Essential Guide to Men’s Scrubs | Scrub Pro Uniforms

Essential Guide to Men’s Scrubs

Essential Guide to Men’s Scrubs

"Often overlooked but highly valued, let us just take a moment to give kudos to the male nurses out there. Sometimes called “murses,” man nurses are our irreplaceable partners in the trenches. You know who you are! Nursing is not a profession defined by gender norms anymore! Today, 12% of registered nurses are men, which is climbing! We welcome you!"
Read on for the complete guide to shopping for men’s scrubs!

Top Five Scrub Factors to Consider:

Fabric choice:

The choice of materials affects the qualities of the garment, like how breathable it is, comfort against the skin, stain resistance, color fade, and the “drape” or how the fabric hangs.  Let’s go through the characteristics of the most commonly used fabrics for scrubs:

  • Cotton: It is lightweight, soft, flattering, durable, and does not build up static. It is thin and drapes and flatters. It is a good choice during the summer months. Dyes do fade with washing. They may also shrink if washed or dried improperly. Cotton wrinkles easily. It is easy to clean and doesn’t require any special care. It is most often blended with other fibers.
  • Polyester: Synthetic fabric.  Wrinkle-resistant, easy to care for, durable, and dries quickly.  Resists shrinking.  Moisture resistant, not absorbent, so it tends to trap sweat and heat.  The rougher against the skin builds up static if fabric softener is not used. 
  • Spandex (Lycra, elastane): Yes, the same fabric that leotards are made of.  It is used as a blend to add stretchiness to fabric, usually in quantities of less than 10%.  It returns to its original shape quickly and is resistant to perspiration and pilling. 
  • Rayon: Semi-synthetic fabric.  Comes in many different weights and qualities.  It drapes well and looks silky but not very durable.  It wrinkles easily and may stretch or shrink when wet. 

Did you notice that none of these fabrics is “perfect”?  That is why most scrubs blend two or more of the fabrics above.  The two most common blends are:

  • Polyester/Cotton:  Polyester helps scrub fabric retain shape and resist stains and wrinkles. Cotton makes the scrubs absorbent and comfortable.
  • Polyester/Spandex:  Polyester provides durability and helps the scrubs maintain their shape, while spandex adds some stretch and movement – without sagging!

While the most common, there are other choices.  Some brands are even creating athletic wear/scrub hybrids.

The Length and Taper:

If you are tall or shorter, it pays to ensure your scrubs are hemmed to fit.

  • Too short, and you look as though prepared to wade through high water. Lots of socks are just not flattering. Order big and tall(T) sizes to find the right fit. Use your jeans' inseam size as a reference point.
  • Too long, your scrubs will either be bunched up unattractively at the ankles or dragging on the floor under your shoes. Do you know what is on that floor? If you can’t find the right length, you can hem those right up quickly, or a tailor can do it for minimal cost.
  • Taper refers to the leg width and hang of the scrub pants.  They typically come in a straight-leg or tapered fit.  Tapered pants will fit closer to the ankle and look more tailored. 
  • One other taper option is elastic pant cuffs or joggers.  If you are in and out of protective gear all day or just like their feel and look, joggers may be for you. 

The Cut:

Scrubs have traditionally been pretty baggy and shapeless, not necessary anymore!

  • Fitted cuts are now available, and they have several advantages.  Like a fitted shirt, a fitted scrub is designed to enhance a slim figure and usually pulls the fabric at the midsection. 
  • Look for scrubs with straight lines and accentuated shoulders. A slightly shorter sleeve is also flattering—you must show off those biceps!
  • Let’s talk man-cleavage. If the V-neck goes below your armpits, don’t do it. Consider wearing a crew-neck T-shirt under your scrubs to look your best.
  • Waistbands—Pick the type of closure—drawstring, elastic, button-front, or combo. The important thing is that it moves with you, doesn’t fall, and you like how it looks. 



Pockets are important! You have a lot of stuff to carry, and those front pockets will not do. Most men prefer a cargo pant that keeps those essential supplies handy without weighing them down.
Think about how you like to go about your day. 

  • Do you load up those pockets with scissors, pens, notepads, and supplies? 
  • Do you carry your stethoscope around your neck or in a pocket? 
  • Do you carry your wallet or keys with you for your shift? 

Then, take particular notice of the pocket sizes on each pair of pants – they can be open, zippered, Velcro, or button/snap. Some pockets are explicitly designed for scissors, pens, and penlights. This quick check should tell you if the scrub pant has what it takes to carry you through your day. 
Are you new to nursing, and you don’t know yet?  Trust me, go for more pockets.  Just do it. 

Color Choice:

If you have options at your workplace, there are many attractive colors for men besides navy and black. Khaki, green, burgundy and even lighter colors look good. Get out of your comfort zone a bit and get noticed! You can also vary the colors of matching undershirts to add some variety.
Colors vary widely by brand, so if you are ordering online, make sure you match tops and bottoms within the same brand. Navy is not the same navy in different brands, and surprisingly, neither is black!
Okay, men, now you know the nitty-gritty details about scrubs. You spend a lot of time in this uniform, so it is time you maximize your professional style and comfort. Now get dressed, and get out there and save some lives! 
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Tammy McKinney, a seasoned Registered Nurse &distinguished healthcare writer.
Tammy McKinney, a seasoned Registered Nurse, distinguished healthcare writer, and founder of, is committed to using her medical knowledge to educate, inform, and entertain healthcare workers and their patients. To connect with Tammy directly, check her out on LinkedIn.