Wearing suits is cool. But as geologists, we don’t get to wear suits daily. Ours is generally a much more casual dress code, driven mostly by the fact that a practicing geologist will spend at least half of his working hours in the field, climbing in and out of test holes, mapping, hiking, and frolicking around a site. we are typically in contact with mud, dust, water, debris, and of course, earth! So the garb must be comfortable, and not fancy, since we often have to get down and dirty.
Plus, we don’t need to shave as often, nor are we required to have close-cropped hair! Even our close professional associates, engineers, can’t get away with this like we can. Earth scientists are typically given much more leeway in the public eye regarding appearance. A “scruffy” look probably won’t work for an attorney working out of a Century City high-rise, but even a high-priced geoscientist can pull this off.
I recently dropped into the office in a collared T-shirt, a baseball cap, cargo shorts, and trail runner shoes, en route to a project site for some field work. I had not shaved in five days, and my engineering intern looks over at me, smiles and says to me, “Wow! You really look like a geologist!” I suppose I take that as a compliment!