A breathable, roomy set of scrubs are what makes healthcare heroes stand out while stopping by the coffee shop at lunch or swinging by the grocery store on the way home. And while scrubs are undeniably practical for long shifts spent tending to patients, how can fashion-conscious essential workers transform their workaday ensemble into a fashion statement?
Modern scrubs are the medical uniform du jour for nurses, doctors, and surgeons, but with so many colors, patterns, fits, and fabrics, styling daily workwear can feel like even more (not less) of a challenge.1 The secret to finding an on-the-clock look that works for you is choosing the right fit and knowing how to accessorize.
If you’re an essential worker wondering how to wear scrubs fashionably, this guide will offer 6 styling tips that’ll have you feeling your best on and off the job.
6 Styling Tips for Wearing Scrubs
We’ve all seen the classic version of the scrubs ensemble: a v-neck top and drawstring pants in plain blue, teal, or green cotton fabric. And while one styling solution could be shaking it up with a tropics-inspired print, you’ll want to build a versatile wardrobe that will take the mental legwork out of getting dressed every day.
With that, there are three factors to consider before you give your medical scrubs a makeover:
- Who you’re working with – A good starting point may be thinking about your audience. For healthcare professionals working in children’s hospitals, scrubs with prints featuring loveable cartoon characters or bright colors may bring a smile to the face of a sick kid. Senior patients, on the other hand, may be more appreciative of clean lines and muted colors as opposed to festive patterns. If you are unsure, read up on scrub color meanings.
- Which accessories you love – Your favorite accessories, like shoes and jewelry, can help you stay connected to your sense of style no matter where you wear them. Whether you have a drawerful to explore or it’s time to treat yourself to some fresh pieces you love, keeping your go-tos on hand makes it easier to stay true to yourself even when you don't have time to nail your outfit before a shift.
- The comfort you need – When styling any scrub outfit, it’s essential to prioritize personal comfort from head to toe. Just as scrubs are designed to be comfy and adaptable, your footwear should be too. Look for work shoes for nurses that are both functional and fashionable—an excellent pair will never make you compromise.
Lastly, don’t forget to keep your eyes out around your workplace! You could glean style ideas from experienced co-workers, and the Coco Chanel of your clinic may be only a floor away.
With that, let’s touch on 6 more styling tips to keep your medical scrubs looking fresh.
#1 Dress For Your Body Type
Ditch the boxy look for a set of scrubs that fits your form and makes you feel confident. Depending on your body type, you can look for different leg widths, necks, and pocket placements that flatter your unique build.
Here are some tips on what to look for depending on which features you’d like to accentuate:
- Wide-legged scrub pants provide a relaxed yet professional fit for those with hourglass shapes
- Scrub tops with mock wraps are flattering for those who balance out a tall, lean physique
- Scrub tops with collars or split necks subtly highlight your neckline, and they can draw attention to any shimmering jewelry you’ve paired with your look
Play around with different styles, and don’t forget to prioritize comfort, even when going for slimmer, tighter styles.
#2 Select the Right Fit
Scrubs are meant to be baggy, right?
Nope! In today’s fashion-forward scrubs market, a one-size-fits-all style has given way to a range of fits and feels.
When choosing a set of medical scrubs, always go for a top and a pair of pants that fit snugly without pulling at your shoulders or hips when you swing your arms or sit. If you work in a colder climate, scale up a size so you’ll be able to layer while staying comfortable.
#3 Mix and Match Different Prints
Are you a cheetah print gal? Want to rock orange and black in the month of Halloween? Hoping to stand out?
You can achieve all these goals by getting creative and going for prints that show your personality. Some manufacturers may even collaborate with brands to create fabrics inspired by favorite TV characters.
Spice up your week by pairing a patterned top with monochrome bottoms or wearing colors that reflect an upcoming holiday or occasion. You’ll be surprised how much your daily creations can lift the moods of your patients!
#4 Dazzle Up with Pins, Embroidery, and Emblems
If you’re a fashion nonconformist at heart, try adding personal touches to your medical scrubs such as:
- Enamel pins
- Cloth emblems
- Iron-on badges
Get the whole crew involved by creating your own logos or shields that you can all rock together. It’s a fun way to keep spirits high and build camaraderie with your team.
#5 Always Accessorize
Any accessory you toss on can extend your scrubs’ cool factor by turning them into a bonafide fashion ensemble. For example: Wearing pink? Add a magenta scrunchy for a super-cute finish. Playing it classy in hospital navy blues? Add a pair of gold mini-hoops for a bit of work-friendly glam.
While the usual feminine accessories probably won’t fly on the floor (you won’t be able to wear your favorite handbag around on the job), you can still take a fashion-forward approach by paying attention to items like:
- Necklaces and bracelets
- Hair accessories
Additionally, while there are many other benefits of compressions socks for nurses, one is that they can add a personal flair to your outfit. Plus, when you can match your jewelry, socks, and eyeliner to your footwear, you’ll create a 360º show of casual elegance.
#6 Make Your Footwear Count
Every nurse knows the right pair of sneakers means the difference between a double shift and a march of doom. Your shift shoes should be comfortable, provide plenty of cushioning, and include a slip-resistant sole to prepare you for any workplace emergency.
When shopping for non-slip work shoes, make sure you’re starting with a brand that prioritizes all-day comfort, no matter the design. A water-resistant upper made from long-lasting materials will provide the versatility you need to get the job done in any condition. To complete the look, choose a palette that plays nice with your scrubs wardrobe—or simply makes you feel like you.
How To Layer Your Scrubs
A simple, protective garment, nursing scrubs are designed with patient safety and ease of wear in mind.2 And while scrubs can make movement much easier, they usually require some layering to ensure you stay comfortable during long shifts on the ward.
For this reason, many medical professionals add layers beneath their scrubs for sweat-wicking or added warmth. If you’re not sure what undergarments to look for, here’s what to consider to ensure maximum comfort and style:
- Shop for stretchy fabrics that don’t constrict your movements.
- Go for softer, breathable fabrics like jersey and poly-cotton blends that feel cozy and not overbearing.
- Choose neutral colors like white, gray, and black that mesh well with all of your scrubs.
How Many Sets of Scrubs Should I Own?
Scrubs may be the staple clothing item of your professional life, but few healthcare workers crave a closet exclusively filled with work wear. So how many scrubs do you actually need?
It depends. Some healthcare workers aren’t required to wear scrubs every day, especially those who routinely meet with patients, administrators, and members of their team. In this case, you may dedicate half of your work wardrobe to scrubs and the other to button-downs, trousers, or tailored jackets. On the other hand, most healthcare professionals and many hospital administrators will need to be in scrubs every day because they come into regular contact with patients in hospital settings.
When trying to work out the number of sets needed, a good place to begin is to think about how many shifts you’ll work each week. You’ll want at least one set per shift, plus one or two more in case of emergency stains or tears that force you to don a fresh set.
But no matter how many scrubs you keep in your closet, always ensure your work footwear can be adapted to both versions of your professional self: a sleek look and built-in comfort so you can pivot towards wherever you’re needed next.
Scrub In In Style with Snibbs
Wearing the same thing every day doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to be monotonous. By experimenting with fit, prints and patterns, and mixing in your favorite accessories, you’ll find a multitude of looks of comfort and creativity, week in and out.
Feeling confident on the job starts from the ground up. At Snibbs, we create trendy, workplace-friendly shoes that make you look and feel like you. Designed for anyone who is on their feet for long periods of time, Snibbs shoes are engineered by industry veterans who care about meshing comfort with beautiful design.
Visit our online storefront today to learn more about our storied Snibbs insole and the features that let nurses, doctors, and essential workers work, feel, and look fresh.
- BoardVitals. Why Are Scrubs Usually Green or Blue? https://www.boardvitals.com/blog/why-scrubs-usually-blue-green/
- IQ Group. How Antimicrobial Scrubs and Uniforms Can Keep Your Workplace Safe? https://www.iqagroup.com/how-antimicrobial-scrubs-and-uniforms-can-keep-your-workplace-safe/