Marta’s Random Thoughts

Growing up, I was always fascinated by fashion. The art of it, the colors and the confidence clothes can give you. But I admit I didn’t always feel comfortable exploring all these marvels because I was the “bookish” quiet nerd (although close friends would say I was more sassy than quiet).

I didn’t like to stand out in groups and I thought that colorful and artful clothes would definitely get me noticed. So, I always went the muted way when I dressed. Never frumpy, baggy or even monotone mind you, but certainly not too colorful or adventurous. Jeans and T-shirts. Cute pastel tops. Jewelry was simple and included no statement pieces.

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As I went to college, the urge to blend in stopped, probably because I was starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin. However, I also kept hearing that if I wanted to be taken seriously as a professional career woman (especially one in the sciences), I couldn’t really show that I cared about fashion or “looking pretty”. It would make me seem less serious and committed about my work… so I never put too much thought or effort into my clothing or accessorizing. Once again, I never looked unkempt but I also did not look like the next fashion guru.

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However, in grad school, I realized that while I kept believing that I never let anyone influence my thoughts or opinions about life in general… I had indeed let the misconceptions about fashion and its standing with women in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) guide my own behavior and perception of fellow women. I felt like a hypocrite and vowed to never do that again.

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From then on, I have done my best to express my artsy fashionable side alongside my “sciency” side. I plan cute outfits with statement jewelry pieces and wear them every day to work. Granted, I can’t really wear open-toed shoes, sandals or gorgeous skirts and short dresses while working in a lab… but that doesn’t mean I can’t play around with other things ;-).

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I also try to dress cute keeping a budget in mind. As a grad student I really never made any money, so finding inexpensive but cute and durable pieces of clothing became a fun adventure! You really don’t have to break the bank to look like a million buck$. Mind you, while I am not very good at thrifting or finding copy-cat deals of high-fashion items (that is Mandi’s amazing gift), I do collect as many coupons as I can and shop at inexpensive stores as often as possible. Also, once an item is in my closet, I try to wear it for as long as I can to make sure I get my money’s worth out of it.

Hopefully, Mandi and I can help more fellow readers (scientists or otherwise) realize that we don’t have to fit a predetermined mold. We can be both smart and girly, enjoying the reading of a fashion magazine as much as the reading of a scientific article. And it can all be done inexpensively. It’s all just about planning and bringing your confident self out to the light!

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P.S. “Besitos” means” little kisses” in Spanish, or just “kisses” 😉

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