April 5, 2014


This year, I need a suit.

I ought to have had one when interviewing for medical school, but I didn't.  I doubt it's a make-or-break situation, I still got in, but believe me that the anxiety I had sitting the conference room in a bright blue sweater surrounded by peers in very conservative professional attire -- well, there's a reason you stick with convention in situations like that.  No need to make yourself more nervous than necessary.

However, this year I need a suit.  I will be interviewing for a medical residency, AKA my First Grown-Up Job, AKA Incredibly High-Stakes Professional Courtship.  I am not such a BAMF that I can interview now in a blue sweater and black capris again.  I'm not even such a rockstar that I can interview in the awesome vintage dark olive green suit I loved (but have no use for).  Dark, intimidating, conservative is the way to go.

Well, almost.  The classic option is a black suit, of course, but then everyone wears that, so it's beneficial to do something a *little* bit distinct amongst that sea of black come interview day.  Charcoal grey is recommended, or navy blue.  The really baller do black with white pinstripes.

Me?  I do purple.  And plaid.

The pantsuit: nice lightweight wool, with cool details that I fell for: that folded collar, the tone-on-tone plaid, the of-the-season cropped trousers.  I simply detest having things that are just like everyone else's.  It's counter-intuitive to me, but pantsuits are perceived as less formal than skirtsuits, though still acceptable on the interview trail.  I'm pretty sure this one will be returned, though.  The pieces are the right sizes, but just the wrong fit.  The jacket isn't shaped like me, and I'm not thrilled with the silhouette of the pants either.

The pants would get tailored in at the waist, which might help the fit of the legs, but I think I'm just more comfortable with a traditional wide trouser, rather than this cropped business.  (Also, the pants are unlined, and consequently a bit itchy).  The jacket also has a pleat at the low back, and you can see that it pulls open across my hips.  Love the details, but this is not the right suit for me.

The skirt suit: polyester (boo) with some stretch (yay!), and a slight purple cast (interesting).  Fitting the blazer is still not *quite* perfect, but it sits well at the shoulders and bust and the rest can be tailored.  I've got a substantial bust/waist difference and quite a short torso; fitted jackets never fit on me without tailoring.

I've got to say, I feel much more like me in a skirt suit, and even more so when I ditch the jacket.  This one is a keeper; a classy modern shape, construction with some movement ease (yay, stretch and kick-pleats!), and that just-off-of-black hue is due to this subtle purple pinstripe-dottiness.  To me, it says "I look respectable and responsible from a difference, but when you get close you realize I have this fun side as well."  Hopefully it would say the same to my interviewers...

I may go out looking for a pantsuit again -- it's recommended to have two suits, so that you're not panicked trying to get your only one back from the dry cleaner in time, and I may be shilling myself out in the frozen Midwest where pants are mighty advisable come December.  Interview season is still six months away, though, so I've got time.

Thoughts?  Favorite suit sources?  Opinions on how these things fit?  Commiseration in the First Job hunt?  I'm all ears.

March 29, 2014

More of the Same

I'm afraid I've left Phenotype: fabulous wither because I haven't had much to share -- I'm straight off a month and a half of obstetrics, and facing two months of surgery, which means more than a quarter of a year straight wearing scrubs day in and day out.  On the one hand, it's a relief (like I hear wearing uniforms in high school is): I *never* have to think about what I'm wearing, because it's exactly the same every day.  On the other, it's pretty boring.  I have a closet full of things that I like, and no chance to wear them!  However, that does make it easier to keep my 2014 resolution not to acquire new clothes, since wearing what I want to is enough of a novelty that I don't pine over new additions to my wardrobe.

All of that means that when I do get to dress for myself, you can be darn sure I'm looking cute.

Tee: Threadless | Sweater: thrifted | Jeans: thrifted | Earrings: I made 'em 

And for a better look at that tee (riffing on Ben Franklin's famous cartoon)

The last time I got myself some fun graphic tees was my sophomore year of undergrad in 2007, when I first discovered Threadless.  I've added some new ones in the past year, and they make me quite happy.  I actually got two of this one, so that I could cannibalize one to make a birthday gift for one of my junior high buddies (AKA the piefairy's apprentice) last summer.

You've got to love an apron that comes with a recipe for apple pie right on it!  (I confess, I toyed with the idea of placing it upside-down, so that it could be read by the wearer, but the intended recipient had memorized my basic fruit pie recipe already, so I deemed it unnecessary).

How is everyone out there?  Same-old-same-old, like me, or are the winds of change a-blowing?

February 14, 2014

Good hair makes everything better

Long hours, dark when I get to the hospital, dark when I leave.  Fashionable is impractical these days; I'm living in scrubs.  Green gets you into Labor & Delivery, grey opens doors at surgery as well as L&D.  L&D nurses wear periwinkle blue. (Still haven't figured out who it is wearing bright turquoise -- maybe the cardiac catheterization lab?)  This all differs hospital to hospital; six months ago, the first time I saw a birth, we pediatricians wore the bright turquoise.

All that to say, not much of interest for Pheno:fab fodder.  Catching babies is fun, weird, stressful, and oddly surreal, and I usually look a hot mess doing it.
I do just want to say that when I delivered my first baby, at the very end of my very long first day on OB (how's that for an incentive not to go to a teaching hospital?), I did so with some really wonderful hair.

Seriously, I couldn't achieve that again even if I tried. 

January 27, 2014

Jewelry Preferences

As much as I'd like to burrow into my blankets and hibernate until April, I decided to poke my head out of my little nest and share some jewelry ideas with you!

I'm actually not a huge fan of jewelry.  I rarely wear it on a daily basis.  I don't have "signature pieces", and most of it was purchased on the cheap, or given to me.  But, as I've been thinking lately about how my jewelry preferences have changed throughout the years, I wanted to document where I'm at now.

So, travelling from least favorite to most favorite, we start with...

This one's a gift from my sister, Andrea.

Bracelets:  I don't know if it's because I have very petite wrists, which cause things to slide around all the time, or if I just never got into the habit of wearing them, but bracelets are my least favorite jewelry item.  I think I own three.  Sometimes, they add a nice bit of sparkle, or pop of color, but overall, I prefer other jewelry options.

These were included as a bonus gift in a blogger's giveaway I won, years ago.

Earrings:  It's not that I don't enjoy earrings.  I really do.  I have my ears pierced five times - two on the left (cartilage and conch) and three on the right (twice in my lobe and tragus) - but I don't change my earrings very often.  Once I find something I like, it stays in my ear for months.  There was a period when I changed the earrings in my lobes frequently, but after the hole in my left earlobe got torn (long story, but gratefully, not a painful one), I gave away a lot of my fun earrings.  Now, I go for silver earrings, of various sizes and shapes.

Bicycle pendant - Forever 21
Coin - I think it's a Euro?
Heart - a gift from a boy I used to mentor

Necklaces:  Necklaces have always been at or near the top of my list of favorite jewelry.  There was a pearl necklace period and a long necklace period.  I have necklaces that double as watches and ones from overseas.  I don't wear chokers anymore, but other than that, I've kept most of the necklaces I've gotten throughout the years!

I bought my sisters and I matching mustache rings for our birthdays a few years ago.
I'm pretty sure this ring is broken now.

Rings:  Rings are my current favorite, especially stacked rings.  In the past, I've had eczema on my hands, which requires lots of special lotion.  Since I don't like to gunk up the diamonds on my engagement ring, I kept having to take it on & off.  Stacked rings give an interesting look without stones, so I've moved more in that direction lately.   As I said, I have very petite hands, so finding rings in general stores (like Forever 21, etc) can be challenging, so yay for Etsy!  However, a dozen or so years ago, I found some awesome stacked rings, that actually fit my hands, at a department store, but lost them at a bowling alley.  I don't even like bowling, so it was insult to injury.  I miss those rings...

What are your jewelry preferences?

January 4, 2014

Festivities in Review

Happy 2014!

With the festive season behind us and the new year fresh ahead, I want to take a moment to reflect on the time that has recently passed and face the promises made for that yet to come.

Like last year, I found myself with an abundance of celebratory occasions at the end of the year.  Of the ones with photographic evidence, in chronological order we have:

The Viewing of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special

TARDIS t-shirt: Threadless | Boots: Merrell | Corduroy skirt: thrifted | Stripey socks: gift

Reaching back to November for this one, but it was post-Soup & Pie Potluck (our church's holiday kickoff, held on the Sunday before Thanksgiving) so it was officially part of the festive season in my book.  2013 was the Year of the Doctor for us-- we'd watched all the reboot episodes of Doctor Who, seven seasons' worth, between Christmas and July.  The anniversary special was enjoyed with good friends, DW-themed food & drink, and drawing straws for choice minifigs of the Doctor's various incarnations.

The Church Christmas Party

Dress: Anthropologie | Stripey socks & boots: same as above

Our lovely community does something different every year for a Christmas party -- talent show, dessert social, hymn sing...this year, it was a ceili/barn dance, complete with an accordion-wielding caller.  It's been ages since my last ceili, and I had an absolute blast, watching and dancing with everyone from our octogenarian churchbuilders to the toddlers up way past their bedtimes.  Afterwards, not wanting to waste an amazing dress by heading home at 9, the mister and I got to know some of our neighborhood beer havens a little better.  We clean up pretty nicely, don't you think?

The Most Joyful Wedding of All Time

 Dress: Modcloth | Sweater: thrifted

This was a love story to make cynics weep, something a decade in the making and straight out of a Jane Austen novel.  (No, seriously, the groom is even British.)  The last wedding amongst we four dear girlfriends (hey, look, there's Charlotte!), long-awaited and joyfully experienced.  A father's address, lovingly given, marvelously wordcrafted and speaking straight to the heart of marriage for the newlyweds and even more so for the rest of us.  An absolutely perfect winter day; dearly beloved friends and family; a happy couple buoyed up by the love and celebration of all those around them.  This was a day where Good Things Happened, and I am so thankful to have been witness to it.

Holiday events without photographic fashion evidence: the Holiday Work Party, the Doctors Terry Host a Christmas Shindig, Christmas Day Feasting, and New Year's Eve. 

And speaking of New Years -- I have one resolution this year, but it's a substantial one: I will not buy any new clothing.  No thrifting, no swaps, nada.  It's not about spending less money -- though that is a benefit -- but about cultivating a mindset of "enough," of using what I have, and of not chasing the New Shiny.  There are a few very important caveats: undergarments and an interview suit are not bound by this resolution.  (I am also not going to turn down gifts, that would be ungracious.)

So, here's to 2014!  A year started in fantastically good spirits, with hope and promise and a challenging-but-exciting clothing constraint.  Happy New Year to all!

November 12, 2013

Ode to the LBD

An avid lover of expressive colors as a teen and young adult, I did not see the point of the Little Black Dress.  Why would I ever want to wear a simple black dress when I could wear a bold red one, or a shimmery silver one, or a multi-hued beaded one?  I was convinced that, though they may be useful for other ladies, an LBD would never find a place in my wardrobe.

Then, I met Joan.

Joan is the dress, thusly named for obvious reasons.  She's a lady who doesn't like to speak of her age, but you'd hardly believe a gal with this many decades on her looks this good.

Joan has taught me that there is immense power in simplicity.  She may not be the right answer for everything, but with a timeless, demure, oh-so-flattering cut, she is ready for just about anything.

Oh, and what varied anythings we've seen together!  Joan and I have done the opera and the red carpet, Christmas parties and church luncheons.  Today, we popped my white coat on top for a day working on the hospital wards, and I expect we'll do a fair amount of residency interviewing together this time next year.

Joan is a far better friend than I deserve.  Her lightweight wool composition suits her perfectly to my favorite climate and seasons, and somehow without a single stitch of spandex she still fits like made-to-measure even after hefty weight gains.


We're quite the team, Joan and I.  You'd best not cross us -- curves and collarbones are our weapons of choice.

Lest you think Joan seeks all the limelight, I assure you she is quite content to be the supporting backdrop for a louder, flashier acquaintance.
Joan doesn't need to shout.  She's a lady.  She knows the right thing to do in any situation, and she gets our attention when she wants it, just as she is.

Dress Joan: vintage 1960s | Shoes: Clarks | Tights: ?? | Necklace: Otis B Jewelry

October 18, 2013

Comfy-Cozy Casual Friday

We don't get Casual Fridays as students out on rotations (though I think the nursing staff get to wear jeans, if they also wear pink, for breast cancer awareness during October...) so this is weekend wear for me, but I assure you that it is divinely comfy-cozy.   

Seriously, plaid flannel shirtdress?  That's like wearing pajamas all day, but WAY cuter.  Spunky dress and leather boots, my fall go-to when I'm not supposed to dress like a doctor.  Add a cute knit beanie like I've seen Charlotte, Deanna, or Rachael rock, and this would seem just about perfect. 

 Dress: Woolrich | Boots: Merrell

Showing off the oh-so-awesome detailing up around the sides of my oh-so-awesome boots.  And hey, did you figure out my theme for the week?  (I feel like today made it pretty obvious...)  It's plaid!  I'm an equal-opportunity plaid-lovin' [Irish] gal, I won't say no to it any time of year, but something about fall makes it seem simply perfect. 
It has been beyond lovely sharing this Fall Fashion Week with all of you.  Let's give a HUGE thanks to Deanna for hosting, and to all of you kind souls for your uplifting comments!