Outfit Building 101: How to be a Fashionable and Professional Doctor

sheath dress, peep toe pumps

Statement necklace, baubles, bracelets and rings, Oh My!

Long gone are the days of women doctors in a “plain jane” white blouse, black trousers, and some dreadful Aerosoles loafers. Today’s female doctor pulls style ideas from the most fashion forward blogs.

Heck! Even our male counterparts are rocking fun socks with stripes and oxfords with coral or magenta soles for a pop of color. Let’s face it, when we are rounding in the hospital or in office, we are both setting trends and on trend. But this entry isn’t for the doc who knows how to blend fashion with medicine. This is for that inner fashionista who either doesn’t quite know how to construct an outfit or who would rather do a digital rectal exam than go shopping, but still envies her co-resident or colleague who looks effortlessly put together (Is her stylist June Ambrose?).

Here is  a quick way to edit and build a beautiful wardrobe where the medical/surgical unit meets Fifth Avenue Chic.

Wearing a colorful outfit is all about fit and classic silhouettes.

Think of your outfit as an algorithm with which you will get dressed and you go down the path adding undergarments, accessories, and pops of color.

Every fashionable doctor needs a few wardrobe basics:

  1. Black pencil skirt- no matter your shape pencil skirts are flattering and professional. Do not skimp on quality here. A nice wool blend with polyester will hold up nicely. Stores/Designers: J Crew, Banana Republic, White House/Black Market, Tahari, Calvin Klein
  2. Black (or navy) trousers- Please try on the style that best suits your shape. Many stores now have slim fit for athletic build and curvy for, well, curvier shapes. Once you find your perfect fit, you are not done. You MUST get these pants hemmed by an experienced seamstress. Many department stores such as Nordstrom’s have an on-site seamstress/tailor. If you plan to wear flats and or a wedge shoe, I advise buying two pairs of the same pant and getting them hemmed accordingly. 

    trousers, fit, silk blouses
    The trousers are the curvy fit from LOFT stores. They accommodate a fuller figure. Pair with a feminine silk blouse like this one from J. Crew for a polished look.
  3. White (or blue) Oxford- A tapered silhouette with expanded space for your bust is ideal. Rebecca Minkoff, INC, Ann Taylor are a few stores that cater to the professional woman’s wardrobe.
  4. Shift/Sheath Dress- Think FLOTUS Michelle Obama. She is the style icon when trying this look. Paired with your white coat or a cardigan, you are sure to turn heads when you ask your RN for the EKG or vital signs. 

    sheath dress, peep toe pumps
    This classic sheath dress from J Crew gets an updated touch with this bold bright blue. Paired with a gray Gucci peep toe pump, this outfits says smart and chic.
  5. Undergarments are not limited to bra and panty- ever wonder why that well dressed doctor looks so polished while your clothes are all bunched? Invest in a good shapewear garment, a few slips and camisoles. These clothing items are like primer to paint on a wall. Purchase a few in your skin shade, white, and black. For the darker complected doctor, Lord and Taylor, and www.nubianskin.com are great places to find nude colored lingerie and pantyhose.


Now to the “framing” and pops of color:

  1. Statement skirt/dress- This can have a pattern, bright color or embellished fabric. For example an edgy, leopard print skirt for the Fall or a pretty, floral skirt in the Springtime. Paired with your white or blue oxford, you are ready to impress and lead morning rounds.Tracy Reese (Black American Ready to Wear Designer), Yetunde Sarumi (Nigerian born designer www.yetundesarumi.com) or designs, Diane Von Furstenberg are a few designers who are known for bright and bold clothing.
  2. Feminine Blouse- Made of silk, satin or even a polyester blend this blouse should flow as you walk to talk with the family of your patient. 

    pencil skirt, prints
    This colorful printed top goes well with this cerulean colored pencil skirt
  3. Jewelry- Statement necklaces look good with your Classic Littmann II. Don’t be afraid to pair a bib-collar necklace with a few stacked bangles on the wrist. A nice, big-faced, gold-toned watch adds the bit of elegance to the outfit. Websites like Bauble Bar and department stores like Macy’s are full of statement pieces, watches and more demure jewelry. When in doubt, blindfold yourself, grab a few items, and go with it! 

    statement necklace, jewelry, top knot, buns, natural hair, red lipstick
    Statement Necklace
  4. Shoes, shoes, shoes- This is your chance to channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw…Do those Manolos come in flats? Not quite, but flats can be just as fun as their high-heeled cousins. Look for small details such as  jewels, buckles, grommets, patterns, and textured fabrications. 

    Either as pump or a flat, this aqua shoe will add personality to any outfit
  5. Patterned tights- This is probably my most favorite way of adding individuality to an outfit. While patterned tights are appropriate for work, I would avoid the standard fishnet. These still tend to invoke burlesque dancer a la Moulin Rouge. If your outfit is monochromatic, including the hosiery a pattern often adds that “it” factor. Keep patterns in skirt or dress or blouse to a minimum and colored tights will work fine. If you are eclectic at heart, by all means mix your patterns. 

    fun flats, mixing patterns, shoes, skirts
    Mixing Patterns




  • Rayo Sarumi

    yasss!!! I need patterned tights in my wardrobe asap