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What scrubs style is best for your body type?

iStock | Thinkstock
iStock | Thinkstock

There are five basic body types that we professional stylists use as shorthand when picking clothes for our clients. Knowing your own type is imperative in creating the right look.

Not sure about your shape? Take a good look in the mirror without your clothes on.

1. Do you have curves both in the bust and hips with a narrow waist (the hourglass)?

2. Are you rounder in the middle (the apple)?

3. Do you have narrow shoulders and carry more weight in your hips and thighs (the triangle)?

4. Are you busty/large chest with broad shoulders (the inverted triangle)?

5. Is your waist not sharply defined, with a shape more narrow through the torso (athletic)?

Of course, no one fits exactly into these categories, but you should see some kind of resemblance to one of these types.

No matter what “shape” you are, please see the beauty in your body. Many people have adopted a critical voice that often compares their bodies to those of celebrities on TV, in film and in magazines. And – having worked in TV for years and having seen hundreds of actors in their underwear – here’s the dirty little secret I can tell you: They dress to showcase their greatest assets. They have professional designers find the right clothes to make them look and feel fabulous. That’s what I’m here for…think of me as your personal designer, here to help YOU look and feel fabulous. So let’s connect your body type to the best scrubs to buy and wear!

Body Type 1
If you’re #1 on the list (hourglass), try flared pants with scoop tees. V-neck wrap tops are good for you. Try a nipped-waist jacket with straight-leg pants. Small-print tops can be great for your body type.

Body Type 2
If you’re #2 on the list (apple shaped), you can create a great silhouette with a wrap top that doesn’t fit tightly around your waist. You’re a great candidate for print scrubs (especially prints decorating the torso) because they’re not only flattering but can draw attention away from your belly. Make sure that your scrubs pants rise high enough on your belly (test bending over when you try them on).

Body Type 3
If you have narrow shoulders with more weight on your hips and thighs (the triangle), you can easily wear a printed top. Try layering a printed hip-length jacket with a solid boatneck or scoop-neck top. Pair this with a matching pant.

Body Type 4
If you are Body Type 4 (the inverted triangle), try to steer away from wearing tight tops. Not only will they be uncomfortable, but they won’t be flattering, either. And don’t go in the opposite direction and wear a baggy top to hide your bust. A V-neck, mock-wrap scrub top will be flattering for you. Stay away from prints on the top and lean toward darker colors. Keep your pants fitted, but not tight. Your goal is to enhance your look with the correct proportions.

Body Type 5
If you have an narrow build (athletic), prints can be flattering on you. Don’t hesitate to layer. You can wear a short-sleeve jacket with a long-sleeve tee to “hip” up some of your separates. Any kind of ruching or other details on your tops would be great for you. A pair of flared pants will complement your look.

And an Extra Style Tip for Men
For you guys, be sure you feel comfortable in your scrubs. Don’t wear anything, top or bottom, that’s too tight. If you’re not at your ideal weight, don’t let the size number influence you. Buy scrubs in a size that fits well. No one is looking at the tag.

Remember, first impressions do count and can project an assured, stylish nurse. Scrubs can affect your job, especially if you’re wearing the styles that flatter your body shape. Not only will you look better in scrubs that work for your body type, but you’ll also have the confidence to wear them well!

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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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16 Responses to What scrubs style is best for your body type?

  1. Beth

    I read your ideas for scrubs types for any body type, you did not mention the one body type that most women have. Big on top, middle and bottom. What are your suggestions for that?

    • Miriam Bookey

      Great point! We’re going to have Katie write an article on this topic.

  2. Susie Johnson

    I love my Cherokee scrubs, I am a scrubaholic, I am big on the top smaller on the bottom with long legs so I wear the tall cargos ( I think I have every color), which have smaller legs and I wear the “Body” tops with the elastic in the back gives you a shape. I cannot wear the box v-neck scrubs, I look like a big box with a big chest, so I take them and have elastic put in the back or have them taken in at the waist. If they are cute they are worth the extra bucks to have them fixed.

  3. Connie Mead

    Most of our customers are now required to wear solids. I would like to read about styles of pants (flare/boot cut/straight let); and tops of various lengths (Short mock wrap, long mock wrap, reg length V neck) that works. Also would like the most current trend in length of pants–our younger girls seem to want them touching the ground!

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  8. Lori

    I’m disappointed. None of these descriptions fit my body type. I’m not afraid to admit it. I am an apple and I’m short. I’m 4’11”. I carry most of the (very unwanted) weight in the middle and less in my thighs. Any suggestions for my type?

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  10. I’m short. 5’1″.My body type is an apple-weight in the middle and less in the thighs. Any suggestions for my type

  11. John Ryant RN

    Well, I am a bit awkward in size. While I am average in height, I do have wide sholders and a bit of a belly. I just recently found a company called TailorMedScrubs.com which allow you to select everything from pockets to detail colors. Their fabric is very good quality and they customize the sizing of your scrubs. I wish I would have had this option years ago, but at least now I can get a nice pair of scrubs without looking frumpy.

  12. chaosrn RN

    sorry, but it appears yet again, you forgot the 15% of us…. male nurses! I’ve been in the field for almost 32, and most uniform places don’t stock for us! Or my size doesn’t exist.
    30″ waist, 33″ inseam, 40″ chest,
    not that i’m looking for shops dedicated to us, but come on

  13. psa8281973

    there needs to be another body type……the oompaloopa……often referred to as a “apple shape”…..I am short waisted, short legged, freakishly short arms…..round all over……even petite length uniform pants are too long….i have to get a 3x top to fit my hips, so I can utilize my pockets, but then I have to wear a under shirt so you cant see down my top or up my sleeves… I am a walking fashion night mare wearing scrubs or regular clothes……

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  15. Casserner

    I am a Dental Hygienist. When I sit down in my scrubs, they creep half way up my calf! If I put the waist where it should be worn, the crotch hangs too low but if I hike them up then they are even shorter! What about women who need a 36″ inseam? Even “tall” scrubs only have a 34″ inseam. And if I try mens, they are too big. Help!