When I was in veterinary school, we had a practical skills lab where we had to put on our ~white coats~ and “play doctor” on very sweet volunteer pets. At the time, I remember feeling so giddy to put that coat on. On the one hand, it felt surreal and exciting and on the other hand, I could feel the weight, emotionally, of what it meant; that people would be trusting me with their pet’s care and to be honest, it was a little scary (as it should be).
Fast forward to post-graduate working in practice, the “real world”. I started out in a high-paced rural mixed animal hospital in Texas. And I never once felt right putting that white coat on. I didn’t want to feel so far removed from my clients that they would potentially feel uncomfortable confiding in me about their pet’s problems. That’s when I started putting on a simple button-up shirt to work. It felt like a nice middle ground for me. I was and still am a “baby vet” and am no stranger to walking into an exam room and immediately hearing “well aren’t you a little young to be the doctor”. But I always meet their hesitation with compassion and work on gaining their trust with my work ethic and clinical knowledge.
I have since left general and shelter practice settings, and spent the last year getting a Masters degree in Preventive Veterinary Medicine. During the program, I wanted to put my veterinary license and practical knowledge to good use, so I started working weekend vaccine clinics around town. I wear my button-up shirts as part of my veterinary uniform and they have become quite a staple piece when I’m working on clinic floors.
So, I chose to make the Zina shirt in a softened black linen. The pattern features a dress and shirt version and offers button cuffed sleeves and front pockets. I made the shirt version with two front pockets and added a little extra flair by including buttons on the pockets hems as well. I also shortened the length by 2.5” as I fell just below the lowest size range and knew the shirt would be long on me. But aside from the length, the size overall fits me very nicely. The pattern itself is sweet and simple, there is no back yoke to fumble with and initially I thought it would look a little too basic, but now that I’m wearing it I have no issues with it. Did I mention the french seams? This shirt is CLEAN inside and out! I have no doubt this button-up will be the perfect “white coat” for me when I find myself working with clients and their animals and I can’t wait to get it dirty.