There are very few professions that are as defined by a single article of clothing as a doctor. For most, the crisp white lab coat, short or long, is a symbol of knowledge, trustworthiness, purity and the profession itself. That being said, dress codes for doctors vary greatly under the coat, and may not even include it at times.- Dressing the Part
With or without the coat, though, you’ll want to make sure that the clothing you wear as a doctor instills confidence in you and your patients, and that it has the necessary quality and features to back that confidence up. There are essential articles of clothing that will help to do just this, but for each and every one, you’ll want to consider: the policies in place where you practice, if it perfectly fits the professional image you hope to project and the potential patient perceptions to it.- Dressing the Part
The White Coat
Wearing this pronounced piece is beneficial for preventing the spread of contaminants, providing important visibility and distinction in chaotic environments, shaping your professional image and offering functional features for the field. Along with all of the benefits that wearing one boasts, the fact that patients perceive doctors in white coats to be more professional, experienced and friendly isn’t something to be shrugged off. Though there is always the decision of short or long coat, there is luckily no going wrong with either!
Underneath that distinct white lab coat, many doctors will dress in business or business casual attire — especially those with more consultation-concentrated schedules. When worn in harmony with your lab coat, this creates a look that is easily recognizable and respectable. When worn without your coat, this creates a look that is warm and relatable. There’s no going wrong with business attire as a doctor, and no matter how you personalize it, you’ll want your work wardrobe to include the following items.
- For women, this might include a couple of pairs of nice pants, a length-appropriate and situation-suiting skirt or dress, a couple of blouses, one or two nice sweaters and a quality pair of non-slip and non-invasive shoes such as a pair of flats.
- For men, the business attire section of your wardrobe might include a few pairs of slacks or chinos, a handful of nice button down shirts, a selection of ties if they suit your style (though bow ties or tie bars and clips are recommended as a solution to a necktie dangling into or onto equipment and patients), one or two nice sweaters (think sophisticated styles like half-zips) and a quality pair of nice non-slip shoes such as a pair of Oxfords.
Scrubs- Dressing the Part
When business attire isn’t being worn under your lab coat, your scrubs uniform undoubtedly will be. Depending on your specialization, you may even find yourself in scrubs more than any other articles of clothing you own — including the coat! Whether you’re in them sometimes or you’re in them at all times, though, you’re going to want only the best scrubs to support you as a doctor. These sets of scrubs should fit well, feel wonderful, feature deep pockets or instrument panels, allow you to function freely and complement your image fashionably.
Underscrub Solutions- Dressing the Part
Scrubs are commonly comfortable, keep you contaminant-free and keep you capable of doing anything. With that in mind, there are equally common complaints with scrub uniforms. Luckily, all of these can be solved simply through underscrub pieces like bicycle shorts (to conceal underwear lines or resolve lightweight see-through scrubs), leggings (for the same effect as bicycle shorts, with added warmth), tank tops and tee shirts (to cover your chest if your scrubs have a lower neckline or you have particularly noteworthy chest hair, as well as for additional warmth), long sleeve tees (to cover your chest and arms when necessary while amplifying your outfit and offering warmth) and, of course, good underwear (to avoid uncomfortable sweating, chafing or shifting)!
Disposable paper caps are always an option when they’re needed, but if you frequently find yourself in need of them or if you like the idea of them in terms of image, there’s a better option! Scrub caps in similar styles and patterns to your scrubs and ensembles can be found easily in today’s world, and are encouraged for doctors for an array of reasons.
Compression Socks – Dressing the Part
Being on your feet as much as you are has been shown to result in swelling of the lower limbs, along with a host of other issues. Luckily, compression socks have been shown to result in relief of these issues, along with keeping your feet from swelling inside your shoes and causing pressure point pain and blisters. Though you may not see them often, compression socks are available in colors and patterns to suit every style, and can make for a welcomed glimpse into your personality when someone does catch a sighting!
You shouldn’t underestimate just how important a change of shoes is in a more clinical or surgical setting as far as fashion and function are concerned. You will still want to instill confidence in your patient, their family and your colleagues (maybe even more so in these moments), so you do still want your shoes to look professional. The fit, comfort, arch and heel support, ability to prevent sweating, ability to prevent slipping and reliability of your footwear should be number one when it comes to this set of shoes.
Keeping Your Clothing Clean
Though your classic white coat may be an embodiment of purity and cleanliness, it can harbor unwanted contaminants and accumulated unidentifiable stains that will quickly result in it looking (and functioning!) like the exact opposite. For the health and well-being of yourself and those around you, as well as your professional identity, always keep yourself and your clothing as clean as can be. For an added boost of confidence in your clean, consider products like antimicrobial laundry additives or features like stain-resistance from your clothes themselves.
While they’re not articles of clothing, medical bags are accessories to your clothing and essentials when it comes to dressing the part — so don’t forget to grab your favorite doctor’s medical bag, lay your best and most reliable stethoscope over your neck, wrap your waterproof watch around your wrist and clip your cool ID holder onto your chest once you’ve gotten dressed for the day!