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Look 10 pounds slimmer in your scrubs

Image: Ryan McVay | Stone | Getty Images

With summer right around the corner, now is the time to rethink your scrubs so you can look your best.

1. Say yes to monochrome

Dressing in monochrome scrubs is the first and most important step to help create a longer, leaner line. Dressing in one color gives the illusion of looking thinner because of the continuous color; it doesn’t break up the vertical line like wearing two different colors can.

Another way to accentuate your body and camouflage those trouble areas is to wear dark colors. Colors like black, brown, navy, charcoal, burgundy, deep green and purple are slimming. And always wear the styles that complement your body type. This scrub top with the feminine scoop neck is a great way to wear the monochromatic color combinations. The black, brown and navy are excellent choices.

skechers scoop neck top


I like this solid-color warm-up jacket with a pair of the Skechers pants in a matching color.

skechers warm-up jacket


2. Get rid of anything too snug or too big

Don’t wear anything that is too tight—either your top or bottoms. Nothing will make you appear heavier than wearing something that is too snug. On the other hand, oversized scrubs will also end up giving you a larger look. Although it’s tempting to try to hide in a long, bulky sweater or squeeze into something that’s too tight, neither of these strategies works when you’re trying to look thinner. This applies to everyone. Even actresses.

The other night, I was watching a TV show in which a beautiful actress with a great body walked into the scene. She always looks great on the show, but in that particular episode she wore a top that was too tight. The buttons across her chest were pulling so much they looked like they would pop open any second. If she was playing the part of Wonder Woman and needed to suddenly pull apart her shirt to revel her costume underneath, I would understand. The ill-fitting blouse was so distracting that it took away from her acting and her beauty—not to mention it added 10 pounds to her. I don’t want you to make the same mistake!

3. Choose strategic detailing

A scrubs top with some embroidery brings the focus front and center. A forgiving cut, like a tunic-style top, gives you the look that is more figure-friendly, which creates a slimming and flattering look. Another way to look thinner is to wear a V-neck. The V-neckline creates a nice vertical line and a leaner, longer look. Check out this great top with contrasting piping.

skechers mock wrap top


Pair this embroidered top with a black pair of scrub pants.

Baby Phat printed logo empire scrubs

Baby Phat

Here’s another slimming top that falls just below the hips with a pretty neckline.

Cherokee embroidered top scrubs


4. Get the perfect-fitting pants

Looking for scrub pants that can make you look trimmer? Make sure they really fit. If you find the right scrubs, they can slenderize certain problem parts of the body such as the butt, hips and thighs. Try wearing bottoms that have no pockets or pleats. If you can’t live without your pockets, make sure the pockets are small enough and placement on the pant doesn’t add any extra bulk. A flat-front pant will create a line that subtracts pounds. Make sure your scrubs extend all the way to your shoe tops to give your legs a longer look.

Check out these pants.

cherokee flat front pants


Baby Phat's "the pant"

Baby Phat

Baby Phat's girly things scrubs pant

Baby Phat

I like the above Baby Phat Girly Things pants with this Girly Things top.

Baby Phat's girly things scrubs top

Baby Phat

5. Choose the right prints

If you’re attached to your prints and can’t see yourself in solid colors, be sure to watch the patterns. Choosing the right print can make all the difference in looking thinner. Big and loud patterns can present an illusion of you as bigger than you are.

Here’s a great scrubs top from Cherokee that has a feminine petite print.

Cherokee's mock wrap scrubs top


Remember these fashion tricks of the trade, and before you know it, your coworkers will be asking you if you’ve lost 10 pounds. Just smile and say, “Thank you, I do feel great!”

This article is mentioned in the Spring 2010 print edition of Scrubs Magazine, which can be found at uniform retail stores nationwide or purchased online. Go to for a peek inside and to find out where you can get your copy!

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Want scrubs like these? Find a retailer near you!

Katie Sparks

Katie Sparks has been a renowned television show costume designer for more than 20 years. She received a nomination from the Costume Designers Guild for excellent costume design for Arrested Development. When she's not dressing movie stars, she loves to write, and says, "Writing for Scrubs gives me the opportunity to write and give fashion tips! A perfect combo."

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18 Responses to Look 10 pounds slimmer in your scrubs

  1. Gwynne Crane

    Your website is far took complex. I searched and never did find where I could order scrubs. I was looking for a particular style….of well.

    • Miriam Bookey

      Hi Gwynne,

      So sorry you were frustrated! We actually don’t directly sell scrubs. We are a lifestyle magazine for nurses. Are you looking for a set of scrubs you saw that you like? The site has links to stores that carry the scrubs we featured in this article.

      All best,
      Miriam Bookey

  2. Carla

    I would have found your tips about looking slimmer much more interesting and convincing if your models hadn’t been all size 2s to begin with. they would look slim in red, white and blue paisely!

  3. megan

    Wonderful tips! Fashion trends change so often, so it is good to know what foundations to look for when shopping for scrubs!

  4. martie

    The tips were helpful. Especially keeping it monochromatic. I have tendency to mix and match. Not a good idea when you’re petite. I would have been nice to have see before and after pics using REAL women.

  5. Lelia

    The staff at Lelia’s Scrubs Located in @8175 S. Virginia St, Reno. Will help any body shape to have the proper fit.So you look good and feel great wearing your New scrubs from Lelia’s Scrubs in Reno.

  6. Erika

    This may have been more convincing, but in the real world of nursing, we don’t have costume designers picking out our scrubs, and a lot of hospitals require nurses to be in all white. And anyone who suggests buying scrubs without pockets obviously has never worked in the health field! those pockets are vital!

  7. In addition to the above tips, as a retailer I would suggest Cherokee Flex tops too. You will feel great when you see yourself wearing one size smaller compare to others. Come try it in our store @Cal Oaks Rd and jackson in Murrieta CA.

  8. trish kestner

    Scrubs weren’t invented to be fashionable they’re meant to be functional. Pockets , pockets, pockets!
    Not those little side pockets that will barely hold a pair of scissors either! A nurse needs to carry pen, flashlight, scissors, kelly clamps, tape, flushes, high lighter and a sharpie to name just a few things. If wearing a lab coat/jacket is too hot or not recommended for your body shape why do all the tops have little pockets or no pockets at all?

  9. Your name

    After being a nurse at for 38 yrs I have to say it is impossible to wear scrubs without pockets and complete your tasks in an effective manner.

  10. Your name

    it is possible but time wasting having to freguently go back to the supply cabinet, or back to the station for tape, 2×2, flushes etc.

  11. Big D

    Decent article. But most healthcare workers with which I work are grossly obese. You should address the average LPN, not the occasional slender health care professional.

  12. mrs. B

    Gross is the wrong word Big D. There are some disgustingly emaciated coworkers where I work that none of these tips could have a prayer of helping them. The need for more images of full-bodied women is noted in this article. The women they displayed do not need slimming advice at all.

  13. Lauren

    In reply to Marty and anyone else with the request to use REAL women- the women pictured ARE REAL WOMEN. Size 2 women are REAL people too.

  14. Teresa

    glad to see tops that don’t gap open when you bend
    over. v neck scrubs one can practically see your bra
    etc. when you lean over a pt. or bend down to empty a
    foley. unless you wear a cami under. Live in Texas
    sometimes it is just tooooo hot to wear something under—-then we do need matching T-s to wear under in our winters like everyone else ——never too many pockets…

  15. janet

    I agree, many times I’ve had to grab my shears out of a pocket to strip off clothes in the ER. I like cargos.
    And yes, like so many other magazines and catalogs, please show models bigger that size 6 or even 12 when showing us how to look good if we aren’t skinny

  16. Mary

    Ladies, ladies, ladies……. be nice. I too have a little excess adipose tissue, and I understand what’s being said. It’s quicker to grab a donut and run then a salad. AND, Lord knows, the cafeteria takes your entire lunch break just to get a pre-made anything!

    Yes, it would be nice to see the “fuller figured” model, and good size pockets are a must. I have tried a fanny pack, but, it gets in the way.

    I now make my scrubs and can taylor them to ME. I have increased the size of my front pockets, added side pockets to my pants and even added a piece down the side of the tops to increase the width!

    Now don’t say it, but, it IS that easy!!! Just practice on some inexpensive material.

  17. Lisa

    Mary, I’d love to know what pattern you use! I’ve been thinking of making my own scrubs and tailoring them for ME as well!