Print scrubs DOs and DON’Ts


In all my years as a Hollywood costume designer, I’ve noticed one thing about prints: Everyone has a favorite! The trick is to not go overboard. Just because you’re enamored with Cherokee’s Felix the Cat top does NOT mean you should wear it with another one of your favorite print jackets. Let Felix stand alone. He’s cute.
That said, there’s room for every type of print in your closet, and mixing and matching can be one of the most fun parts of being a nurse.  Here are some quick rules of thumb I would use to mix and match any nurse’s wardrobe:

  • Use prints to draw attention to your face. When you wear a print top, you keep the focus on your face and not the bottom half of your body. Not that there’s anything wrong with your derrière.
  • Buy the prints you really love. If you’ve not yet ventured into wearing prints, now is the time to start. You’ll probably find a pair you love! If you’re not sure if you’ll make the leap to actually wearing them, wait until the next day to make the purchase.  And I don’t mean never or a month from now! I just mean, wait until tomorrow. This is a good rule of thumb if you have any hesitations deciding  on a color, a print, or style.  It gives you time to go home and access your other scrubs to see if it’s truly something that you would like to add to your wardrobe. If it is, you’ll be back tomorrow. If not, choose a different style that works for you.


  • Looking for a new top? Begin by perusing the prints and solids, but keep in mind what color pants you already own. Stick with the palette of colors that will complement your wardrobe. For example, if you’re looking for a blue top, stay in the blue section. Don’t wander around looking at all the different colors. Keep your color palette controlled and you’ll find that shopping will be easier. If blue is the color on your list, let your eye go toward all the different shades of blue. Have fun with blue!
  • Make a list before shopping. It will keep you focused and make your choices simpler. It’s easy to get distracted by all the different colors, styles and prints. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up buying the wrong piece of clothing.
  • Shopping is fun, but it is work. Stay organized. Make your list, know what you want and, most importantly, remember your color palette. It will make your purchasing uncomplicated and certainly put you on the print scrubs “Glamour Do” list!

New prints will definitely lift your spirits. A new print is always fun to buy, especially if you’re the first one at work to wear it.

Sponsored by Cherokee Uniforms

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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