What To Wear To The Lab: Fashion Tips For Young Scientists

Schools and colleges dampened our spirit once a week or more depending on the frequency of our lab classes. There were so many beakers, test tubes, chemicals, animal dissections, and pungent smells to handle that even a fashion-conscious student had a problem looking stylish while in the lab zone (that’s me speaking out of my personal experience).

What to wear to lab

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But the good thing is that it also taught us about discipline and experimentation. Let’s extend our experimental streak and explore our style options while working in the lab! No, am not kidding. You needn’t look geeky and gawky anymore as I tell you what to wear to a lab to look stylish.

AH! Did I see you feeling charged? Go ahead and check out this post!

Lab means a whole lot of things – e.g. lab dress code, and lab instruments such as dissection box etc. Sometimes goggles too. But since scientific experiments are always about exploring and improvising, let us rise to the occasion and read ideas you can count upon to look comfortable and chic while working in the lab.

Tips For Choosing The Right Lab Clothing:

Here are some style tips you can safely follow while choosing your lab outfits.

1. Go For 3/4th Sleeves:

The good thing about wearing a three-quarter sleeve is that it does away with the possibility of your cuffs peeking out from under a lab coat and getting stained with the mess on your dissecting table.
Oh yes, this lab attire also saves you from dangerous situations – such as the lab coat sleeves or the coat itself catching fire from a Bunsen burner (which is commonly used in chemistry labs).

For the purpose of safety, it is important you stick to wearing short sleeves so that they don’t come in the way of your doing ‘practicals’ in the lab.

Lab outfits

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2. Dress Up In Thin layers:

For some of you (particularly those students who are not very fond of science), a lab coat may look super bulky. As you know, the lab coat is totally non-glamorous and more like a safety measure when it comes to lab clothing. So in order to avoid feeling weighed down while donning your lab coat, wear thin layers underneath, which can be easily removed when it gets warm. Since there are many labs, which are freezing, it is a nice feeling to put on a light jacket or carry a cardigan in hand. This way, you will not look like a boring lab girl but a cool and brand-conscious athleisure lass.

3. Opt For A Ponytail Or Updo:

Keeping your long hair open is not the best option when it comes to working in a lab where you may be using chemicals, flames, dissection tables, and more. If you have a long lustrous mane keep it safe by tying it up in a sleek ponytail or a chic chignon to avoid freak accidents. Long open tresses top the list of what not to wear to a lab. Prevention goes a long way, remember.

4. Wear Sneakers For Safety And Style:

You might be just kicked with the idea of wearing your ballerina shoes to the lab. But are you aware of the risk of dangerous chemicals (like hydrochloric acid) spilling from the test tubes on your dainty feet? It can burn your skin in a matter of seconds. So peep toes, pumps, sandals, flip flops and stilettos are very much a part of the list of what not to wear to a lab. You can up your style game by opting for sneakers in vibrant colors to give a glimpse of your vivacious personality.

5. Avoid Donning A Designer Wear:

The lab dress code doesn’t allow you to wear family heirlooms or designer labels at the lab where you are surrounded by harmful chemicals and flames. In case of a spillover getting rid of the stubborn stain from your expensive garment will be next to impossible.

Avoid Donning A Designer Wear

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6. Opt For Lab Glasses:

Lab glasses are an easier option if you find that your goggles are constantly steaming up as a result of the vapors spewing from the test tube. It is a sleek way to protect your eyes while working in the lab.

Opt For Lab Glasses

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The Dos And Don’ts Of Lab Dress Code:

Heard of the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do’??

Similarly, when you are in a lab, here are the dos and don’ts of lab attire which you should know and strictly abide by:

The Dos

  • Wear safety glasses.
  • Don a shirt covering the stomach, arms, and lower back as well.
  • Wear a pair of trousers (if you are keen on wearing shorts or skirts, then wear a lab coat which covers the knees).
  • Opt for shoes that cover the foot completely.
  • Wear gloves without fail while handling infectious or toxic materials.
  • Don an apron (it can be made of rubber or plastic). Remember it should be high-necked and of calf- or ankle-length.
Lab apron

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The Don’ts

  • Avoid wearing contact lenses.
  • Skip wearing cropped tees, tank tops, and mesh shirts.
  • Say no to spaghetti straps, plunging necklines, or ripped shirts.
  • Avoid wearing skirts or shorts that do not cover your knee when you are sitting.
  • Say no to flip-flops, sandals, crocs or other shoes that cover your feet only partially. Even if you come up with the idea of wearing sandals with socks, it is not an appropriate lab attire.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing. There is always the fear of clothes catching fire (considering the lab has inflammable chemicals and Bunsen burners around), and the risk is higher if your clothes are loose and flowy.
  • Say no to tight jewelry or finger rings – because these cannot be easily removed. There is always the danger of corrosive liquids causing a reaction and irritation when you are busy doing your lab experiments.
  • Stop wearing lab coats outside the laboratory especially in the lunchroom.
Skip wearing cropped tees

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Now you know that the proper lab attire is not only about comfortable clothing but safety too. Only then will it help decrease the likelihood of injuries or accidents in the lab.

How did you decide what to wear to a lab when you were in school or college? Do tell us about your dress code for the lab in the comments box below. Stay safe and stylish!

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Deepika Dewan

A consummate writer, an advertising professional for over 16 years, an active blogger on fashion, ramp, beauty and health; ex-visiting faculty on advertising and communications and a creative consultant, there is never an end to putting words that click. Coffee, crafts and soundtracks keep me high. Get carried away by the innocence of dogs who come each morning for their early morning biscuits (that’s my best wake-up call) to eating at dhabas! Wish to be between a Barkha Dutt to Tabu. When can I listen to Vangelis live is a bug that doesn’t go away. Want to switch over to anchoring, and giving a lecture at the IIM. The cup of wishes is exceeding, so taking life as it comes – unfiltered and unassuming.

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