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Lab Lewks: Belts

Are you looking to up your professional fashion game? Look no further. With this series, we will showcase simple, smart, and practical tricks to look stylin’, both in and out of the lab.

Always Make Sure the Buckle in Centered unlike me :/

I did my undergrad in southern Arizona. The 100°F weather and few professional interactions outside of the lab meant I wore a lot of shorts, tank tops, crop tops, and flip flops. I had different clothes for the lab, but when it came to class I dressed pretty casual. Once I got into grad school, I decided I wanted to change up my wardrobe. Seattle is much colder and rainier than Tucson, and I didn't want to keep wearing my casual outfits all the time. There is not a standard "grad student look" per se, and the University of Washington is a pretty laid-back place. I see grad students wearing anything from sweatpants, crop tops, and sliders, to slacks, oxfords, and vests. As for me, I want to have a middle ground between the two. Take any of our tips with a grain of salt and realize that everyone is different. I hope you all find your own individual styles that makes you feel comfortable! To kick off this series, we are going to talk about belts. If you already have a big belt (and I’m not talking about those tiny waist belts for dresses), then keep scrolling.

I have wanted one for so long; jeans never seem to fit like I want them to. You know how it is: they either fit at the waist or they fit at the thighs/bottom, but rarely both. I prefer to get jeans that fit my legs, but I constantly have to pull my pants up when I'm walking. Even my favorite jeans--which are almost the right size--still have a tendency to slide down at the waist. This causes the fabric to bunch up in an unflattering and uncomfortable way. The obvious cure is to wear a belt. This past quarter I finally bit the bullet and bought a simple, black belt for $13. I have worn it almost every day since!

Casual Outfits

My look.

I love this t-shirt, it's soft and comfy. When I put a belt on, I instantly look more put together. When I wear the belt, my pants stay in place. I don't have to pull them up when I walk and they stay put when I sit down. This is great when I'm in the lab, decked out in PPE, and can't readjust my pants until I take my gloves off.

Phuong's look.

Who doesn't love rocking their undergrad T? With an added belt, the outfit looks much more put-together. For a little extra attention to detail, match your belt buckle color to any jewelry you plan on wearing.

Business Casual

My look.

With this outfit, the before looks baggy and is pretty casual. With the belt, I look dressier. I like to wear dark wash jeans when dressing business casual. Throw on a blazer and I'll be good to go! Try to coordinate your belt color with the color of your shoes; it pulls the outfit together.

Phuong's look.

This shirt is awesome! Airy, comfortable, and easily dressed up with a belt and a French tuck (Thank you, Tan France, for showing the world how it's done).

If you are on a budget (and many grad students are), check out thrift shops for cheap, quality belts. For now I only have a black belt, but I'm planning on adding a few more to my wardrobe. It is really freeing to not have to think about if my pants are sagging down. The fact that it can make an outfit immediately cuter is an added benefit. It's definitely been a game changer for me!

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