What Nurses Should Consider When Choosing Scrubs

October 25, 2017

Nursing professionals make difficult decisions each and every day, but choosing what scrubs to wear shouldn’t be one of them. We’re taking the guesswork out of the equation once and for all to help you determine which scrubs are best for you.

Choosing Scrubs by Body Type

Bodies come in all shapes and sizes — and we have the perfect scrubs to flatter every figure. Our short and petite inseams are specifically made for women who are 5’4” and underwith no hemming required. Similarly, our tall scrubs accommodate longer legs and torsos to keep you professionally covered.

We also carry plus-size scrubs in sizes 1X to 6X with petite, short, tall and regular inseams. And if you’re expecting, browse our complete collection of maternity scrubs for the styles you need to complement your baby bump.

Always check each style’s size chart in order to find your best fit, as these measurements vary by brand — and don’t be afraid to size up if you’re in-between measurements on a size chart.

Choosing Scrub Tops


First and foremost, consider the temperature of your work environment before choosing your scrub tops and tees. If you’re consistently cold throughout your nursing shifts, you’ll obviously want longer sleeves to keep you warm. As a general guideline, it’s smart to stock up on short-sleeve scrub tops and long-sleeve undershirts for a customizable layering combination that works year-round.

Comfort-wise, you’ll also want to consider what type of sleeves suits you best. Raglan sleeves run all the way up to the collar, and they’re generally considered to be more comfortable as a result. Set-in sleeves give you a more tailored presentation, but their armhole sleeves can cause irritation against the skin.

Knit cuffs are especially ideal for nurses, as these designs stay right where you want them without slipping down and getting in the way.


Necklines are another important consideration when choosing styles that suit your physique. V-neck tops are universally flattering, as they showcase a woman’s neck and decolletage. However, curvier women may want to avoid deep v-shaped necklines, as they can be too revealing. Boatneck tops work to balance larger hips and thighs, while mock wrap scrub tops can visually cinch the midsection.

Undershirts and Jackets

Lab coats, warm-up jackets and undershirts keep you warm while looking professional. Choose from zippered and button-up styles to complement your work wardrobe with ease. Neutral designs go with anything and everything in your wardrobe, while colorful prints add a little fun to your everyday basics.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that many scrub tops are oftentimes worn over long-sleeve tees, so take your measurements with clothes on to allow for extra room as needed. You want your scrubs to be fitted but comfortable.

Choosing Scrub Pants

Flattering Silhouettes

You’ll also want to keep your height and proportions in mind when choosing your scrub pants. Tall, slender and athletic frames look great in flared or bootcut bottoms, and they can also wear cargo pants without getting overwhelmed by relaxed silhouettes and voluminous pockets.

Pear-shaped figures are beautifully balanced by dark scrub pants with straight legs that skim the body. Plus-size and hourglass physiques look good in monochromatic scrub tops and bottoms. Stick to slim silhouettes to instantly flatter your curves. (Baggy pants and tops can make you look heavier.)


When it comes to dressing for your specific body type, you’ll want to consider the rise of your scrub pants. Fuller figures look excellent in high-waisted styleswith straight legs, while petite figures are visually lengthened by low-rise pants.

Your torso length is another factor to consider when choosing scrub bottoms. High-rise pants are particularly good for concealing any excess weight in the stomach area.


Finally, you’ll want to choose pants with a waistband that suits your preferences. We offer a mix of elastic, fold-over and drawstring waists for a customized fit that accommodates your specific needs.

Pro tip: We recommend that you keep your pants right around ankle length to prevent falls.

Choosing Design Details


White and blue are classic color choices for scrubs, and these two hues are likely to work with any professional dress code. That being said, white scrubs are not the most practical choice for the ER or maternity wards. Dark neutrals are always a smart option for most nurses, although bright designs can work especially well in pediatrics.


Solid hues are ideal for everyday wear, but don’t be afraid of keeping a few printed tops on hand to showcase your personality. From feminine florals to seasonal patterns and holiday scrubs, these designs are a wonderful way to customize your nursing uniform. Just keep your scrub pants, socks, medical accessories and shoes simple in order to balance the overall look.

Pro Tip: When choosing a printed scrub top, go for styles that feature color palettes you wear on a regular basis to maximize your options.

Awareness Scrubs

Wearing the same basic scrubs each and every day can get a little boring, and awareness scrubs are a perfect solution for upgrading your rotation in a flash. These designs let you support causes that are near and dear to your heart, like breast cancer research and autism awareness. Stock up on these styles to show your patients and their families your unwavering support.


Custom embroidery is a wonderful way to personalize your work uniform with your name and credentials. If your facility requires you to wear a name badge, then you’ll want to opt for plain scrubs instead.

Pro tip: Decorative embroidery (like stitched necklines) can draw attention away from problem areas for a slimming effect.

Choosing Functional Features


If you carry around a lot of medical gear — and you probably do! — then you’ll definitely want to look for scrubs that are designed with multiple pockets. Cargo pants are a perfect solution for keeping everything you need right within reach, while patch pockets are a convenient storage spot for small medical instruments and cell phones.


Many nurses prefer 100% cotton scrubs thanks to their breathability, but synthetic scrubs have their own benefits, as well. Synthetic fabrics tend to have moisture-wicking technology, soil release and stretch for a flattering fit and comfortable all-day wear.

Care Instructions

Nurses are busy enough without having to follow special washing instructions on care labels. Simplify your life by choosing low-maintenance scrub tops and bottoms that are machine washable, wrinkle-resistant and tumble dry.

Certain design details can greatly enhance your overall comfort on a day-to-day basis. Be on the lookout for the following design features:

  • Stain resistance
  • Wrinkle resistance
  • Moisture-wicking technology
  • Double- and triple-stitched seams
  • Body darts for superior shaping
  • Dropped shoulders
  • Tagless scrub tops
  • Side slits for venting and easy pocket accessibility

What do you look for in your nursing scrubs? Keep the conversation going in the comments section below!

The post What Nurses Should Consider When Choosing Scrubs appeared first on Lydia's Scrub Life Blog.