For all you science and engineering majors out there, this is for you. All the time, you see blog articles about what to wear to internships and job interviews, etc. etc. But, as an assistant in a microbiology lab, I can tell you that those outfits are not fit for any research whatsoever. (P.S. contrary to generalizations, most people doing research in lab don’t run around in lab coats all day)
When you go and conduct research, people are not looking for suaveness (like they might in the business and marketing fields). They are looking for organization, understanding, and maturity. I have not seen any one of my lab members wear pencil skirts, blazers, or a pricey string of pearls. But this is not say that I am encouraging you to wear sloppy/comfy clothes likes sweats and sneakers to lab everyday. Let’s break down research clothes step by step.
The First Meeting/Interview:
- This is probably the one time you want to look a little more presentable. But this still doesn’t mean that you should wear dressy clothes.
- How you should look: neatness is key. You don’t want to look sloppy. There’ something about people who dress neatly that suggests organization and care, which are two key things when conducting research.
- What exactly to wear: Simplicity works fine. Don’t overdo yourself and look like a salad. A simple blazer, jeans, and ponytail is just right.
- Most people in my lab simply wear fleeces and jeans when conducting research. But, as someone concerned with fashion, I tend not to do that. I just wear simple earrings (not too long and dangly), a casual but chic jacket that fits just right (bagginess/tightness are definitely do not benefit you when dealing with precise measurements or tiny tubes of enzymes/polymerase chain reaction results), and jeans.
What do you wear when you do scientific research?