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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fashionably Late


Hello sweet sisters and welcome to another week. Indeed this is not JUST another week, for here we are mid-September smack dab in the middle of the month to remember. And by this I mean Fashion Week. Last week New York, this week London. Next week is Milan (shall we play favourites?) , followed by Paris. I’m jet-setting through the closet of my dreams all from the safety of my internet feed.

I realize, my sisters- that I have been more sporty of late with my Tuesdays this summer. What with the marathons and triathlons and training and such, one might thing my “Sporty Spice” routine a bit extreme. Rest assured, I can indeed lace up my Louboutins as well as my Asics and yes, the diva returns.

And so I spent the morning watching lives streams from the London Week all from the comfort/discomfort of my treadmill. Underweight 12 year olds walked the catwalks “across the pond”, while I strutted my stuff down a RUNway of my own for queen and country.

I do love me a good fashion week. Each day feels like the style equivalent of Christmas morning as I search STYLE.COM for the latest shows. Given that London, Milan and Paris show in different time zones, I can always be guaranteed to wake up to something magical on the interweb; a new look, a new show, a new opportunity for ridicule or redemption for one of my favourite designers.

And so was this morning from one runway to another I celebrated  in the name of all things pretty.

I realize some might say that my love for fashion is indeed a bit unusual. I don’t work in the industry and never have. Aside form a part time job at Warehouse One selling jeans one summer- I’ve never been employed by a fashion house of any kind. (I realize Warehouse One is not a fashion house by any stretch of the imagination but indeed it was a good job. They let me style the mannequins in the window and I got 20% of all denim- including Levis 501’s. It was 1987 . I was a chubby kid with SUN IN orange hair. As far as fashion went- this was a moment.)

Now as a doctor who practices medicine in 4 inch heals, I am considered a bit unconventional. My profession has an unspoken uniform to which I have never subscribed. My clothing prescription has always been a bit outside the proverbial box.

I like things that are a true expression of oneself. I look to the art of the fashion world and try and find my own expressions in it. And that’s when I make my move. Whether it’s THE little black dress, the perfect motorcycle jacket or a 3 piece something that makes it all complete- I look to the cut and completeness of it all; the movement and silhouette and the emotional expression that encapsulates more than just a dress and that’s when I make my move.

As someone who spends their days observing people professionally, I am indeed a student of humanity. I watch how people relate and react. How moments indeed define them and defeat them. And amidst all that I can’t help but reflect upon what is it that make us all unique.

Bill Cunningham once said, “fashion is the armour we wear against the world”.

I’m not suggesting that the perfect suit makes the pain go away or that a dress can cure cancer. But I often wonder about the impact that beauty, of any kind, has on a  life less ordinary?

Could it be that my love of fashion is my way to bring art into my world and in so doing my way to temper the daily societal swings the world throws my way?

I have often maintained that patients look forward to the outfits. Make no mistake- I indeed dress FOR ME, (I’m a selfish bitch when it comes to fashion, my sisters) but if being a snappy dresser means something in the clinical realm as well- then strike up the AMEX…. It’s for the good of medicine, afterall.

A study published in the British Journal of General Practice in 1991 looked at this very issue. The study enrolled 475 patients. It showed them pictures of male and female physicians in various different outfits. Each photo was indeed of them same “doctor” but dressed differently each time. The men wore everything from suits with and without white coats to jeans. The women wore both pant suits and skirts both with and without white coats.

The patients in the study were asked to rate their confidence level in the doctors based purely on the photos of what they were wearing.

Of the 475 patients surveyed, the results were different for opinions of proper dress based on the gender of the physician.

Sixty-seven percent of patients believed male doctors should wear a tie, 44% should wear a suit and only 15% should wear a white coat. 59% of patients objected to male doctors wearing jeans.

Of female physicians, 57% believed their doctor should wear a skirt instead of pants and 34% thought their female doctor should wear a white coat. 63% of respondents objected to their female doctors wearing jeans.

There was a greater push among older respondents in the study (over age 65) towards formal dress by their doctors. The older the patients the more likely they were to trust a doctor in formal dress versus someone in casual wear.

I was indeed surprised by the disparity between men and women regarding white coat usage and the preference of patients to have their female physicians wear a skirt instead of a pair of pants.

I rationalize these results in my own mind with the fact that this study was done in England and well…. The British? They have issues. Brtis love their ceremony. They like their tea time and their queen and country and they love a female doctor in a skirt. It’s who they are. As a member of the commonwealth- I can accept that. The fact that I love wearing skirts to work has nothing to do with my open mindedness….

And so another week ends, a fashion week in fact with a reflection on the armour that we present against the world. Whether I’m a doctor in a skirt or a girl with a style dream, I maintain it now as I have before and always…. Good clothes open all doors.


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