A fun conversation was recently started in a professional Facebook group about what clothing style therapists prefer wearing in the clinical space. A lively discussion ensued and several therapists shared about their personal and unique style points of view. It was a departure from the typical clinical discussions, with joy and a good amount laughter throughout the thread.
The preferred mode of dress varied from simple neutral colors (black, grey, taupe, navy), to yoga wear, to jeans and sneakers. Some of the therapists leaned toward a mix and match or "capsule" style - interchangeable pieces, slacks, blazers, skirts and blouses, while others favored flowy skirts and comfortable sandals. A few of the counselors discussed their interest in building a wardrobe around classic pieces, while other therapists shared loving bright colors and adding a little bling in their closets.
This exchange was especially enjoyable for me as I happen to adore fashion and have always celebrated the diverse way in which human beings express themselves through attire across many cultures. Additionally, what to wear in a counseling practice is a topic that comes up from time-to-time in my coaching calls. Colleagues sometimes share uncertainty on how to dress for private practice, or a general dislike for shopping, or feeling intimidated by fashion.
Because of this, I thought it would be interesting to take this topic out of the clinical world and onto the "streets" to get feedback from friends and non-therapist colleagues. I posed the following question on my personal social media, as an email blast, and via text to see what my non-therapist friends had to say about this topic.
I could not believe the flood of answers I received within a few short hours (well over 40 at last count!). I selected 27 responses from my ethnically diverse group of NON therapist buddies - some from men, some from women, some gay, some straight, ages ranging from mid-20s to early 70s. With permission (thanks pals and sis!), I have shared their candid feedback below with initials only. As you will discover, "appropriate" office attire depends on the person's unique taste and comfort level. Enjoy!
Mari's Fashion Question to her Non-therapist friends
"I have a question for my non-therapist friends from a place of curiosity based on a fun conversation thread in Facebook group: How would you want your therapist to dress? Would it be bothersome for the therapist to add a little color or fun to their fashion - not showing skin obviously, but not dressed like a funeral director either. Or do you prefer something more traditional with your therapist? Thanks for your feedback, I'm writing a blog on this, let me know if I can include your answer and initials only ~ xo Mari"
So, fellow friends and colleagues, there you have it! Some candid feedback from my non-therapist friends (and sister) - a diverse group of folks with many different perspectives.
If you have been feeling anxious or uncertain about what your dress code "should" be in your office space, I would say the responses here can be boiled down to these four main points:
1. Be comfortable
2. Not too sexy or over the top
3. Be true to your personal style
4. Casual is fine as long as it is clean
Hope you enjoyed this fashion blog as much as I enjoyed writing it, would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
Mari (Aka therapist who loves fashion )