What to Wear Under Scrubs: The Ultimate Guide

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what to wear under scrubs

So you’re new to the nursing game, and you’ve just bought the best women’s scrubs you could find online. Now you might be thinking, “Should I wear clothes under my scrubs like compression shirts or leggings?” There’s no need to worry, we got you. In this article, we’ll guide you through what to wear under scrubs.

How to Choose What to Wear Under Scrubs

What you wear under your scrubs comes down to your working conditions. You need to be familiar with your hospital dress code and the requirements for sanitization in your department.

Don’t get too worried though, most departments allow nurses and healthcare professionals to wear undershirts and leggings under their scrubs.

It’s also essential that you keep yourself as comfortable as possible to perform at your best. Whether it’s hot or cold at your place of work, you need to remain on top of your game. That’s why we put together this quick guide to help you make the right decision when picking out what to wear under your scrubs.

Pick The Right Fabric For Comfort

Comfort is key, and the material of the under scrubs you choose could be the difference between being comfortable all shift or not. Look for a blend of fabrics that offers breathability and stretch, along with moisture-wicking technology, making it easy and comfortable to wear all shift long.

Specifically, these fabrics will include blends of polyester/cotton and rayon/spandex. As you work, you want your sweat to be absorbed by your shirt, not clinging to your skin. You’ll also want a shirt that dries sweat quickly to prevent staining and discomfort.

Keep The Germs at Bay

Try and choose a fabric that has antimicrobial technology. Antimicrobial fabrics are treated with chemicals like quaternary ammonium and triclosan during the manufacturing process, which inhibits and minimizes the growth of bacteria. An added bonus to keep you and your patients healthy.

Tight is Right

You want your shirt and leggings to be tightly fitted but make sure they are still comfortable and flattering. You’ll most likely be working in a sensitive environment as a healthcare professional, so it’s imperative that you keep pathogens away from your patients. A loose-fitting undershirt clothing can cause accidental contact between you and your patient. Also, loose clothing can snag on equipment throughout the day, making your clothing a safety issue.


The key here is to make sure that the color you choose pairs well combined with the scrub color you’re wearing. In a perfect world, you’ll want to find a scrub undershirt that exactly matches the color of your scrub top.

Arm Length of Shirt

Long-sleeved or short-sleeved, this will comes down to personal preference. While long-sleeved undershirts may keep you warmer, the risk of getting your sleeves stained or contaminated is high, and washing your hands with long-sleeved shirts can be a pain. A great middle option is a three-fourths sleeve under scrubs top.


The underwear you choose is also worth taking some time to think over. Make sure that what underwear you choose is comfortable and can be worn for a 12 hours shift. Also, pick underwear that you can’t easily see through your scrub pants and scrub tops.

Scrub Jackets and Lab Coats

Since we are on the topic of what to wear under scrubs, let’s take a moment to talk about what to wear over your scrubs.

Your undershirt might not be enough to keep you warm. This can be the case during winter or even when the air conditioning is running. You might want to add another layer of heat just in case. It’s a good idea to have a scrub jacket or a lab coat. You can wear these over your scrubs.

Many different kinds of jackets will help you stay warm while you work. These jackets also come in a variety of colors to pair with the colors of different scrubs. The benefit of a scrub jacket or a lab coat is that you can remove these layers when it gets too hot.

Like with the undershirt, you want a tighter fit jacket to wear over your scrubs. The jacket or lab coat should add another layer for warmth without restricting any movement that you might need with your upper body. Your jacket’s color should also pair well with the color of your scrubs.

Follow Your Department’s Guidelines And Look Professional

Ultimately, what you wear under your scrubs will be determined by your department’s dress code. For example, operating rooms do not allow any clothing under or over your scrubs when inside. So make sure to adhere to your department’s policies and keep your look professional.

Keep in mind that dressing professionally does not mean you have to sacrifice comfort. Make sure you still choose something comfortable you can wear under your scrubs to make it through that 12-hour shift.

Final Thoughts

What you wear under your scrubs does matter. Remember, keep it comfortable, tight, clean, and professional. If you pay close attention to these details choosing what to wear under scrubs will be a breeze.

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Written By

Stephanie Corrales

Stephanie Corrales is the Founder and Managing Editor here at HeyScrubs. As a former director of a career college for entry-level medical professionals, she offers valuable insights to aspiring healthcare professionals. In her free time she loves spending time with her husband and two children.