Dress code when working clinically: Appropriate "masculine" clothing?

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Dress code when working clinically: Appropriate "masculine" clothing?

Post by Roz93 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:16 pm

Hi all,

Just wanted to throw a question out there to all those who adopt a typically "masculine" dress code for clinical work. I'm a first year trainee and up until now I've typically work black/dark blue (non-jean) trousers and a shirt.

I've always been a little unsure of "proper" dress code - there seems to be a lot of variation worn by people identifying as female or wearing what we've come to associate with as "feminine" clothing. And everyone looks appropriate!

I didn't really think too much of my dress code but on my recent placement I've been misbranded as a "junior doctor" by many in the teams I'm involved with. There's nothing wrong with being a junior doctor, of course, but I just wondered if others wear different clothes? Am I being too formal? Is there a typical "masculine" dress code in psychology? I've been considering switching to plaid or a less formal shirt, but I thought I'd throw it out there for discussion.
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Re: Dress code when working clinically: Appropriate "masculine" clothing?

Post by firegal » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:57 am

I have always struggled with dress code if I'm honest. It seems to be that there's a general "dress nice" vibe, the concerns I've heard either way are that if you dress too formal then it may add to the barrier/power difference between you and the client, too casual and you lack authority and seem unprofessional. Though I've always struggled to dress well in a way that doesn't add 20 years to me and make me feel totally alien to myself! When I was an assertive outreach support worker I always tried to dress well and the one day I was running late and just pulled on something much closer to what I would typically wear out and about I had one of my clients remark "You look much more 'you' today than usual", which always stuck with me.

I suppose what I typically wear on placement now is a skirt or trousers with a nice top, sometimes a cardigan. The kind of thing you'd wear when your mum wants you to dress nice for relatives is the closest I can think :lol:

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Re: Dress code when working clinically: Appropriate "masculine" clothing?

Post by lingua_franca » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:01 pm

I've quite often been mistaken for a doctor by both patients and staff, and if anything, my own style of dress is on the scruffy side. :oops: (It's not deliberate - I just can't seem to stay uncrumpled and put together for longer than five minutes at a time!) It may not be your clothes at all. Whenever patients have mistaken me for a doctor, it seems to be because of my voice and accent more than anything - I remember one teenage boy saying suspiciously, "Are you one of them psychiatrists that keep looking at me?" Eventually he accepted I was a HCA, but said, "You talk posh like the doctor." I think the unfamiliar staff who assumed I was a doctor may also have been responding to my accent, although they may not have been as aware of that as the boy. If you're worried, I'd ask your supervisor if they think your clothing style is too formal.
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Re: Dress code when working clinically: Appropriate "masculine" clothing?

Post by miriam » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:43 pm

I wrote a whole blog entry about dressing for work. I've always worn trousers and a top for work, and suits for court, and nobody has ever made comment about it. Male colleagues mainly wear a shirt and dark trousers, some with a tie. I've seen some women wear similar and it was fine too. Lots of people get mistaken for other professionals, so I'd not worry about it. In my experience the tendency is to assume men are doctors or managers and women are nurses or in caring roles, and that smarter means more senior, but I quite like not conforming to expectations.

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

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Re: Dress code when working clinically: Appropriate "masculine" clothing?

Post by workingmama » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:32 pm

Hi Roz,

I wasn't sure reading your post whether you meant, is there an appropriate/typical 'masculine' dress code for male trainees who work in clinical psychology, or whether you meant (and which I took you to mean the first reading), is there a way to dress smartly/appropriately for work in clinical psychology as a woman who dresses/identifies MOC (masculine of centre). Hoping I don't offend - I may have entirely misunderstood.

I don't have anything to add to the first reading of that. If you meant the second, I've read some really great writing about how to find ways to dress in a MOC way which manages the tightrope of dressing 'you' (if you like MOC style) whilst reading as professional woman. Happy to go hunt down some links if you like, but google something like 'dressing MOC at work'. I had a quick look and found on the first page of hits:

https://mediadiversified.org/2014/03/17 ... ate-world/

Happy styling it out at work xx
Fail, fail again, fail better.

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