I guess it’s safe to say that the patients have spoken, and they all agree that they rather see their physicians in professional attire with a white coat or business look. If doctors want their patients to take them seriously, they’re going to have to step it up. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Untara Shaikh whom I’ve known a very long time. She has great style and I wanted to talk to her about her profession and her take on fashion.
How does medicine & fashion resonate to you?
In medicine we study the human body and how to treat that body well. In fashion we learn to project our inner emotions and how we feel to the external world. We need to treat our body right, and dressing it plays a part in how we feel. What I project through what I wear affects more than just me, it has a profound affect in the way I am treated as a woman in a professional environment.
Five key staple pieces in your closet?
You will see different colors of blazers, black, blue, grey, white and beige. I have different styles of black pants. Pumps of black or beige color. Also, different colored scarves that can go with dresses for the more vibrant months of Spring and Summer. Solid colored blouses in black, blue, beige, white or rose pink. So, I would say my staple pieces are my blazers, pumps, scarves, and blouses.
What would a professional M.D. wear to the office?
I like to get up early and prepare for the day by making sure I feel confident in who I am as well as what I’m wearing. M.D. would wear dress pants and shirt or blouse with pumps or comfortable yet classy shoes under their white coat.
What would you tell up and coming students as far as having a professional appearance?
I like to lead by example so that my students see a good snapshot of what will be expected of them and I take pride in developing their professionalism with a bit of my personal style. If you would wear it to a job interview, then it’s probably ok. I tell my students that their patients care that their doctor takes time to look presentable, and clinics or hospitals are professional work environments as well so they should respect the profession.
Can you tell me why a professional look is such an influence with patients?
People can sense your confidence. When you are wearing something clean, neat and well put together it makes you feel composed and healthy. That instills positive thoughts in the patient and shows confidence that this human in front of me, although my physician, took time to take care of herself/himself first before coming to help me. Dressing well is a form of good manners and it’s always a good idea to be a nice person and have the best first impression possible.
As physicians we should make sure that our attire reflects a certain level of professionalism that is also mindful of patients’ preferences. ~ Christopher Petrilli M.D.
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