Perhaps one of the quickest and simplest ways to add a bit of personal flare to a professional outfit is with jewelry, ties and other accessories. Especially if lab coats are work or lab-issued and are consequently indistinguishable coworker-to-coworker, throwing on a pendant or a bracelet seems like a relatively fuss-free way of adding a bit to your look—and it is!
Generally speaking, jewelry and ties are both great ways to make your otherwise bland or uniform outfit look livelier and more personalized. What needs to be taken into account, however, is the accessory’s ability move away from your body. If the adornment dangles, it could dangle into a solution or into a patient’s face. It could even interfere with important hand-eye coordination, affecting accuracy and precision.
Accessories in general should not be ruled out when putting together lab coat-friendly outfits, but they should be limited to non-dangling pieces that can be kept under control and out of unintended places.
The majority of professional suggestions and warnings throughout this article pertain to laboratories, examination rooms and other environments with some sort of potentially harmful chemical or biohazard. However, “dry” chemistry labs have much less to worry about when it comes to protecting yourself and others from potential hazards and spills. Though accidents do happen, and even in environments that are meant to be relatively hazard-free, it’s much better to be over protected than accidently injured.
Closed-toe footwear should be the minimum required protection. In those same environments with potential risks, regular close-toed shoes of just about any type should be fine, as long as you can walk comfortably.
If the setting is a wet lab or a university, many people will opt to have an extra pair of “lab-shoes” to avoid the hassle of finding something that “works” both with lab wear and the outfit for the rest of the day. If your outfit for the day consists primarily of what is worn under the coat, however, then some stylish sneakers that are nice enough to be worn outside the lab but protective enough to ward off minor dangers can be a win-win.
In environments with higher hazard risks, you should find footwear made of something a bit more durable and resistant than the standard canvas fabric. In a more formal dress code setting, for example what a physician wears to see clients, durable and protective “smart shoes” can be found on the market.
Otherwise, many more heavy-duty boots can be extremely safe options that don’t forgo a sense of fashion entirely.