5 ways to look right in white

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Pristine white scrubs and labs still carry a certain air of sterile perfection that other colors just can’t match. Of course, many nurses would prefer to avoid wearing white—some for fashion’s sake and others for practical reasons. Scrubs magazine blogger Amy Bozeman touches on this ongoing debate here.

Apparently, patient surveys still reveal that white is the most “professional” color for nursing uniforms—and some hospitals agree. If you’re required to wear white because of your work dress code, here are some ways to meet that challenge and still look good.

1. Invest in Detailed Designs
Pin tucks, lace, smocking, embroidery and buttons are all details that can add a little spice to a white outfit. If you are feeling adventurous, you might see if whites with black piping, trim or screen printing will still fit in the parameters of the dress code.

2. Get Fit…
Scrubs that fit, that is. Baggy white scrubs are notorious for making wearers look like the Michelin Man. So, a proper fit is even more important with white than with other colors. A traditional empire waist may look fine in a lovely floral print, but it could make you look like a tent in white. Choose a top with princess seams or a wrap top that nips in just below the bust line and lies flat in the front for a slimming effect.

3. Bleach Is Your Friend
Those nurses who are staunch supporters of white uniforms make the argument that whites are best because you can bleach the heck out of them. That’s certainly a plus when you want to make sure the many types of germs that can survive a hot cycle in the washing machine are truly dead. With whites, you don’t have to worry about fading! For greater stain resistance, choose blended poly fabrics rather than all cotton.

4. Pressing Matters
For an extra crisp look, use a little starch on your whites—especially if you wear a white jacket or lab coat. Press creases into the legs of cotton scrubs bottoms to make them look more like casual slacks. Toss blended fabrics that you don’t want to iron in the dryer with a wet hand towel for 10 minutes to relax any wrinkles.

5. Skin Tones, Please
One of the most common complaints about white scrubs is that they are see-through—especially the pants. There are some thicker fabrics available for scrubs pants today, but underwear may still show through. Some people think that wearing white panties under white scrubs bottoms will fix that problem. In fact, beige (or whatever neutral color most closely matches your skin tone) is the least visible color under white.

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7 Responses to 5 ways to look right in white

  1. Shannon

    Now if our nursing school uniforms didn’t look so dorky!!!

  2. Sabrina,RN

    Our company requires all nurses to wear tops then navy scrub pants so the patients can differentiate from other staff. But personally i love print tops; they didn’t ask my opinion. Lol.

  3. Abby Student

    In my school, we are required to wear a white pant suit or dress with green piping and emblem at clinical sites. In the college lab we wear hunter green scrubs. I find that ironic because at the labs there is less of a chance that my uniform gets dirty. I don’t think bleaching the white uniforms is really an option because of the green trim. I heard that the reason we wear white at clinicals is to keep us more mindful of spills. I have my first clinical this week and I can just imagine getting a stain on my first day. The uniforms are so expensive so I only bought one. That’s just another thing to worry about

  4. Smithteamracing RN

    As an older RN that wore white for years….white age to have either a dingy gray or yellow tinge. I like the prints & colors…bring a little personality to the hospital. Why is it no one every expects doctors to wear certain colors or styles?

  5. Paula RN

    My biggest gripe about is about dirty, white lab coats! They have not been washed and they are gross. And we worry about infection control. Putting our hand in out pockets and getting our things. It looks so unprofessional. If we expect to be treated with respect, then lets look sharp! Thanks Nurses for letting me vent. Paula

  6. keeper3102

    Just DON”T wear tiger print speedo style undies like one young man I worked with !!! But, the one that got sent HOME was the nurse that didn’t have ANY panties on at all !! House supervisor sent her home,,mid-shift,,, no mercy!!!

  7. nancypetra45

    White is a challenge
    Keeping it clean for one thing
    See through is another
    I wear beige pantyhose under scrubs to help smooth things out