How Nursing Changes Your Style

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

As a nurse, the fabric of your life is most likely cotton. It’s a classic fabric that’s comfy and has simple care instructions for the busy nurse. Plus, thanks to our favorite scrubs brands, it’s available in a variety of patterns and styles. Comfortable, easy and stylish—sounds like a win-win-win to us.

We wanted to know how having a career in nursing has changed nurses’ fashion outside of the hospital, so we asked you to comment on our Facebook page. Here’s what you said:

  • “I don’t have a style now. I just wear big, baggy pants and shirts with lots of pockets. Pockets everywhere.” —Nicole L.
  • Anything constricting, jeans especially, take some convincing to get into. I tend to go between sweats and jammies, unless I actually have to get dressed.” —Lyse J. 
  • I no longer care about makeup.” —Jessica R. 
  • I’ve become a lot less likely to wear my hair in anything but a messy bun.” —Jessica W. 
  • It’s hard to choose what to wear besides scrubs! But my style has definitely changed to more functional clothing. Under Armour and Nike. (All other time besides work is spent working out or sleeping, LOL.) Almost no makeup on my off days. So tired after working!” —Sarah C. 
  • Working 12 hours or 16 hours a day [is] so draining. So, I need to pamper myself [with] fashion when I’m off from work. Stay pretty after long hours [on] duty.” —Jam N. 
  • Cute uniforms, even if they cost more. And girly clothes on my days off. Unless it’s a pj day.” —Natasha B. 
  • I totally prefer scrubs over regular clothes.” —Suzy Z. 
  • No makeup; from scrubs to nightgown; and when going out, I keep it simple, except bling jewelry once in a while.” —Mary O. 
  • Pretty much gave up on makeup, pretty hairdos or fancy clothes. It’s some two-minute application of the necessities (mascara and cover-up), a ponytail and whatever is comfy, and I’m out the door!” —Erica C. 

It’s clear from the responses that being a nurse does affect personal style in a variety of ways. Are you a scrubs-all-day-every-day kind of nurse or do you consider the world to be your runway? Tell us about your off-duty style in a comment below!

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


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Terry DiMedio

As a nurse for over 40 years, I began my career loving those white uniforms, white panty hose and white shoes and cap/pin. As I entered management I loved that I could wear dress clothes and a lab coat. Moving forward and or back to the floors allowed for scrubs- loved them. Entering school nursing was a way to rid myself once more of the scrubs. After 14 years of “dressing” for work, I returned to me scrubs- quick, easy to clean, durable, thoughtless and comfortable. I’ll let you know what comes next….always dress for comfort! Mommarn3

judy RN

Funny many of my scrubs are pink!! But in my personal life I hate pink figure that out? i love my skinny jeans sneaks and/or boots with a cute tee is my go to dress when off!

Barbara Baker

I too, started out as a young graduate nurse in my spanking white uniform, school pin affixed, white hose and shoes with my cap bobby pinned to my head. I loved it! That gave way to my work as a super busy nurse in the OR and cardiovascular ICU for 3 intense years supporting my husband and raising 2 babies. We were poor and scrubs were my wardrobe. I felt very different about scrubs in leaving that position. I positively hate them.


After working as an RN for 45 yrs., I initially missed wearing all white from head to toe, as I was so proud of my nursing cap, starched uniforms and white stockings! Dress uniforms then gave way to pants, and eventually everything came in colorful and comfortable scrubs. I haven’t worn panty hose in YEARS, and now work comfortably (and still efficiently) in jeans, tees, sweaters, jackets and Birkenstock clogs or sandals. So liberating!! I also enjoy wearing some jewelry, as that was certainly restricted “ back in the day”, as was the colorful nail polish I can enjoy! My… Read more »

Deborah Smith

I love simple a-line dresses with pockets summer or winter. A few key articles of clothing I can dress up or down, but I definitely make the effort when off from work.

Kiki Allez

I’m a nudist, so when I am home if I am wearing anything at all it is cause for celebration. Scrubs are great for nudists! When we go out it is jeans, boots, and a nice top. I do try at work to have my hair look good and make up is done very natural. I need a little tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone. Nails are short. Being a dialysis nurse, I am constantly gloving up and washing hands or using sanitzer. So, no nice painted nails until I retire.

Becky Cathey

In my earlier days of my career I would do the sweats/yoga pants & t-shirt gig. I still do that most days off now, but my style has changed some. Now that I am in management, and no longer have to wear scrubs I will dress practical. Nice slacks, nice top, some jewelry, with make-up. If I think I am going to be working in the field I will wear scrubs. I have tried to get back into wearing “cute” things, like the wedge boots, and heels, but I struggle. I much prefer my nice loafers, or a comfortable shoe.

Pamela Calimer

As an OR nurse, my fingernails are short and unpolished for 30+ of my 40+ years in nursing. My retirement plan includes weekly manicures!

Denise Rosato

Find most of my colleagues have forgotten how to dress,when we come together for a staff meeting or other outside event ,can ‘t believe how people show up,big baggie jeans,old sneakers,christmas turtle necks and it’s Feb.Come on!


Solo glad we don’t have to wear white anymore! Love cool, vibrant scrubs! After being in nursing over 27 years, comfort is the name if the game for me! Stretchy stuff, like the Logo line on QVC. I try to wear a little eye make-up but its usually gone by the end of the day.

Pam Rossano

Mixed feelings. Dont like to spend tons on clothes. have become practical over the years .love those 30% kohls coupons

Natalie Waltonen

I recently went out with some friends to a pizza palor. I went and bought a new outfit, shoes and make-up. My one friend asks ‘you do know this is just a pizza place nothing fancy, right?’ And yes, I did know that, but this was my first time going outside of work or home in a while and just wanted to feel beautiful. So, I try to do it up big no matter where I am going. It just makes me feel human again!!


I went from white uniforms (ugh) to scrubs & have been a nurse for over 30 yrs.. When I do go out for dinner with my husband or with girlfriends I very much like to dress up… At holiday time you can find me in jeans & a sequin top & nice boots or shoes ..
I think that comes from growing up in NY..