is a Professor in the Departments of Radiology, Neurosurgery, and
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and the Director of the
Division of Neuroradiology in the Department of Radiology,
University of Virginia Health Systems, Charlottesville, VA. He is
also a member of the editorial board of this journal.
The "flip-flop" flap at the White House has me bewildered. What
is appropriate professional attire? Well, for college athletes, I
would argue that flip-flops are reasonable and a step up from bare
feet. I saw the picture on almost every major news service and I
think those were pretty fashionable flip-flops. As far as I'm
concerned, those shoes were just right for a very brief photo-op
with a president who routinely wears cowboy hats.
Okay, now what is proper professional attire for the
radiologist? Rule number one: Conceal tattoos and most piercings.
Lord, I'm in trouble already since I have an earring. Do I need to
balance that with Armani or Brooks Brothers? Brooks Brothers,
likely, since I obviously wouldn't want to appear too ostentatious.
Do I really need a tie or collared shirt?
I propose the following fashion ideas for our specialty. All
radiologists should wear pants and a shirt, except women
radiologists, who should wear…a shirt and pants. How about wearing
your white coat, if you can find it and if it has your current
institution's name? Not ordinarily necessary, but perhaps when
meeting with attorneys. I suggest keeping your stethoscope from
medical school. Hang it on a hook in your office and plop it in
your pocket when you have to meet with hospital administration, but
never wear it around your neck, as someone may expect you to know
which end goes in your ears. Don't let it get too dusty or rusty.
Socks are optional and not recommended during the summer months.
Wear your film badge proudly on your collar or on a pocket, not at
the belt line. Display your beeper, as beeping and flashing objects
are the number-one fashion accessories. If you're meeting with
other clinical staff or administrators, make sure the beeper goes
off at least several times during the session to emphasize your
clinical importance, and keep the cell phone at the ready to
consult on those "critical" procedures.
Scrubs work well as a total wardrobe solution. Even if you don't
do anything that requires you to actually wear scrubs, it will keep
'em guessing. A few drops of dried blood on a pants leg is always a
nice clinical touch. But please change scrubs from time to time
before they start incubating new life forms.
If you are pushing barium, a lumberjack outfit, army fatigues
with boots, or a river angler get-up emphasizes how well you
integrate form and function. This is a good opportunity to wear
shoe covers or shoes that will never leave the department.
Wear a jacket and tie only when you do not intend to perform any
radiology--it's just total overkill. If you wear a jacket or suit
and tie, it must be assumed that you are making a video, meeting
with senior management, or have a funeral to attend later in the
day. No other excuse is acceptable.
At some institutions, they sell nice sport shirts with the
hospital logo imprinted on them. These are always appropriate in
any setting, as they serve as advertising and show everyone in the
hospital that you have team spirit! Specialty shirts that are
dedicated to radiology are the ultimate in this fashion line. As a
second best, a shirt with the local university or regional sports
team logo will do. Shirts with your brother's paint store logo
should probably be avoided.
Remember, if you're ever uncertain about your wardrobe
decisions, just keep the reading room lights low so no one will see