Fashionable Scrubs to Cure Spring Fever

A new season of style and color

By Katy Allgeyer
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Nursing ScrubsIt’s time to break out of our winter cocoons. If you’re as tired as I am of the drab, dull, neutral landscape, you’ll be happy to know that several medical apparel companies have the fashion antidote to the winter blahs. Spring 2008 ushers in a new season of color and style that is sure to make even the most jaded charge nurse smile. Fashion has finally infiltrated the hallowed halls of hospitals everywhere (that means scrubs are no longer as boring as a BP check). Nurses have the freedom to choose great looking styles that reflect runway trends in styling, color and print details. I don’t think we’ve ever seen such a wide selection of fashionable options for the nursing professional as we have this season. Sounds like a reason to party. Let’s take a look at the “party clothes,” shall we?

While cargo pants, cropped length pants, drawstrings and low riders continue to look fresh in the context of fashionable medical scrubs, we’re also seeing cleaner, flat-waisted pants with smoother fit and less bulk at this critical body area. Wide-leg pants are also making news in the medical apparel industry. Crossover faux wrap styles remain popular and longer tunic dresses worn over pants are looking good to us as well. Mandarin-inspired necklines with piping trim are updated when combined with prints, square necks look fresher than crews, and v-necks are still flattering to most figures. We also like the button down Henleys and Johnny-collared tops we’ve seen from several manufacturers.

Jackets range from hip-length zipper front models to longer lab coats, with or without tiebacks, to button-front cardigan styles. Knitted tees for layering under lab coats and short-sleeved V-neck tops have become an important category, which we’ve seen in novelty fabrics as well as solid jerseys. There’s even a licensed line of tees with quotations from "Grey’s Anatomy" printed on the chest, produced by Barco Uniforms.

Nursing Maternity ScrubsBy the way, if you’re an RN with a baby on board, you couldn’t choose a better time to be pregnant as far as fashion is concerned. The new tunic lengths and stretch fabrics are ideal for working nurses with “baby bumps.” Cherokee Uniforms has added two fresh maternity styles to its collection, including a unique maternity top featuring an adjustable drawstring, empire waist, with soft stretchy knit side panels. Their new maternity pant features a soft and stretchy knit comfort panel in the tummy, which grows as your baby does.


Designers take inspiration from nature’s palette this spring. Barco Uniforms launched a pretty new sea green color their designers call “Atlantis” and a lovely shade of misty blue called “Rain,” along with their continuing color story. In their licensed Grey’s Anatomy™ Professional Wear line, Barco offers white, indigo, ciel, meadow and terra earth and sky-inspired tones. At Koi by Kathy Peterson, mouth-watering hues such as “Strawberry,” “Kiwi,” “Banana,” “Orchid,” and “Mango” are as tempting as a tropical fruit platter. Koi is also showing pale pastel shades, and lots of clear medium-bright tones along with classic white.

The latest colors from Baby Phat Medical Apparel are “River Blue,” “Ciel,” “Red Alert,” “Fuchsia Pink” and “Blue Royale.” Designers of this fashion-forward medical apparel line are using color in both solids and in color-contrasted combinations to give a modern edge.


Not into nature? Dickies Medical has added two new colors to their Everyday Scrubs (EDS) line: “Cotton Candy” and “Silver.” The EDS designers take their cue from ready-to-wear runway fashions. Additionally, the Dickies Medical designers have searched past, present and future pop culture fashions for the inspiration of a new line they’ve introduced this spring: the Mod Collection in “Galaxy Blue,” “Vibrant Pink,” and black and white.

Nursing Designer ScrubsFeaturing two new fashion forward tops, a new flare leg pant, and four new pop-art-influenced prints, the Dickies Mod line captures a retro fashion flavor for modern nurses. The flare leg pant is mid-rise with front and back elastic and two back welt pockets — a look that could easily take you from the ER to happy hour at your favorite after-work haunt if you get the basic black color. Contrast piping trim on the necklines and pockets of the Mod tops makes for crisp detail. At Cherokee Uniforms, “Chocolate” is the new black, and their designers have paired “Chocolate” with “Blue Mist,” “Khaki,” and “Pink Blush.”

If you’re a girly-girl, you no longer have to disguise yourself in unisex scrubs. Koi by Kathy Peterson has used a lot of embroidery accents and lace-inspired looks and incorporated them into ultra-feminine styles. From the dainty ruffle-trimmed edges on her “Kerry” top in luscious pastel shades to the tiny heart-patterned, long-sleeved knit “Jenny” tee, the look is youthful and fresh without sacrificing function and professional standards.

Much of the Koi line is inspired by active wear. For example, the notched front knit “Marissa” pant looks as though it might transition easily from daily rounds to yoga class. The “Lindsey” cargo pants also do double shift from hospital to home activities and anything in between. Also from Koi, the “Audrey” top has a shirred, tie-back bodice with a square neckline that comes in classic white or a black and white print.

Cherokee’s Studio Collection is also offering feminine ruffles in its new mock wrap tunic. The tunic features contrast merrow-edge stitching on the ruffle and sleeve, contrast binding at the waist that finishes as a tie back, and front darts for additional shaping to show off your curves.

One of the most exciting trends in nursing scrubs to emerge in the past few years is a move away from mundane solid colors in favor of printed tops, jackets and headgear. Hot trends for Spring 2008 include “burnout” prints such as the new “Geo Roses” and “Fleur de Lis” prints at Barco Uniforms, subtle tie-dyed effects in fruity colors at Koi by Kathy Peterson, and retro surf-inspired Tiki lounge looks for male nurses spotted at Scrubmed.com.

What better way for an RN to express his or her personality at work among a sea of solidly clad colleagues than with a flashy surgeon’s cap? Can’t find one? Animalkingdomscrubs.com has a couple of hundred — no exaggeration — prints on surgical hats. As their name suggests, they cater to animal-lovers, with prints ranging from backyard cardinals to barnyard chickens to jungle elephants and dragons. However, they do also carry more macho themes such as motorcycles, the Liberty Bell and various military branches of service. Also available at Animalkingdomscrubs.com are a wide selection of novelty scrubs that include denim scrubs, children’s scrubs and nurse’s footwear. We particularly liked the “Ballerina Style” shoe by Bermuda in pink, grape or turquoise to go with the feminine styling we’re seeing in the marketplace.

We found several “Divalicious” prints at the Baby Phat Medical Apparel website — in particular, we loved the “Leopard Chic” coordinates and the “Spring Bling” prints with super-slimming, solid side panels.

RNs with a sense of humor know how important it can be to the healing process to coax a smile out of their youngest patients. Liven up your ward by wearing your favorite cartoon character. The Disney Collection of medical uniforms by Barco has a delightful selection of scrubs that feature Disney characters such as Tinkerbell, Ariel (the Little Mermaid), Winnie the Pooh, Kermit and, of course, Mickey Mouse.

Cherokee Uniforms brand also offers a line called “Tooniforms” with characters such as Hello Kitty, Scooby-doo, Betty Boop, Tweety Bird and others. Perfect for nurses who specialize in pediatric wards or those of us who will always be kids at heart, these prints are whimsical yet come printed on very practical styling.

In addition to Barco’s Grey’s Anatomy™ professional scrubs, the company offers a long-sleeved medical tee that comes in several beautiful fashion colors. Made from a soft blend of cotton/polyester, these tees are popular with nurses and fans alike because they are not just plain tees. Across the chest is printed one of five fantastic quotes from "Grey’s Anatomy," chosen by the show’s producers. These phrases include “Seriously? Seriously?” and “Admiring the struggle it takes to be human.” The tees also feature a Grey’s Anatomy™ logo placed on the wrist. The tees look great layered under short-sleeved scrub tops, as well as on their own with jeans off-duty.

A long time ago, some hospitals were as strict as Wimbledon about wearing white uniforms to work. Whether or not that’s still the case where you work, white is a white-hot fashion trend this year. Just because it’s plain white doesn’t mean your uniform needs to be basic. Look for textured white fabrics such as the “White Eyelet” looks from Barco Uniforms, the “Varsity Whites” from Koi by Kathy Peterson, and the “Dotted Swiss” from Cherokee Studio Collection.

Barco Uniforms carries several lines of basic-but-not-boring scrubs. Their “Metroscrubs,” “Workforce,” and Grey’s Anatomy™ Professional Wear by Barco labels all feature solid colors and unisex styles, in addition to junior and missy styling. The Dickies Everyday Scrubs line has continued its classic looks and added a wide-leg pant and a contrast wrap top that allow the fashion-shy to break with tradition in a very subtle way.


Many of the leading medical apparel brands have developed special blends of fabrics that provide better performance both on the job and in the laundry basket. Like athletes, medical professionals require clothes that will support ease of movement, comfort and multiple washings. Some of the qualities to look for are fabrics with stretch, durability and softness built in, such as Barco’s “Duratech” fabric used in their Grey’s Anatomy™ collection. Baby Phat Medical Apparel is debuting its “Livin’ Stretch” solid line featuring their newly developed polyester/spandex performance fabric.

Most fashion scrubs on the market today are wrinkle resistant, so you look as good at the end of your rounds as you did when you first got on duty. Looking good makes you feel good, and feeling good makes you perform your job even better. And that’s never out of style.


ANIMAL KINGDOM SCRUBS, www.animalkingdomscrubs.com (800.419.2535)
BABY PHAT MEDICAL APPAREL, www.phat-scrubs.com (866.217.2782)
BARCO UNIFORMS, www.mybarcouniforms.com/med (800.421.1874)
CHEROKEE UNIFORMS, www.cherokeeuniforms.com (818.671.2100)
DICKIES MEDICAL, www.dickiesmedical.com (866.262.6288)
KOI BY KATHY PETERSON, www.koihappiness.com (800.828.4526)
SCRUB MED, www.scrubmed.com (800.942.8833)
TOONIFORMS, www.cherokeeuniforms.com (818.671.2100)

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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