Take Her Shopping

4 May

My older sister Lisa is a scientist. I know that may sound like a fictional job to some of you (myself included), but this is not a joke. She’s a post-doctoral neuroscience researcher at a university in Trondheim, Norway (she got the brains in our family).

Needless to say, Lisa and I grew up with slightly different interests. In childhood videos, Lisa can be seen captivating the camera by reading aloud from a favorite book or taking the cameraman on a tour of the museum she set up in her room (!). I, on the other hand, was filmed strutting my stuff — plus a pink boa and my mom’s high heels — in living room fashion shows. (Shockingly, I also regularly interrupted Lisa’s programming by bursting through the camera frame in a fit of ribbon-dancer induced excitement).

As adults, Lisa and I have pursued vastly different careers, interests and lifestyles. She provides guidance to me on memory health, neurons and the hippocampus while I serve as her personal stylist by convincing her to wear heels, buying her accessories and helping her find the basics of a work wardrobe. In other words, I need a little help with science and she needs a little help with fashion.

We recently met for a weekend in Pennsylvania where I assessed Lisa’s wardrobe needs and we took to the legendary King of Prussia Mall to find: comfortable, casual, easy to match and durable work clothes for her time in the laboratory; and simple and professional clothes for conferences (think adult science fair), speaking engagements and networking.

Lisa only shops twice a year when she visits the U.S. from Norway (hence the LONG list below). Here’s what she ended up with on our recent trip to Pennsylvania (including the finds pictured above):

  • Black slacks: Essential. These fit her beautifully and can be worn for presentations or networking events.
  • Feminine blouse: Ideal for conferences and easy to pair with black slacks or a pencil skirt (and a cardigan or blazer) for a professional and pretty outfit.
  • Printed pencil skirt: The print keeps this interesting and makes for an outstanding look with a basic button down or cardigan (or even a chambray).
  • Basic black button down: Such a “must-have” that I also picked one up for myself.
  • Tan chinos: I think chinos are a fun and preppy look for days in the lab. They are a great alternative to jeans.
  • White blouse: I love how the feminine detail of this blouse peeks out from the blue cardigan in the photo above. She can wear this with jeans, slacks or a skirt.
  • Cardigan: A must-have finishing piece for slacks, pencil skirts or jeans.
  • Striped oxford: Perfect with denim or chinos.
  • Wide horizontal striped sweater: With her long and lean frame, Lisa can totally pull off horizontal stripes. This sweater is so soft and I love the variation of stripes between the bodice and the sleeves.
  • Orange striped tee: This is perfect under a blazer for a casual day in the lab.
  • Tan blazer: She can wear this with jeans and flats in the lab and skinny black pants after work.
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