worker just because you think you can, just because you know they have to just smile and take it and there is very little they can do to stop you. Next time you’re on a date, watch how your love interest treats the waitstaff. You’ll learn a lot about them. If they’re outright nasty to the help, RUN!

Burlesque beauty Dita Von Tease modeling her Wonderbra line.

So, what is my plan to save the world from all of the nasties? I’m going to be a Wonderbra. Seriously. Wonderbras are complimentary and supportive. They are uplifting to those who feel like they’re drooping and they raise confidence and self-esteem. They make women feel beautiful and give them the courage to put on that daring dress. I’m going to go out of my way to be NICE. It’s really not that hard. Please, thank you, smile. That’s usually all it really takes. Be patient with your cashier. It’s not their fault that the line is hellacious and you’re in a hurry. If someone seems down, try to pick them up. Hold doors open. Is someone’s project getting picked apart? Find something positive about it. You can make someone’s day just by giving them a compliment, you can destroy it by shouting at them. People hold a lot of power, but they don’t realize it. Take hold of that power and use it for something good. That’s my challenge to you. Be uplifting to humanity, like the Wonderbra.

Introvert: You say it like it’s a bad thing.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have a confession to make. I am an introvert. Yes, I know, it’s shocking. When teachers find out, they become very concerned for my wellbeing. My introvertedness has lost me job offers and caused me to receive reprimands from management. Over the years, many people have tried to “cure” me of this. I’ve even tried to “fix” myself. It turns out that being an introvert is not something I can change. I’m not even sure that I would want to change it. It turns out that there’s nothing actually wrong with me. It’s the other people that have the problem.

I have just finished reading the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. In it, Cain conducts a thorough study of what it means to be an introvert and the science, psychology, and social significance behind the personality types. According to scientists, introversion is genetic. That’s right folks, genetic. It’s a natural personality trait and is not something that can or even needs to be cured. Not only that, introverts are generally observant, better at being diplomatic, are careful decision-makers and are actually capable of being excellent leaders. Ha! Take that former elementary school teachers!

Ms. Cain is clearly passionate about her subject and her writing style is very informative and engaging. Fans of Mary Roach should appreciate her style. She is never overly formal or academic and writes so that the reader can clearly understand what is a very complex subject. She also shares many case studies as well as studies from her own life to make the content very relatable.

Alongside relating all of her research, Cain also offers advice to fellow introverts in everything from public speaking to how to handle classroom and office situations. There is also a great chapter for parents with advice on how to raise an introverted child in an extroverted world. I highly recommend this book to introverts. I would not necessarily classify Quiet as a self-help book because that would imply that Cain is trying to help you to fix something about yourself. She mostly informs while washing away all of the doubts that have been put in your head by the upholders of what Cain calls the “extrovert ideal.”  I also believe that anyone currently or going into teaching should read this book. In my experience as well as Cain’s, the classroom seems to be the harshest and most difficult part of the day for many introverts to navigate and Cain offers many simple solutions.

All in all I would rate this as an excellent book. Introvert or not, I believe you will enjoy Quiet. Cain has a strong voice and her work is very well-researched and informative. Check it out at  your local bookstore.

Search for:

Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
ISBN: 978-0307352149


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