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Some suggestions:


1. You probably only need one dark suit, at most two, for interviews and presentations. Keep them solid and conservative, so if you need to wear them a few times in a week or so, they won't be memorable. Odds are you won't be need to do so.

2. I would keep the prices on the low side. If I wore a suit 6 times per year as a resident, it was lot. If you go on a dozen interviews, and keep the suits for about 4 years of residency, you are only talking about 30 chances to wear it. A lot of these will be year-end dinners, wedding, and funerals. You just won't have the time for a whole lot else, and when you do, you will rather just do some lounging, trust me.

3. JAB or (gasp!) Men's Warehouse may be good choices. You don't want to have over $1000 sitting in your closet gathering dust. If you can get local recommendations on a good tailor, you would be surprised at what someone with some skill can do with an off the rack suit. Spend almost as much on the tailor as the suit, especially as a big guy. $300-500 per suit, at least $100 per suit on tailoring. If your (independent) tailor tells you he doesn't have enough material to work with, bring the suit back. The tailors at the store are unlikely to ever say this, and once it is altered, you are stuck with it.

4. Don't stress over avoiding labels. Most people in medicine do not have the knowledge to tell---fit is the most important thing to look good. For the few who can tell if something is bespoke or MTM---they will be smart enough to know you cannot afford it yet.

Business casual for the floors:

1. Many residents wear chinos, with a scrub top/t-shirt instead of a collared shirt. I am not thrilled about how this looks, but it is much better than all scrubs. Despite universal precautions, you will still lose more than a few articles of clothing to blood stains or other secretions. The 1/2 scrub look is practical, and makes it easier to wash your hands.

2. If you can afford it, you will have an advantage if you wear chinos or dress pants with a shirt and tie every day. You will look like you have it together. You can find some good deals at Sierra Trading Post. try Bills khakis---they will stand up to a lot of hot water washing, and maybe a little peroxide to get out the blood.

3. For shirts, you can find a decent selection of Polo Ralph Lauren or Hilfiger at Marshall's or TJ Maxx---if you go to a few stores and visit regularly. Try to get 7-10 shirts in the 1st 6 months---you don't know when you will have a chance to do laundry or go to the dry cleaner. (same applies for underwear and socks!). I would guess a 17.5 neck and 35 sleeve would work for you, and they are not hard to find at about $40 each. Pants--$80-100, at least 5 pair.

Summary for the above---don't worry about labels, spend some money on a good tailor, and most of all--be sure they are all comfortable---you will have long days.


I wish someone gave me this advice when I hit the floors---this is where to spend your money, even if it means up to a year to pay off your credit card. My feet were pretty beaten up by the time I graduated residency, and then it took me a few years as an attending to realize what fit me properly. Your feet literally carry you through 14 hour days, and you will have a lot of them that long, and longer.

1. Do NOT buy shoes at discount stores---you spend more time on your than anything else---go to a real shoe store and get them professionally fit.

2. Think about sticking to brands like Allen Edmonds and Alden. The former can usually be bought at a decent discount if you search these forums and Google. These shoes are generally very high quality and can be recrafted--so when the sole wears you can have them replaced. If you send them back to the factory, they will look almost new coming back, for a fraction of the cost of new. Put topys on leather soles though---wet hospital floors are slippery.

3. i would suggest one penny loafer style and one lace up shoe like a cap toe bal. Dark colors like cordovan (also known as ox blood or burgundy) go with everything, and hide stains. If you can swing it, get a pair in shell cordovan (special leather made from horse rump) it is very nonporous and can be simply brushed clean---but get a dark color. They will last you 20 years. An Alden Leisure Handsewn loafer (986) will last you a very long time, and the AE Park Ave is a good idea too.

4. Whatever you do, avoid sneakers, unless you want to be treated like a kid. You will see a lot of sneakers on your fellow residents--avoid the temptation.

5. if you cant afford Allen Edmonds or Alden---think about something like Rockport--light and rubber soled. But, you will probably throw out a pair every six months---good shoes, even in shell cordovan, will be cost-effective over the entire time of your residency.

If you choose a surgical specialty, ignore most of the advice above. You will be in scrubs all day, and even though you should not, you will probably go back and forth to work in them. If this is the case, spend more on your suit (think Brooks Brothers) and one good pair of shoes. If you are happy with you casual wardrobe, leave it alone. Try on some good clogs and buy 2 pairs--odds are when it is time to throw out the 1st pair you will miss them and wish you had that exact one again and will have trouble finding it.

Do not regret your decision, you will actually be doing something that makes a difference. Your friends will get a jump on you if they went to law school or into finance, but you will pass them in the long-term, and will also have the satisfaction and gratitude of the many lives you will have changed for the better. Also take heart in the fact that well before your 40th birthday, you will be able to buy bespoke, and will never open the morning paper and look at news like last week's and have to worry about having a job.

Good luck on your rotations!

· Registered
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^ You have not convinced me regarding Alden or AE. My advice was intended more for a new resident, with a source of income, rather than an medical student.

A shoe like the Alden leisure handsewn moc can be had for $530---yes, a lot of money. But the #8 color (burgundy) is forgiving,and in shell cordovan, very nonporous.

A $60 pair of Rockports will need to be replaced about 8 times over a 4 year residency,and in the end you will be left with nothing (but sore feet and 8 X $60=$480 less in your pocket). The Aldens will cost $50 more, but at the end you will have a shoe with 10 years of life left in in it and a nice patina. Topys are a must to combat slippery floors, and will indeed cost a little more. If cared for, the shoes will carry you through. If properly fit, the weight will be unnoticeable and give support, while the cheaper shoes will offer little support once exposed to heavy wear.

Of all the clothing needs discussed above, only the shoes, and perhaps a conservative suit, are an investment. All the rest are disposable in the intermediate term.

My advice---buy one pair. You won't go back to Rockports, and you will consider moonlighting to buy a few more.
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