The BF and I have been going to bed SUPER late. But it’s not because of that … you and that filthy mind of yours. Well, we’ve had some really awesome conversations regarding us, our future and my job frustrations. I’ve mentioned before that I am overweight. That isn’t changing any time soon due to money, and some issues with my feet. The BF now understands my frustrations better. My frustrations with the lab, the research and what goes on in this little pretty head of mine.
But this entry is not about that. Well, not exactly. Part of the reason I am depressed is that due to the overweight, and that fact that I work with acid (ie. I made a buffer every 2-3 days, and not just 1L, but tons of it) I dress like a slob. I do not want to damage whatever amount of decent, “brand name” clothes I have by spilling HCl, or bacteria, or gel stain on me (which I’ve done, trust me, especially the stain). I am a responsible lab member, and I wear goggles and a filthy lab coat whenever I’m making buffers or dealing with cell cultures. Most of the time, at least.
With that said, I cannot begin to understand why is it that some of my fellow lab members, and department mates wear nice clothes, shoes or jewelery to their lab. I would not wear my 2-carat diamond and platinum ring. Nor would I wear a nice pair of Guess jeans, or a gorgeous 180$ Club Monaco blazer.
I cannot begin to wrap my head around why guys and girls at my school (and apparently other schools too) wear stuff that is fresh off the runway. Really. I mean, it’s good to take pride in your appearance. It helps to boost self-esteem, helps you look cute and overall looks better than tapered pants and pair of kicks from the Zach Morris’ era.
But, why is it that Abercrombie it not enough? Why is it that my labmates seem to manage to wear Guess Jeans, and a pair of 120$ flats, and a 70$ Banana Republic “basic” top to grow 12L of E. coli, or prepare 2x 6L of Tris HCl + glutathione pH 7.8? It baffles me.
Then you have me. I’ve been dressing like a slob for work since … oh I don’t know? 2003? When I was an undergrad I used to wear your average jeans, kicks and top to learn about titrations and basic microbiology. I wanted to look cute, not overly cute, and above all, comfy. And I didn’t want to worry about getting the formaldehyde odour out of my favourite top. When I joined my first undergrad lab I still wore some of the same things, but if I knew I needed to work with radioisotopes, or stay in until really, really late, then I’d opt for comfort.
During my grad school years I kept the same kinda groove. I bought new jeans every 3-6 months (depending on when Target had good jeans for sale and how long they would last until the constant movement of my legs would inevitably cause the inner thigh area to break open). Still, they weren’t you know, 100$ pair of jeans. They didn’t last way too long. The tops were cute, but simple. Like I said, I opted for comfort, rather than fashion. I would occasionally wear a cute sweater, or even a dress or a skirt, but that only happened when I was full on analyzing data or when I was delivering a talk and knew I wouldn’t touch a single lab instrument that day.
I’m not very sloppy, except if it’s Friday at 6:30pm and my stomach is growling. Or if I have another person using a column immediately after me. I think that it’s perfectly fine to wear something nice to school, especially if you are careful. But some of my coworkers seem to like to show off their nice stuff, no matter the kind of experiment or amount of discomfort their shoes or clothes cause.
I’m more laid back, but I sometimes get a bit frustrated when I look like a 40-year-old soccer mom, than a 29 yr old awesome scientist. I try to look at trends, find basics that suit me. But I will more than likely succumb to Threadless’ last sale, or the sale rack at Joe’s to find something that a)fits me, b) fits my postdoctoral budget, and c) is comfy. I choose comfort above everything. Which does not bode well with my sex appeal towards the BF. I mean, seriously, I dress like a soccer mom on a really bad day, and we don’t even have kids!
I guess I envy my coworkers, especially the female coworkers, who look put together (though in clothes I cannot afford), in an effortless sort of manner. I never pay too much attention to my hair, and puhleeeze, don’t even get me started on makeup. Seriously. I have not worn make up to school, on a regular basis, since the summer of 2004. Part of it is due to my not wanting to leave mascara residue on a microscope’s eye-piece, and especially to not wanting to deal with the cakey-pasty feeling I get a few hours into wearing makeup. Yes, above all I choose comfort. Maybe I really need to spend some money on some seriously good makeup. I bit the bullet and bought some Clinique lipstick duo or something, and OMG it is dreamy. It feels natural and lasts forever. Maybe I need to try the rest of their makeup. Mascara and lipstick don’t bother me, but a cakey face, ugh, that, I cannot handle. The same way that I won’t reapply makeup or touch it up without washing my whole face, moisturizer, and applying a fresh, new layer of makeup from scratch. I guess I have some OCD tendencies, especially towards textures and the feeling of being overstuffed, overcrowded. I don’t know.
But the main point of my entry is that I want to do something to look nice. I need to stop buying clothes for only two occasions: a) the lab or b) the never-to-materialize date or dinner party. I need to learn to choose my clothes with more thought. I want to look put together, effortlessly, but nicely. I want to look better and stop looking like a slob. Yet at the same time I know that I am not Ok wearing brand name this, and that, and showing others my expensive taste. Especially in an environment that will more than likely ruin a nice piece of clothing or a pair of shoes in a matter of seconds.
Now I ask: have you had this happen? You know, the other people in the lab dress nicely and you feel like you don’t? Do you have any tips to help me look better and feel better, especially makeup tips? Any advice on products I could use to help my face feel nice and fresh and not cakey? Do you have any comments regarding how to dress or not to the lab? Comment away 🙂 .