What To Wear Under Scrubs?
January 23, 2021
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(This post about what to wear under scrubs contains affiliate links.  See our disclosure page for more info).

Many nurses and other medical personnel appreciate the gift of wearing medical scrubs to work for each shift. And who can blame them?  After all, scrubs are as comfortable as a set of pajamas, and they take the guesswork out of what you should wear at work each day.  They can also save you a lot of cash that you would otherwise spend on clothing over time.

Some medical institutions require that you wear a specific color and brand of scrubs.   This can offer additional benifits – both for staff and visitors.  Assigned scrub colors help patients and other staff understand what you do.  For example, when I was a nurse at UCLA Medical Center, all of the nurses wore navy blue,  the CNAs wore army green, our ER techs wore bright blue, and anyone who worked in radiology wore brown.   Assigning a scrub color helps patients and family members to know what you do when you walk into their room, which can help alleviate a lot of confusion.

At the medical spa I work at now, all nurses wear Figs scrubs in black (side note, the FIGS jogger scrubs are the best scrub pants I have ever worn!).  Patients automatically know who the clinicians are, and it gives the office a more professional, streamlined look.

Needless to say, scrub uniforms are great for many reasons.  But unfortunately, they don’t leave a lot of room for individuality.  You may even begin to feel you are lost in a sea of medical staff, and after a while, that might feel a little boring.

But there are other ways to project your own style that are both functional and fashionable.   And it may also help you out if you are wondering what to wear under scrubs in winter when it’s cold on your commute into your 6 am shift.

 

What do nurses wear under scrubs?

There is a common term that nurses and other medical professionals use to explain what they wear underneath their scrub uniforms, and that is “underscrubs.”

Underscrubs are exactly what they sound like they would be – clothing designed to be worn under medical scrubs.  They are often as comfortable as the scrubs themselves, durable to last hundreds of washes (depending on the brand), can add a flair of color, and will keep you warm in the coldest of operating rooms and medical units.

(Many underscrubs can be worn alone as workout gear.  So, if you work out, you will definitely get your money’s worth on many of these items!)

What do you wear under scrub tops?

 

Underscrub Shirts

One of the best ways to make sure that you have enough under scrub tops to make it through the week without having to do laundry after you get home from a long shift is to buy them in packs of 3 or 5.  That way, you know you will have one to keep you warm when you are at work.    They come in 3/4 sleeves and long sleeves.

 

#1.  Adar Long Sleeve Underscrub for Women (3 Pack)

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#2.  Sivvan 2 Pack Women’s Comfort Long Sleeve T-Shirt/Underscrub Tee

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#3. Neleus Women’s 3 Pack Workout Clothes Compression Running Shirt

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What to wear under scrubs pants?

There are many options for you to stay warm under your scrub pants.  A pair of breathable yoga pants, thermal underwear, or form-fitting spandex shorties are always a safe bet.  You want to make sure that your scrubs are loose enough for the material to fit underneath your scrub pants.  If necessary, you may want to size up a little on your scrub pants if what you want to wear underneath is not form-fitting.

Underscrub leggings

#1. Under Armour Women’s Compression Leggings Pants

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#2. Under Armour Women’s HeatGear Ankle Crop Leggings

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#3. Cadmus Women’s High Waist Spandex Yoga Shorts


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What to wear under white scrubs?

In all honestly, white scrubs have never made a lot of sense to me.   Studies have shown that when a nurse wears white scrubs to see a child on a pediatric unit, they appear scarier and even more intimidating than nurses who wear colorful scrubs with cartoon or holiday themes.   Not to mention that they also clearly display every blood and bodily fluid stain, which looks pretty gross from a patient’s perspective.

Even more importantly, though, depending on the material, white scrubs can sometimes show your underwear!  If that is the case, you want to wear something neutral, so underneath won’t show through.

Even though white scrubs can be a pain, many institutions and nursing schools require white scrubs as part of their medical uniform.  If you are in this group, you have no choice but to wear them for the foreseeable future.   But the good news is that there are still options that you can wear under your scrubs to stay warm and be comfortable.

A white underscrub will help keep you warm without breaking the rules.  But if your workplace or school allows it, consider a colorful underscrub so you can stand out from your peers.

 

#1.  Adar Underscrubs for Women 3 Pack – White Long Sleeve Underscrub Comfort Tee 

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#2. Adar Underscrubs for Women Multi-Color 3 Pack – Long Sleeve Underscrub Comfort Tee


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Compression Sleeves

Since my early nursing days, I have been a big fan of compression socks when I worked as a novice nurse on a neuro/trauma unit.  Unfortunately, I didn’t start wearing them religiously underneath my scrubs until the middle of my first pregnancy.

There is something about compression sleeves that I like even more than compression socks –  I think they provide more compression.  And I also wear them when I work out go running as well!

 

#1.  Compression Calf Sleeves (20-30mmHg)

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#2.  Purple Compression Sleeves (Many Other Colors Available!)

 

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Compression Socks

The most obvious thing that you might expect a nurse to wear underneath their scrubs is compression socks.   You can find them in all different colors and patterns, ranging from the silly (like bugs bunny or polka dot) to festive (like Halloween or Christmas themed), and everything in between.

I rarely see a nurse in a boring pair of compression socks.  Why would they, when it is one of the few ways medical workers can bring some unique style to their medical uniform?

 

#1.  Compression Socks For Women

 

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In conclusion

I hope this article helped you answer the question, “What do I wear under my scrubs?”  One final tip you might find helpful is to bring your scrubs with you to the store so you can try your underscrubs on with your uniform before you commit to buying.

If you are ordering online (and who isn’t these days), try them on with your scrubs before removing any tags.  You don’t want to wear them to work before realizing that they don’t fit right or aren’t comfortable, so you can return them if necessary.

Additional recommended reading:

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