Medical Professionals – What do you wear under your white coats?

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    I don’t know how many ladies here wear white coats at their jobs, but I want to know what you are wearing!

    Do you find yourself wearing dresses or skirts, or pants more often? And what about footwear? I know some doctors who wear dresses and heels every day and it amazes me!

    Personally, I would LOVE to buy all of these cute blazers and jackets I see, but I feel like it is a waste because I can’t wear them on a day to day basis. And the same goes for pencil skirts that have any sort of slit, I worry that they aren’t professional enough.

    I am a medical student starting clinical rotations soon so I am trying to be choosy when I pick clothing purchases from now on, so that I buy clothes that I can wear to work for many years!

    I want to know how you all are balancing being fashionable while having to wear the white coat, and how you think wearing it has influenced your style!



    Outfits I’ve noticed from doctors I’ve shadowed:

    Sheath dresses and matching jewerly
    Blouses and pants
    I don’t think many wear heels… maybe flats or very short chunky heels. Too much walking.

    I’d rec. knee-length dresses where the bottom is loose enough (A-line) to move around in.

    And, of course, scrubs. The most fashionable of options.



    I love the blog Franish. She’s a medical professional and fashion blogger!



    Hey! Another med student here. 🙂 I wear pretty typical “business casual” underneath I guess. Some of my favorites are dress pants from Loft, ankle pants from Target, paired with a nice blouse or button-up shirt. I also have a few pencil skirts (in black, burgundy, and green) that I wear frequently. I rarely wear dresses, mostly because I have a lot of fit-and-flare shaped dresses that I think look funny with my white coat. A sheath dress looks nice under the short coat though, in my opinion. If you’re worried about looking professional it helps to throw on some tights.

    As for shoes, I don’t wear heels in the hospital, but that’s just my preference. My go-to’s are [comfy flats](, [these clarks]( in black, and a pair of black clogs.

    As you probably know, this can be institution-dependent, I try to be a little dressier on the first day and see what others are wearing!



    Med school has put a cramp in my style partly due to empty wallet syndrome and partly due to the extra conservative nature of my school.

    I usually wear pants and a blouse (sleeveless in the summer, long sleeves in the winter). I also love cardigans but they’re kind of redundant under the white coat and blazers are rarely seen on anyone here for daily work. Paired with some comfy loafers or flats and I’m set. If you choose to buy dresses/skirts make sure they hit at the knee or below. Haven’t really seen anyone wearing any heels, even kitten heels, except for one of the derm attendings. Jewelry is minimalist at best.

    One thing to keep in my mind is your weight will probably fluctuate… It just happens during third year between less time to work out and eating junk to survive. I would recommend getting pants with a little bit of extra room if you’re looking for pieces you can wear for a while.



    I’m a physician and I prefer to wear a white coat (many of my colleagues choose not to)

    That being said, the coat matters. I’ve worn Medelita coats since residency and they are well worth it. I’m petite so I wear the Ellody, and I get tons of compliments on it. It doesn’t even matter what I wear underneath it because the coat fits so well-but I prefer sheath dresses with heels (I’m exclusively outpatient and don’t walk that much), or pants and flats. I hated wearing scrubs.

    The short med school coat is unflattering no matter how well it’s designed, so I wouldn’t spend the money on the medelita version, but recommend upgrading once you’re a resident. They’re expensive, but it’s something you’ll (probably) wear every day, and if you’re interested in fashion it’s hard to feel pulled together in the shapeless unisex sack provided free to most residents.

    I promise I have no financial ties with the company.



    scrubs whenever I can.
    otherwise, business casual pants with a blouse. I usually avoid dresses/skirts because hospitals are so cold.
    I wear flats and boots when it gets colder.
    I find it hard to be fashionable bc I don’t want to wear nice stuff to the hospital where there’s definitely going to be someone coughing on me.



    My husband wore a Finlandia vodka embroidered swag shirt he got from shot girls at a bar under his white coat for years – ‘the coat hides the branding, it’s fine.’ Then we got married and I threw it out.

    Still my greatest win for fashion.



    I tend to wear trousers, jumpsuits & usually loose fitting dresses with either dr martens 1461 type shoes or sometimes just trainers. Usually with my oversized glasses. Whilst my personal style could probably be described as chaotic chic; it’s comfortable and none of my patient’s have complained yet.

    Though this is in the UK where we don’t wear white coats



    my mom’s an oncologist- her basic uniform is sheath dresses, a cardigan, skin colored stockings, and heels (~1-2 in); jewelry is a watch, earrings, and maybe a necklace.

    as far as i know, she also used to wear blouses and pair them with nice trousers(?) or pencil skirts- she switched to sheath dresses when i was younger b/c she decided they were less work, haha.

    a LOT of her dresses and 90% of her cardigans came from target’s merona line, when it was still around (she has a pink and white dress from a victoria beckham line at target, i think?). she also really likes boden, and the more professional stuff from halogen at nordstrom (when it’s on sale). she also basically insists on lined dresses, haha.



    I’m an inpatient dietitian and have the option of wearing a white coat. I usually do because I like to have all the pockets! My go-to work uniform is skinny ankle pants (Gap, Old Navy, Target, Athleta), a short-sleeve blouse with a print (Loft, ModCloth, Target), and a cardigan. Once in a while I’ll wear a pencil skirt or a dress. I typically ditch the cardigan if I am wearing the coat. Regarding appropriateness – when shopping, I always like to check how clothing looks and feels not just when standing but also when I sit, bend/lean over, etc. For shoes I love the Dansko Fawna, but also wear other clogs/Dansko styles and occasionally sneakers.



    A friend of mine just talked me through this situation – she prioritises clothes that she could bend and twist in, that could be washed in HOT water and stand up (germs), and shoes she could run in if she needed to. Seemed sensible to me!



    I wear mostly uniqlo ankle pants and their blouses, which don’t need ironing.

    I don’t worry as much about looking cute any more as not having to worry about clothing or ironing when I’m on my 7th day of 12 hour shifts, vaguely hoping my dry shampoo is somewhat working has become more important at this stage of my career.



    Blazers under white coats get unbearably warm super fast! I tend to stick with skinny slacks and blouses most days. Sheath dresses look nice as well, especially if you have a shorter white coat.



    As a dentist, I love dresses but it’s hard because I sit on a saddle seat and I spread eagle. I’m my own boss and don’t give a ton of fucks, so I usually wear ponte knit leggings with an oxford and ballet flats.



    (Resident) doctor here. My summer hospital uninform is either midi skirt + blouse, knee-length or longer A-line dress or shirtdress, or loose-fitting pants (usually the silky jogger style that had been in for a couple seasons now) and a blouse. I wear sneakers with 99% of these aforementioned outfits, usually Stan Smiths (I have a white pair and a navy pair.) In the winter I usually wear dresses over opaque black tights or leggings, or a skirt + blouse or skirt + turtleneck over opaque black tights, with either flat black boots or black sneakers. I also have a pair of black Tieks which are my preferred hospital flats when I don’t do boots or sneakers, they are very comfortable and worth all the Pinterest hype.

    I wore boots or my Tieks vs. sneakers a little more often as a medical student because I was more afraid of people caring what I had on my feet, and also because my medical school was in a slightly more conservative area fashion-wise vs. the major city I now live in. In retrospect, I don’t think anyone would have cared and my toes would have thanked me. I think the major difference between medicine business-casual and the business casual that you will see in “how to dress for work” guides is that it is really important to be able to move around, and pencil skirts or sheath dresses and heels are just not that practical if you have to run somewhere or do CPR. Someday if you become an attending who only works in an outpatient office, sheath dresses and heels might work just fine for your life, but when you’re still a student or resident and working in the hospital, take advantage of the looser silhouettes and comfortable shoes that are in these days and wear stuff you can move in!

    Also don’t wear my white coat anymore as none of my colleagues do either, but I’ve found myself missing having those extra pockets, so when it isn’t too prohibitively warm outside I usually wear a structured “coatigan” type of sweater or a lightweight bomber jacket with pockets to hold my stuff. In medical school when I was required to wear it, I definely bought more pullover sweaters and turtlenecks for the winter rather than blazers or cardigans because they are largely wasted under your coat and tend to feel and look bulky.

    One last thing – if you enjoy clothes, as I do, buy stuff that you like to wear to work rather than just throwing on whatever sad biz-cas slacks and sweater you have laying around, because you spend basically all of your time at work when you’re in medicine so you might as well enjoy getting dressed for it!



    Under my white coat i wear a sleeveless shell (my coat is tight in the shoulders, haha), mid-rise dress pants and cole haan loafers. Colors vary but that’s about it.

    If I have a short shift I have a pair of 1.5 inch heels with gold elephants on the heel that I adore.

    The doctor I work under tends not to wear her white coat- but I love her style anyway. She wears “office basics” in weird colors/fabrics. Dress pants in hot pink with dark blue velvet loafers and a matching dark blue top. Props to her! Maybe when I’ve been in practice for that long I’ll have that confidence.



    Second year resident here. I try to avoid wearing scrubs every day because I enjoy having some personal style, though many of my coresidents do.

    I far prefer trousers to skirts though I will sometimes wear knee length dresses or pencil skirts when I’m on clinic. On inpatient rotations I walk much more and prefer straight leg or skinny trousers or cigarette pants that show a little ankle, in navy or black. These are pretty interchangeable with the all of my outfits.

    I try to inject some personality with my blouses, jewelry, and hair. My ears aren’t pierced but I would recommend earrings and necklaces over bracelets and rings, as the latter two can be tricky with gloves. I would recommend medium to darker colored blouses with prints–prints for personality, darker colors because they’re more apt to hide stains (this is especially important on rotations where you’re more likely to run into bodily fluids more unexpectedly, like in the ED or ICU).

    You will see many not-so-stylish shoes on colleagues around the hospital but I personally try to avoid frumpy shoes. The trick is to find something both comfortable and stylish. I like flats with ankle straps, low block heel booties, or stylish looking loafers or oxfords. Although it’s not my style I also have a colleague who always wears very dark wash skinny pants and sleek looking sneakers and she always looks very sharp. Remember that whatever you choose, most hospitals require closed toe shoes.

    Lastly (and I fail here pretty often, especially when I’m sleep deprived) remember that people see the white coat first and more than your actual clothes. Keeping it white and wrinkle-free will always give off a positive first impression. I also tend to cuff the white coat at around my elbows both because I think it looks a little more stylish and because it saves me from getting bodily fluids on the ends of the sleeves when examining patients (it’s gross, and it will happen).



    I work in an outpatient setting and have to wear a lab coat. Because I’m moving patients all day I usually stick with pants and a nice blouse with flats. Or else a shell and a cardigan or sweater. I try to go with brighter or darker colors else all the white washes me out.



    At first I used to really dress up for the wards but now I mainly wear comfy slacks and button down blouses with clogs/sneakers. Sometimes I switch the pants for pencil skirts when I want to feel more girly. Make sure nothing gapes when you bend forward and that skirt/dress length is minimum knee length for comfort in movement.

    Limited jewelry especially in grabby rotations like paediatrics or psychiatry. Subtle perfume because patients can be super sensitive to scents. One thing I would highly recommend is to tailor your white coat! It makes such a huge difference in appearance when it actually fits and shows you have a figure. Some come in “feminine cuts” and are pretty nice as well although they tend to have shallower pockets



    I will say on the few pencil skirts I own, the slit is what helps me be able to sit, not to be sexy. So depending on the material you might have to have a slit in the back, but IMO that’s still professional. Side and front slits less so.



    I don’t live in the US and we don’t wear white coats in Australia, but honestly I think the biggest thing you need to factor in is your ability to move. You don’t want to wear a dress where you can’t reach for something overhead, and it’s literally impossible to squat down to put a cannula in while you’re wearing a pencil skirt and heels. I’d say most of the doctors I see who are wearing your typical conservative business style are consultants.. and they can do so because they don’t do the day to day practical work of the ward anymore. You have to be practical. That doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish, but it might mean flat shoes and an a-line midi instead of a pencil skirt.



    One of my favorite docs wore standard blouse, flared slacks, danskos and a lab coat, but that’s in the ED, so you want some tough shoes.

    I’ve mostly stuck with slacks, a modest blouse, flats. and a lab coat for my clinicals. (I get my stuff from stitch fix)

    Also, check the culture of where you are. Look at what most people wear, go with that. Keep your shit clean, lab coat ironed, and you’ll be good 😊



    I usually wear colourful blouses with short sleeves, I am very warm-toned so bright colours (emerald green, orangey red, mustard yellow) really suit me. I pair my top with a neutral knee length A-line skirt or neutral slim fit trousers. I usually wear a pair of black ballet pumps because I only wear black tights. No jewellery or watches, everything has to be bare below the elbows. If it’s cold I throw on a neutral cardigan but I roll up the sleeves because of infection control purposes



    I am a RN and don’t wear a white coat, but wanted to mention [these]( scrubs if/when you have to wear them. They’re cute (at least I think they are), have different, stylish styles, super comfy, and really hold up well. Seriously way better than most other scrubs I’ve tried on.

    I don’t have any ties to this company, just wanted to share because I assume you’re inevitably need to wear scrubs at some point.

    Good luck!

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