What To Wear Under The Lab Coat: Fashion Considerations

A Dr-James lab coat will help you look and feel good in your lab, hospital or operating room, but even with designs that fit perfectly, you might still be wondering how you can make the white lab coat look more like “yours.” How can you make a statement? How can you maximize that sense of status behind the white? How can you ensure you feel not only professional, but confident that you look your best?

In this article, we’ll take a look at what you can wear with and underneath your lab coat to help you stay trendy and fashionable while keeping safe and productive. In a later article we’ll focus on safety and function; but for now, the name of the game is fashion.

What you can wear with the coat

At first, you might look to accessories to help your style look like “you.” Especially if you’re fond of watches or jewelry, or have a killer tie collection, this might seem like a no brainer. Make sure to check with your dress code before you jump to this solution, however, as many workplaces and schools won’t allow certain accessories included in your attire. Heavy jewelry and watches can obviously get in the way of work, and anything that could dangle might be dangerous in some environments.

If these kinds of accessories aren’t viable options for you, there are still other ways to accessorize. Personalized equipment—a nice stethoscope or personalized protective attire, for example—can be a great way to set your ensemble apart from those of your colleagues. Getting your lab coat embroidered can be another way of making sure that white lab coat stands out at yours—you did earn it, after all. It’s also a good way of making sure nobody grabs your lab coat by mistake. Think about your monogram for starters.

Of course, accessories aren’t the only way to claim your own lab coat “look.” What goes underneath can be just as expressive as what goes along the fringe.

What you can wear underneath the coat

Again, the first thing you need to do is check your dress code and see what you’re allowed to work with. You might be limited to just scrubs underneath, and that’s just fine: scrubs come in all sorts of colors and designs. You can easily find prints that range anywhere from basic and bland to flattering and formal, to even just festive or fun.

If you aren’t limited to scrubs, then you’re probably open to many, many more possibilities, which can either exciting or daunting—or both!

We’ll get more into safety and efficiency later, but they do play in here with what’s reasonable to wear underneath your white lab coat. Depending on what you’ll be doing and what your surroundings will be like, you probably want to leave the elegant dresses and expensive shirts at home. Even if you aren’t dealing with hazardous substances, if your environment requires you to have a lab coat on then there’s a good chance there’s something around that’s good at spilling and staining those fabric coats. If you’d feel terrible about a particular article of clothing getting ruined at work, you probably shouldn’t wear it under your lab coat—no matter how risk-free you think your schedule is that day.

Leaving the pricey attire at home doesn’t mean you can’t put together a classy sub-coat outfit, though! A simple dress, a dress shirt and slacks or khakis, boots, and even vests—you still have loads of ways to dress well without running the risk of damaging those special outfits.

And considering that lab coats cover most of an outfit up anyway, a special trick you can play is to use especially nicely-collared shirts. A collar folded right up to or over the edge of your coat neck is an invitation to include a pop of color, so don’t be shy.

And while we mentioned that accessories aren’t always the greatest idea, not all accessories are made equal—not all of them are destined to get in the way. And if you are saving money on Dr-James designer lab coats, some of those funds can go into accessories that you don’t have to feel bad about if something does happen to them. A nice pen to scribble prescriptions, or a nice scarf to tie around your neck, or a new set of reading glasses—you get the idea. These items probably won’t follow you all the way to the lab or examination room, but they can still alter and personalize your look while you’re doing desk time.

It’s easy to get caught up in personalizing your lab coat style. And while we aren’t focusing on safety just yet, we can’t ignore it either. Long, flowy sleeves might be your style, but they definitely should not be around any hazardous substances. Tight, fitted sleeves are your best bet, and avoiding long sleeves altogether might be even better.

Treating your workplace like the eternal winter might be helpful, too; labs get hot and hospitals get cold, so wear thin layers. If you ever get too hot, you can just take off a layer, and if you ever get too cold you can throw on another layer. If your lab or workplace requires goggles, you can see if safety glasses instead are also permitted by your dress code. If they are, they can often be a much more fashionable alternative to clunky, standard laboratory eyewear.

And, of course, there’s always hair! If your hair is long enough to be worn up, then it generally will be. Now, this might seem limiting your style, but it’s a small price to pay for not setting your hair on fire or something along those lines. And with hair ties, headbands, barrettes and the works, now we’re talking a whole new sub-world of accessory options.

As flattering as your stylish lab coats from Dr-James will be, wearing the same coat or coats over and over again seems destined to monotony—but it doesn’t have to be. What you wear underneath and with your lab coat can help you look and feel your best every day. Nobody ever said you have to completely sacrifice your fashion for safety. It’s just a matter of thinking through your environment and knowing where to find the options best suited to it!