Outfit Request: Defending a Thesis

I got a request yesterday from a Tipsy reader asking my opinion about what to wear when defending a thesis in a science field. For those of you who don’t know any science-minded people, many of them are a tad bit challenged when it comes to style. And by a tad bit, I mean a whole lot.  Because they often dress super casual for work (jeans and socks with sandals…eek!), the goal is to look professional without being too dressy (i.e. no suits). Here are a few options I came up with…

option 1. Fixed Bow Striped Sheath Dress +Mossimo Black Vanette Kitten Heel Pumps

option 2. Merona Collection Jillian Crosshatch Skirt + Merona Women’s Double Layer Shirred V-Neck TopAdi Desings Classic Pointed Toe Pumps

option 3. Ruffle and Striped Belted Dress + Cuffed Sleeve V-Neck Cardigan + Mossimo Pearce Pumps

option 4.  Banded Waist Button Front Shirt + Chino Solid Ruffle Skirt + Mossimo Pearce Pumps

For those of you looking for something less trendy, you can never go wrong with a classic sheath dress!


  1. my personal fav is option 1. LOVE that dress!

  2. It sounds weird to call out, but make sure the jewelry you pick doesn’t make noise and that you can’t fidget and play with your clothes if you’re nervous. I sat through a presentation made by a women with a stack of of noisy bangles and another chick who could not stop messing with her skirt – it was very distracting!

  3. MichelleG says:

    Ooooh, I’m loving all these options! Leaning toward option #2: I love that soft, sunny yellow! And the cardigan would add a nice layer, since its not quite spring in the frigid Midwest. But, that green sheath dress from The Limited is gorgeous too, really simple but so striking and pulled together. Hmm… decisions, decisions. Thanks so much for the help Melis! I’ll be sure to let you know what I went with! 🙂

  4. MichelleG says:

    (oops, I think I meant option #3 for the yellow and brown belted dress).
    @AK in my dream world where I am confident in any trend, I love that tie-neck dress! In real life, I think I would fidget with the bow and maybe feel too much of a 70’s news anchor vibe (Christina Applegate in “Anchorman”, anyone?).
    @Haley, thanks for the tips! I’m usually a bracelet girl so I’ll be sure to pick something non-jingly like a cuff or something. 🙂

  5. @Haley I totally agree. I would definitely go with simple, low key jewelry with any of these outfits.
    @MichelleG I was more than happy to help. Good luck with everything!!

  6. MichelleG says:

    back with the official outfit report: woke up on the day of the defense to some serious snow on the round, so I went with a modified version of option #4! I have a similar top (though mine’s teal), substituted the skirt for cream colored trousers, and nude pumps. :o) defense was a success and i felt well dressed for the occasion! thanks again melis!