What Do Doctors Wear

What Do Doctors Wear

When you think of hospital clothing, scrubs usually come to mind. The ICU and the surgery department aren’t exactly catwalks since functionality is reasonably prioritized over fashion in healthcare institutions.

But what if it was? Patients aren’t required to dress to the nines for appointments, yet, professionals are advised to look the part. 

Simple, conservative, and practical, most doctors opt for minimalism when it comes to everyday wear. It should give off a sense of cleanliness and professionalism without the need for accessories and bold prints.

If you’re still wondering what do doctors wear, there’s no harm in taking inspo from shows like Grey’s Anatomy or New Amsterdam. Consider it educational.

In my comprehensive style guide, I’ll show you what do doctors wear using 14 outfits. From relaxed cardigans to turtlenecks, each OOTD exudes a sense of ‘main character’ energy without the unnecessary drama.

What Makes Up A Doctor Outfit

What Do Doctors Wear

Considering the popularity of shows like Grey’s Anatomy and House, I think it’s safe to assume that you have a general sense of what doctors wear. Professionals usually don scrubs and lab coats, with the addition of gloves, masks, and other essential PPE.

That said, most healthcare workers go for a semi-casual outfit for important meetings and appointments. Some opt to change out of their streetwear clothes when they arrive at work, which bodes the obvious question: what should you wear to impress your colleagues? 

While you may have the credentials to back it up, professionalism is best shown through fashion. Below, I’ll discuss what do doctors wear using 14 different outfit ideas. 

14 Outfit Ideas For Doctors

What Do Doctors Wear

Professional conservatism is often characterized as boring and uninspired. It won’t garner any buzz in the fashion community. That said, there is an essence of timelessness found in plain jane fits.

If you’re keen on keeping things simple and lowkey, this semi-casual outfit can do just the trick.

Composed of a beige trenchcoat, a white blouse, a pair of black trousers, and a set of pointed-toe stilettos, this is something you’d commonly find at clinics if you’re wondering what do doctors wear. Of course, this OOTD would not be complete without a brown satchel to help hold all your notes.

What Do Doctors Wear

There’s a reason why hospitals are often blue. Known to be meditative and therapeutic for both workers and patients, research has shown that this hue is a common go-to for several healthcare institutions.

With that in mind, it seems counterintuitive to dress in its polar opposite: red. From the get-go, this color signifies urgency and danger. If you prefer blush tones, it’s probably best to settle for pinks instead.

Ideally paired with a white tee and a pair of sneakers for comfort, this semi-formal look keeps things subtle yet colorful for workdays. It’s considered a great go-to if you’re prepping for an afternoon of meetings and presentations.

What Do Doctors Wear

I don’t necessarily recommend wearing white sneakers to work, especially at hospitals.

Obviously, this goes against the former outfit, which features a pair of cream-colored lace-ups. That said, you can easily swap them up for a darker alternative to help disguise any stains or debris.

This OOTD includes a black midi skirt, a light button-up, and a matching blazer for a touch of sophistication. Considered the perfect mix between casual and corporate, this “what do doctors wear” contender should rank high on your list of outfit ideas.

What Do Doctors Wear

Some hospitals allow their employees to wear jeans. If you’re lucky enough to be hired in one of these fine establishments, I recommend pairing it with a flattering cable-knit. This outfit is considered the perfect example, as it features a set of mid-wash denim, a green button-up sweater, and square-toe block heels for some added height.

If you’re not keen on wearing white, you can always swap them out for a black alternative instead. Of course, don’t forget to top the look off with a lab coat! 

What Do Doctors Wear

Now here’s an outfit that speaks volumes. Featuring an espresso-brown trenchcoat, a blue button-up shirt, a pair of olive green trousers, and a set of black mules, this OOTD will definitely trigger an “oh, the doctor is here” as soon as you clock in. 

It exudes a sense of professionalism and sophistication, which is partially due to the tailored, conservative fit of the clothes. If you’re searching for what do doctors wear, I’m fairly certain that outfits like these will pop up.

What Do Doctors Wear

Hospitals aren’t known to be super judgemental when it comes to fashion. That is unless you intend on wearing a crop top and a pair of shorts. Conservative clothing is highly recommended, as it provides a decent level of coverage needed for the workplace. 

This outfit is considered a perfect example, as it pairs the iconic lab coat with a black shirt, a pair of tie-up grey trousers, and a set of matching running shoes. Casual, I suggest opting for this fit if you’ve run out of inspo and need something simple yet professional.

What Do Doctors Wear

Of course, this wouldn’t be a complete “what do doctors wear” style guide if I excluded scrubs. If your hospital only considers its provided uniform as appropriate apparel, I suggest going for a classic matching set to ensure a cohesive look.

It’s important to settle for a semi-tailored fit, as baggy silhouettes can often look unflattering and unprofessional. For shoes, you can never go wrong with a classic pair of white lace-ups and black socks for a bit of contrast.

What Do Doctors Wear

Some upper-class institutions call for formal attire. For some, it’s an outdated dress code. For others, it posits a unique opportunity to dress to the nines.

This outfit is no exception, as it features a button-up shirt, a tie, a waistcoat, and a pair of gray trousers to top the look off. Complete with a lab coat, it’s definitely something to consider if you’re the head doctor of your section level. Given the sophisticated nature of this OOTD, a set of black oxfords is an absolute must.

What Do Doctors Wear

Given that I recommended shows like Grey’s Anatomy for fashion inspiration, it would be a missed opportunity to not include an example within this guide.

Here, the dreamy Derek Shepherd is shown wearing a brown polo sweater and a pair of mid-wash jeans. With a casual aesthetic, I highly recommend this OOTD for relaxed shifts. In terms of the shoes, I suggest a set of brown oxfords to help tie the whole look together.

What Do Doctors Wear

Button-ups and tailored trousers are the fail-safes of fashion. It’s a timeless outfit, which is great for those unfamiliar with styling. While you’re free to experiment with various colors and prints, I recommend sporting neutral tones to ensure a level of professionalism.

For instance, this OOTD features a brown collared shirt and a set of black pants. Accentuated with matching oxfords and a leather belt, this option will definitely garner a nod of approval from your colleagues.

What Do Doctors Wear

Corporate wear often borrows from collegiate fashion. Both aesthetics revolve around sophisticated fits and professional garb. Case in point, this ensemble is considered the perfect combination of these two dress senses.

Outfitted with a brown sweater vest, a cream-colored button-up, a pair of matching trousers, and white sneakers, this comfy yet classy look exudes a sense of intelligence and respect, which is what you want to emanate as a healthcare professional.

What Do Doctors Wear

If you’ve ever watched a medical K-drama, you’ve probably noticed that blazers and turtlenecks are commonly worn by the main characters. I can’t provide any exact reasons as to why this is a popular trend, but it’s definitely iconic regardless.

With a tailored fit, this OOTD is all about simplicity. The structured silhouette of the blazer paired with the fitted turtleneck exudes a sense of professionalism, class, and intelligence.

The matching pants help to tone down the intensity of the black shirt. I recommend topping this “what do doctors wear” contender off with a set of oxford shoes.

What Do Doctors Wear

Considered another take on the trenchcoat and pantsuit ensemble, this outfit features a slight variation when it comes to the top. Instead of a classic button-down, the model chooses to wear a cable-knit sweater and a white crewneck tee underneath.

Its conservative silhouette bears a subtle similarity to turtlenecks but in a more breathable alternative. Complete with a matching belt and a set of black oxfords, it’s definitely a great example of the “hot doctor” look.

What Do Doctors Wear

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to swap your Levi’s for scrubs. If your hospital permits denim in the workplace, I suggest this semi-casual fit.

Composed of mid-wash jeans, a brown sweater, and a collared shirt for a hint of professionalism, it’s considered the perfect OOTD for regular office days.

The soft undertones of the cable-knit emanate a sense of friendliness, which is not often the same vibes as the stiff, rigid nature of healthcare institutions. If you want to become a kind and affectionate doctor, this is the look to go for.

What Types Of Doctor Outfits Can You Get?

What Do Doctors Wear

From the 14 outfits I’ve featured, it may be shocking to know that scrubs aren’t considered mandatory in some healthcare institutions. 

It’s worth mentioning that the ensembles above should only be used in scenarios that don’t involve physical interaction with patients, such as filing paperwork or conducting appointments. Surgery, labor, and bloodwork typically call for scrubs for obvious reasons.

If you’re only booked for a casual day of meetings, appointments, and writing medical reports, here are some appropriate types of doctor outfits for readers to consider: 

  • Pantsuits: To help clear any misunderstandings, I’m not talking about pantsuits that are vibrant in print or color. While you’re in the workplace, I recommend neutral tones to ensure a level of professionalism, such as black, navy, or even blush pink. 
  • Jeans and Blazers: If you’re not fond of stiffly constructed blazers, you can easily make do with a pair of jeans. I suggest topping it off with a blazer for a sense of sophistication.
  • Pencil Skirts and Blouses: It’s not the most comfortable OOTD for the workplace, but it’s definitely appropriate nonetheless.
  • Turtlenecks: Can’t be bothered with rigid button-ups? If so, a jersey-knit turtleneck can act as a great substitute.
  • Scrubs: Considered an obvious go-to for healthcare workers, most institutions mandate scrubs as their only dress code.

How To Choose The Best Doctor Outfit

What Do Doctors Wear

Most workplaces offer a strict dress code for employees to follow. Compared to regular 9 to 5 jobs, hospitals are typically very specific in determining the dos and don’ts of appropriate apparel.

Consequently, this leads to a limited selection of outfit ideas, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be creative with your final look.

Some healthcare institutions are quite lax when it comes to wearing casual clothes, which is great if you aren’t keen on donning scrubs every day. 

Doctor outfits are typically simple and sophisticated. Garments like blazers, sweater vests, cardigans, and trousers are often worn by professionals. It’s worth noting that streetwear basics like sneakers and jeans are considered appropriate as long as they’re paired with more classic pieces such as blouses and button-ups.

Given that most workers are on their feet for long periods, it’s important to settle for breathable and flexible clothing. Spandex, rayon, and jersey knits are highly recommended instead of stiff leathers, canvases, and suede.

As previously mentioned, neutral tones and subtle prints are recommended for hospital settings. Browns, blush tones, and greys are considered more sophisticated alternatives to brighter colors, such as hot pink and green.

Of course, this may not be the case for all healthcare institutions. If you’re not clear about what’s considered appropriate in your workplace, I suggest asking your boss or manager for a quick rundown.

In terms of price, I suggest limiting your budget to $200 to help mitigate overspending. It’s worth noting that most casual dressers own a decent selection of wardrobe basics. With that in mind, you shouldn’t worry about getting a whole new wardrobe.

How To Style Doctor Outfits

What Do Doctors Wear

Naturally, accessorization is not a recommended practice for healthcare professionals. Jewelry, scarves, and even press-on nails are considered impractical for hands-on jobs. Additionally, they may endanger the employee, given the grabbable nature of these styling pieces.

That said, there are a couple of ways to finesse your final fit without breaking any dress codes. I’ll share some tips to consider if you’re still wondering about what do doctors wear:

  • Stud Earrings: Hoops can easily snag onto hair and clothing. If you still intend to wear earrings, I suggest studs as a zero-hassle alternative.
  • Scrunchies: Considered the perfect way to add some color to your final fit, I recommend experimenting with various colors, prints, and materials. 
  • Painted Nails: It’s worth mentioning that some hospitals advise shellac nails instead of gels and creams to ensure no chipping.
  • Colorful Socks: Looking to show off your ankles? If so, a pair of colorful knits can help accentuate your Achilles heel.
  • A Different Hairstyle: Braids, buns, and ponytails are often worn in the workplace. Plus, these types of hairstyles can help keep loose flyaways out of your face.

Fashion Tips To Avoid With Doctor Outfits

What Do Doctors Wear

Hospital dress codes involve more don’ts than do’s. This isn’t the time to don avant-garde fits at the workplace, given the fast-paced nature of healthcare institutions. Unless you love getting reprimanded by your superiors, I’ll share some fashion tips to avoid with doctor outfits:

  • Bold Accessories: Chunky jewelry, scarves, and bulky barrettes are not recommended for hospital settings. Plus, they’re considered grabbable pieces, which can endanger workers and patients alike.
  • Complete Streetwear: Oversized sweaters, low-waisted jeans, and crop tops are deemed inappropriate for hospital workers.
  • Open-toed Shoes: This isn’t the time to sport your favorite espadrilles. Instead, you should opt for sensible sneakers or running shoes instead.
  • Stained Scrubs: Hospitals require workers to clean their uniforms before re-wearing them. 
  • Ignoring the Dress Code: As previously stated, some hospitals allow some elements of streetwear while others do not. If you intend to wear jeans, it’s always a good idea to check with your boss first.

How To Take Care Of Doctor Outfits

What Do Doctors Wear

Scrubs and casualwear can be thrown into the same laundry bin. Of course, this may not apply to heavily stained garments, which may require a separate wash. I suggest using a solution of cold water and mild detergent to help get rid of odors and blemishes.

Afterward, you can either opt to air dry your clothes or toss them in the machine for a quick cycle. It depends on the construction and material of your garments, as some pieces call for gentler handling.

Best Places To Buy Doctor Outfits

What Do Doctors Wear

Before I conclude my style guide, I thought it best to recommend some clothing shops worth checking out before your next shift:

  • Everlane 
  • Uniqlo 
  • Aritzia 
  • Nordstrom 

Final Thoughts

What Do Doctors Wear

Sticking to conservative fashion is usually the go-to move for most healthcare professionals. It won’t win you any style points on social media, but again, hospitals were never runways. 

Dressing for the part usually requires some sacrifice, especially for those who love core aesthetics such as athleisure and maximalism. That said, there’s always a way to inject some creativity despite the nuance of stiff dress codes.

From trousers to blazers, here’s to hoping that you now know the answer to the question of what do doctors wear.


Check out some of our other style guides:

What To Wear With Linen Pants

What To Wear To A Bridal Shower

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