Man with grey scrub and underscrub

Layering Guide 101: What To Wear Under Your Scrubs

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Ever catch yourself looking in the mirror while getting ready for work and thinking your outfit is, well (not to brag), pretty on-point?

You leave the house feeling fab, only get to work and find that the weather has done a flippant 180 on you. You’re either too hot or too cold. Baseline? You’re uncomfortable.

When you work at a medical facility, you know the temperature can fluctuate indoors just as much as it does outdoors, depending on where you live. Sometimes, it’ll be so hot that you’ll need nothing but a light set of scrub pants and a scrub top or T-shirt. Others, you’ll be so cold, you’ll need a long-sleeve tee or crew neck undershirt, not to mention, workplace-approved jackets or lab coats to throw on top of your ensemble. 

They say one of the keys to dressing well is knowing how to layer your outfit. When it comes to scrubs, this couldn’t be more true. But adding additional layers to your scrubs isn’t as simple as a “slap ’em on and go” for the typical medical professional. If you want to layer your uniform without breaking a sweat, read on.

We’ve got tips on what to wear under scrubs and how to be comfortable and look good when layering.

What to wear under scrubs to stay comfortable

Several options for underscrubs exist, both when it comes to scrub pants and scrub tops.

For scrub tops:

woman wearing microrib underscrub

  • Check out long-sleeve undershirts for scrubs. This option is one of the most common types of underscrubs and is usually well-suited for winter. Made of a lightweight, stretchy, super-soft fabric that sits close to the skin, these long-sleeve shirts, or underscrubs, are great for keeping warm on long shifts.
  • Perfect to keep you looking stylish and simultaneously modest and professional, tank tops are also an option, especially if you’re looking for answers on what to wear under scrubs in summer weather. If you’re wearing light-colored or white scrubs and you’re worried about dark-colored underwear showing through, a tank top will work wonders. Doubly so if it’s a touch too hot inside your healthcare facility, and you want an extra layer of protection for keeping those sweat stains from soaking your main shirt.

 

 

For scrub pants:

Man wearing compression pant

  • When paired with a scrub jacket and undershirt, jeggings are a great way to stay warm during the winter, especially if your scrub pants are of the more relaxed-fit, athleisure variety, like our drawstring joggers. Think of it like a pair of long johns, but more fashionable. Just be sure the fabric is not too tight.
  • Compression pants for men, compression pants for women, or biker shorts are also good options. Biker shorts can be made of spandex and are often worn as a type of shapewear under scrubs. They can help you hide heavy sweat stains around your lower torso with moisture-wicking properties. Compression pants offer muscle and joint support without appearing bulky, allowing you to maintain a slimming silhouette and simultaneously find an extra dose of comfort.

Lastly, bonus points go to the undergarments you wear beneath your scrubs. Sure, this may not be the first thing you think of when you’re layering up your work uniform. But to keep those scrubs clean-cut and hugging your curves perfectly, you’ll want comfortable underwear that doesn’t show a panty line.

How to choose the perfect underscrubs

 Woman with white underscrub

Now that you know what type of garments to layer under and over your scrubs, let’s start the search! But how do you choose the right savvy, sleek-looking work outfit, and what are the best underscrubs for nurses, among other healthcare roles? Are there any other factors you have to keep in mind?

As you shop, you should always look out for three things: color, fit and type.

Color

Scrub colors are always important, and for high-quality underscrubs, this idea still holds sway. Your workplace may have specific guidelines about what color scrubs you can buy, or they may require you to wear neutral colors. What’s more, you may want to think about how these colors play off the colors in your other wardrobe.

Do the colors of your scrub layers clash? Are your underscrubs dark, while your scrubs are light? If so, you may want to hold off on pairing them altogether. Even if it’s not underwear-related, dark-colored fabrics can show through lighter-colored weaves and create an unflattering silhouette.

Fit

Choose underscrubs that fit your body’s proportions. In scrubs lingo, this translates to “not too tight, but not too loose, either.” 

That may seem a bit vague, but in practice, this means no dragging pant legs, gaping necklines or clothes that are so tight they show your underwear line. Your undershirt should not extend past the bottom of your scrub top, and the undershirt itself should be tighter than your scrub top, so that you can layer it seamlessly beneath your uniform.

Type

This plays into what we discussed earlier: Mainly, are those underscrubs well-suited for your environment? 

If you’re working in a cold location, will those underscrubs keep you warm? If your facility is hot and humid, what kind of scrubs are you wearing to make sure you don’t sweat so severely that you turn into a puddle on the floor?

In practice, choosing the right type of scrubs is pretty simple. Just wear long-sleeved shirts for cold weather and short-sleeved or moisture-wicking shirts for situations that make you work up a sweat. 

When to wear layers and when not to

 Wine color jacket

Last but not least comes the question of, “When should I and shouldn’t I wear layers?” 

Wear layers when:

  • Your dress code explicitly states that you must wear them.
  • You want to project a modest, professional appearance.
  • You often tend to feel cold.
  • You do a lot of bending over or reaching above, a movement that can make your scrub shirt ride up. The action may expose your midriff. But an undershirt can fix that.
  • If you’re completing high-intensity tasks, wear underscrubs that protect your main outfit from your sweat.

 

Do not wear layers when:

  • Your dress code explicitly forbids them.
  • The underscrubs cause you to sweat excessively.
  • The underscrubs clash with the scrubs you’re currently wearing (yes, you want to keep things comfortable, but a little fashion never hurt anyone).
  • The layers of those scrubs do not fit you properly. If they don’t fit properly, they can brush against unintended surfaces or objects, potentially exposing you to more contaminants.

To learn more about your underscrub options or to buy a set of your own, be sure to check out Jaanuu’s selection of men’s and women’s underscrubs. Here’s to the layers you’ll love!

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