Scrubs fashion: What looks good on a male nurse?

I find the words “men’s fashion” in nursing rather intriguing. I’m a T-shirt-and-jeans kind of guy, so “fashion” isn’t something I generally pay much attention to. That said, as a so-called “male nurse,” I’ve found there hasn’t been much to choose from in the way of scrubs and shoes for men.

Over the last few years or so, men’s scrubs have come a long way. There now are many different solid colors and a few “masculine” prints available. But whenever I need new shoes for work, I go to the nurse uniform store hoping they’ll have more than one style of men’s shoes to choose from. It never happens. I’m beginning to believe that the “Big White Boat Shoe” is the only style of men’s nursing shoe in existence—and it makes you look like the Good Humor Man! The good thing for male nurses is that professional-looking, clean sneakers are now acceptable to wear.

Here are a few things that I think make male and female nurses look good as well as professional:

First, I feel solid colors are more acceptable for men. There are some really busy print scrub tops that I think can be distracting sometimes. However, on the peds floors, cute prints are totally acceptable because of their fun nature.

Many hospitals are trying to bring back the clean white scrubs look for their nurses. I believe this is an attempt to project that clean image that many laypeople identify nurses with. While I agree in principle with what this look says, as a nurse I feel it’s just not what I would call “street savvy.” All nurses who wear clean whites to work know that it’s just a matter of time before some type of body fluid gets on them. Yes, we all do our best “gowning up” to avoid this, but it inevitably happens. Then those clean whites aren’t projecting that “clean” image, if you know what I mean!

Another thing is: If you’re a guy, don’t mix and match your scrubs. If you’re wearing a blue top, wear the blue pants to match. Sports logo themed scrubs are good conversation pieces, and they offer men something different than just the solid scrubs.


Many nurses now have tattoos, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you do, try your best to cover them up while you’re at work. Also, big hanging necklaces or earrings are more appropriate outside the workplace. Again, a professional image is what we’re trying to project, and unfortunately, people make snap judgments on how you look. Sad but true.

Outside the hospital, dress however you want. When you go to work, dress appropriately and professionally so you can project that strong, confident appearance that nurses should be identified with.

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Want scrubs like these? Find a retailer near you!

Jim DeMaria

James DeMaria, RN, BSN, is Vice President of Renal Care Registered Nursing Services, located in Nanuet, N.Y. Founded in 1991, Renal Care Registered Nursing Services provides acute kidney dialysis services to some of the northeast’s largest hospitals and caregiving facilities. While having had no formal business training, James has excelled as an entrepreneur, a role he must balance with his responsibility as a nurse, husband and father, and is always on call, explaining, “You never work harder than you do for yourself.” He is also cohost of “Nurse's Station,” a new audio podcast by and for nurses.

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13 Responses to Scrubs fashion: What looks good on a male nurse?

  1. Nancy Love, LPN

    It’s unfortunate to hear that the clothing options for the guys is limited- I guess I’ve never really paid that much attention to the men’s options when I have been scrub shopping.

    I agree with the recommendation to be professional looking- that’s why I work in peds, so I can still wear all the fun prints. Something else to remember, some hospitals allow you to wear a t-shirt top, could be a benefit for a man’s wardrobe if he stocked up on tshirts that have the hospital logo or something about nursing. And agreed, definitely no dangly jewelry for work- it both looks ridiculous and is quite unprofessional and can also be dangerous if a patient got a hold of it and tugged.

  2. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    Jim, I agree on many accounts about our wardrobe choices. I choose to stay with the solid colors, and do like to wear my team logo’s on ‘game day’. I think you hit the nail on the head – maintaining a professional appearance at all times is a must.

  3. Carol Jensen

    Aloha from Hawaii!
    One of the nurses who was a guest speaker at the local university here mentioned that in order to help other staff, families, and patients in being able to immediately identify and discern nurses from nursing assistants, housekeeping, and so on, some associations/organizations are pushing for a policy that would allow ONLY licensed nurses to wear WHITE SCRUB PANTS and would prohibit other staff/associates from wearing white scrub pants.
    My first inclination was to reject the idea, however, when looking at it from a patient or patient family perspective, especially if patients are slightly or are very confused, it might be a reasonable solution or expectation and would certainly leave no doubt when trying to locate who the nurses are.

  4. sean beckerer

    I am a male home health aide in Connecticut. I find that star trek has better male uniforms then we have for scrubs. dont get me wrong i like the two piece scrubs just not the colors and what not that males have. i have seen more then one style of male shoes, so you may not be looking in the correct places. crocs has shoes with out holes for medical personal.
    i dont like the scrubs with only one best pocket and all the spots scrubs i have seen are that style. Dickies has some multi-color male scrubs but are still the one best pocket style and not the style with the pockets shown by the waist on both sides in front. not sure what they call that. seems like women have funner choises with scrubs when if they dont want cartoon pints. men get the short straw it seems.

  5. samuel copeland

    thank god i’m not the only one……. some others understand, men like verity too. i’m a massage tharapy student and it hard finding something other then just solid. boring…. please help!!!!!!!!!1

  6. BOB

    I don’t agree about not mixing solid color scrubs. It add’s a bite of variety. I use bottom colors that you would normally find in regular pants; khaki, brown, olive etc. then pair the tops up with a solid color “shirt”. The Cheeroke style 4000 works good for this. To me they are about as close as you can get to a real pair of pants. BOB

  7. Eric B.

    HEY, GUYS ALWAYS SHOULD REMEMBER, THAT THIN WHITE SCRUBS SHOW ‘all your business”, especially from a distant. So, wear thick whit boxer briefs, or do What I did for last ten yrsWEAR WHITE LEVI 501’s, , Scrub top of solid color amd White Lab coat. The 501’s give you a cute butt and sometimes my pt.s will PINCH MY BUTT!!!!!YOU KNOW i GENERALLY TELL THEM TO STOP (AFTER 5 MIN).

  8. Charlie

    What is wrong with making your own Scrubs? At least tops? I mean we are nurses. Sewing machine can’t be that hard to work? Beats needle and thread. And I am not above begging my wife to put something together for me that is at least stylish too. Solid prints are boring but until I can make this bobbin work. I guess that is what I am stuck with.

  9. Steve

    Right now my choice is completely limited- I have to wear solid purple scrubs for my clinicals while I’m in school. Purple is University of Portland’s school color. At first I wasn’t too thrilled about it- but now that I’m really starting to get into my program I feel a sense of school pride wearing my “wild grape” colored scrubs with my school patch on the sleeve.

  10. Help me understand something will somebody. My facility is going into the color dress code for different areas. They say it’s so people can tell the difference between nurse and the cna. Now the facility is having there nurses wear dark blue scrubs the aides light blue scrubs. What I don’t get is that alot our patients/residents have some kind of memory difficulty.So a nurse or aide goes into a room the patient has a problem. You may ask the patient if they had mentioned it to anyone.The patient says yes I told the girl in the blue scrubs. Here we go again. I thought the reason we are doing this is to tell us apart.

  11. Just a comment – my mom called eveyone a nurse while in the hospital, and again, when she received home care. It wasn’t that she couldn’t tell an RN from a Home Health Aide because they did not wear different colored scrubs. It was because, to her, ANYONE taking care of her was a “nurse” and deserved respect. Maybe this white scrubs idea is really for us, and not for the patient – they don’t really care, they just want to be taken care of.
    Another point, guys, for men’s scrubs, try Sassy Scrubs. They have “mens prints” and custom make scrubs with inseams to 38″ for you tall guys…

  12. Johnny Britton

    I am a large guy andf really don’t wearing scrub trousers. I prefer kakies or dockers or solid color combat type pants with multiple pockets with a solid color scrub top. This eliminates the seetru look and has a more natural fit as well as giving storage access for note books, stephascopes and other tools. also keeps cell phones & PDA’s out of sight.

  13. Glenn MS, ANP-C

    You need to look at a Smart Scrubs and/or They have great scrubs for men. You almost sound sexist in your article. Men can wear prints and can mix and match. Get over it. I wore natural scenes, wild life scenes, holiday scenes. Crocs are great to wear to work and offer a variety of colors. Have fun at work. It is hard being a nurse, relax and wear what is comfortable and makes YOU feel good. Have clean clothes, bath and I agree, cover the tats and leave jewelry at home. Speak clearly and professionally. This is how you make a professional impression. Not if you are wearing white or blue clothes.