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Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Fashionable Treatment

BONUS POST sweet sisters..... I am in Boston for a conference and find my brain more productive than usual.... look out world and read on.....

Fun fact sweet sisters- surgeons dress up. Allow me explain…. Here I am at the Obesity Week Conference – a joint meeting of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons and the Obesity society.

Picture it…. On one side of the Boston Convention centre is the Obesity Society, on the other side of the centre is the ASMBS.

The grand ballroom is in the middle. In fact you have to walk across a large catwalk of sorts to get from the surgical meetings to the medical meetings. It’s no big deal but it indeed allowed me to make some interesting observations. I spent most of yesterday in medical meetings- listening to talks about the pathophysiology of obesity, the medical complications and implications for prevention and treatment…. In short it was really good shit. As an obesity doc- I was in my element. Not every talk rocked my world but there was enough there to justify getting out of bed and putting on a suit.

On that note- I should say that I dress for conferences. Hell, who am I kidding- I dress for everything. In my world fashion knows no geography. Any excuse (really, do I need one?) to colour coordinate and I am good to go.

As a kid I had a ritual every night picking out my outfit for the following day. 40 years later and the ritual persists. I love me some style and I don’t care where I am in order to express it.

If I must wear clothes (and trust me I’m not complaining) then I view getting dressed as my daily opportunity for artistic expression.

It’s been 20 years since I entered my first medical classroom. In that time- I’ve met thousands of physicians. Head up…. We are not, as rule good dressers. Sure I’m generalizing and yes my view is skewed. Let me correct that- General Internists are not good dressers. In fact I would argue that Medical Specialists in total are not a fashionable group. This of course has one exception… Cardiologists. Cardiologists have style. I have been to many a cardiac conference and yes, there is a buffet of well cut suits, shined shoes and enough pocket squares and fabulous ties to lower anyone’s blood pressure. As for the female cardiologists- sisters have it going on. Great power suits and kitten heels. I am never disappointed at the fashion at a Cardiology conference.

But as for the other subspecialties? Well, it’s pretty sad. Endocrinology, Nephrology, Obesity, Diabetes…. There is a great deal of casual sweater sets, golf shirts and pleated khakis. It’s a veritable epidemic of shitty fashion.

And make no mistake- I resigned myself over the past few years that this indeed was the law of the land…. Until today.

Today I walked across that catwalk at the Boston convention centre to the surgical side. And like Alice in Wonderland, Dorothy in Oz… there I was among Bariatric Surgeons who…. Had pretty great style. Gone were the Golf shirts and button downs that were one size too big. Here was a land of silk and cashmere. Great tweet jackets with polished brogues and pocket squares. I even spotted two Chanel Jackets and more than a dozen heels.

WE could leave the running shoes and socks and sandals on the other side of the catwalk- here at the ASMBS there indeed was a fashion show of sorts.

Sure, these surgeons had no clue how to dose insulin or antihypertensives but they could remove half your stomach, re-route your intestine, shower and colour coordinate. It was impressive.

I could not help but wonder if surgeons everywhere were better dressers as a whole? My dear friend Carl is a surgeon and a snappy dresser…. Dude has his suits made to measure. It, alone with his lovely manner is one of the many reasons I adore him.

In fact as I write this my mind goes searching through my surgical rolodex visually imagining the outfits of my friends who are surgeons…. And yes, yes, yes…. They all come up stylish in my recollections.

Could it be that if you insist that a doctor where hospital greens for most of his/her day he/she has no choice but to develop his/her style for the “non-surgical greens time”. Is that what it is? You don’t know what you got until it’s gone?

Could it really be that simple? A surgeon- forced to wear scrubs for hours a day breaks free from the hospital chains at a conference and worships at the alter of style in the name of previous opportunities lost? I doubt it. Perhaps there is some science to it. At this moment, I lack the will to investigate. I’ve been in scientific meetings since Sunday- my head is going to explode if I do more research…. For just one week, my girlfriends let’s live in the dark and no one will get hurt…..

If the thought is that style is born to feed the fashion famine of certain lives than maybe the problem with my medical colleagues is that they never had to be told how to dress- it was never taken away from them and as such they did not have to push forward on their own…..

Who knows? Likely I am just really talking out of my ass. But rest assured my ass will be wearing another fabulous suit tomorrow as I walk, nay, strut across that catwalk in Boston to “the other side” for a fun filled day of bariatric surgical talks with matching cufflinks, ties and (can one hope?) an Hermes scarf or two. 


  1. LOL! I was just thinking about asking you if I post an Instagram photo of you, my "fashionista doc", the next time I see you. You really, really, really should be writing a fashion blog.

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