Friday, October 27, 2006

Fashion Police

I've talked about professional dress before on my blog - whether it be to wear or not to wear a lab coat, or to wear or not to wear a tie.

Now, the board at the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust have taken this to an entirely new level (high or low depending on your opinion). They are proposing a dress code banning things like novelty socks. The Daily Mail article states that employees could face disciplinary action if socks had "characters [such] as Homer Simpson, Mr Blobby and Wallace and Gromit."
Distractions of inappropriate dress should be limited, it added. Novelty socks fall foul of the new code along with see-through clothes, clothing that is too tight or too loose and plunging necklines.

Plain black or navy blue socks are deemed suitable but socks can be left off in hot weather. The board is recommended to accept the new uniform policy.
Is this the same hospital that is promoting the modesty gown? I'm curious. Doesn't the modesty gown promote cultural sensitivity and tolerance? Why can't tolerance extend to my Homer Simpson socks? Doh!


The Curmudgeon said...

Wasn't it in your blog where I saw the bit about doctors' ties being virtual germ factories? (If so, it wasn't what you linked to today....)

I know when my father died we faced a dilemma. He favored, ah, novelty ties. Cartoon characters, certainly. (He wasn't much for Homer Simpson, though.)

Anyway, we had a problem when making arrangements. After his final retirement, he'd gotten rid of most of the "straight" ties -- and I could see where giving him one of his really loud cartoon ties would strike some guests as disrespectful.

Even if it wasn't.

Fortunately, we found a Mickey Mouse tie that was very subtle -- one color, just with raised Mickeys -- dozens of them -- imprinted on the tie.

And no one got offended.

So, I'm with you: The novelty socks should be OK.

And I won't say whether, on the right person, I'd also not mind -- well -- never mind.

Scott Stambler said...


At all times dress codes are meant to be broken. The fact that Anyone is proposing a dress code is evidence that said Proposer has too much time on their hands.

If I were a patient at that hospital would I want to see some colour? Some variety, some humour? Apparantly the board thinks not.

Dr. Deb said...

I have to say that this is really pathetic. I like when I see quirky cute and interesting socks, ties, etc. on hospital and healthcare staff.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Why do the fashion police want to dictate what we wear to work? As long as the job gets done, who cares if you wear Homer Simpson socks. At least it's a conversation piece.

Anonymous said...

I think in a world of uniforms, having your own socks adds a little bit of self expression. Personally I love my socks!! The scrubs I wear are either hospital scrubs or if they are my own, solid colors. Wearing different socks is how I express myself since my scrubs are always pretty plain (I choose to wear plain - it isn't policy or anything). I guess I will think twice before putting my 'sushi' socks on (orange fishes in fish bowls...).
What about peds docs? I think peds docs who work in an office add a little fun with different ties and maybe it will distract the kid a little bit.

Btw.... liked the blogcast. I definitely liked it better unscripted :)

ladybug said...

my first reaction is this: for goodness sake, they are only SOCKS!
i *do* get the idea of a dress code, but i think maybe making sure women dont have those daggar-like manicures might be a little more pertinent ;)

the being said - i worked for the Red Cross for a brief time in a past life. and they were extraordinarily STRICT in their dress code. down to the model # of the scrub tops and bottoms, as well as the colour and manufacturer. but they supplied them to us. the dress code was indigo blue Crest scrub pants and tops, only white shirts could be worn underneath (turtlenecks) and jewelry consisted of: one watch, no more than 1 ring on each hand (wedding set counted as one), no more than 2 earrings per ear, and 1 simple necklace and 1 simple bracelet. NO crazy hair colour or hair-do, subtle makeup, and suble nailpolish/manicures. the main reason this wasnt offensive, is because this was reviewed and made abundantly clear in the interview process. so if you had a problem with it, you just declined the job offer.

but for most places...sheesh. let the hard-working people have their damn cute socks!!! :)

PS - i did interview for a job that allowed any kind of scrubs, but they did not want anything with a "logo" or commercial, trademarked characters. which sucked. but it also was put out there from the start...

ladybug said...

our night-shift ER doc came in capri pants, ORANGE (allCAPS cuz it was sooo *bright*) shirt, black shoes...and ORANGE KNEE HIGHS with cats on them.

tell me...whats wrong with that? or maybe it is an orgument FOR dress codes without colourful socks :)
wish i could get a pic of her.

Midwife with a Knife said...

(I followed a link to your blog, and I love it, by the way.)

Um.. does the dress code mean that my good luck tie-dye socks that I wear on call would be out?

I would not agree to take call without my on-call socks.

(By the way, I'm not superstitious, I just don't take chances).

Mother Jones RN said...

We now have sock police? Oh please! Health care can be really dreary. We need something fun to make it all bearable.


Anonymous said...

Holy Cow! I think I just saw "Richard Gere" On your blog...I got a go check this out!

Anonymous said...

Are there any color socks but white? Hm!

Anonymous said...

That would totally suck!!!

Anonymous said...

I find the smell of Bonnie Bell Skin Musk oil calming and, in a prison, I have on more than one occasion used an "anointed" sweater or shirt sleeve to prevent gagging. My colleagues seem to revel in the heavily muscled, heavily tattooed inmates who exclaim, Man, you smell good." It's all context. I swear.

Dreaming again said...

Sooooooooo even my husband's Daffy Duck socks would have to go?

Not that he'd ever wear them ... but I gave them to him anyway!

Thanks for the welcome home! ;)

skinnylittleblonde said...

No doubt & sometimes,as a patient, it's nice to see little reminders (Homer socks) that our medical team are real people & have their own sense of individuality!

rdl said...

Oh no, that's terrible! I guess you will have to get Homer undies.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, so not even any subdued argyle socks? How boring.

Anonymous said...

At my hospital there is this one health care aide who wears "crazy" socks. She works on the floor where the elderly patients are and they love it. When I was a core aide, (supply tech.) I dressed up for Halloween and the patients and staff loved it, especially the head nurse. Alas I now work in the sterilization dept., so no earrings, no necklaces, no bracelets and only a wedding band. Which is perfectly understandable because we are preparing instrument sets for the OR. However, now we have to wear short labcoats, and if one is trying to keep warm, they make a lousy coverup. So I wear my white sweater under my white lab coat. We use to have to wear white nurse's shoes once upon a time, because a RN was in charge of the dept. I talked her into letting us wear white runners, since we are on our feet all day.

Off topic - I learned a lot from my supervisor who was a nurse, when I was a student and believe the dept. should be run by a strict person who goes by the book.