As a medical professional who works long shifts in the hospital, it’s hardly uncommon to be sweating one minute during a code and freezing the next as you sit down and chart your progress notes. Hospitals and medical clinics tend to have intense air handling systems to filter the air and keep machines cool. This means your chance of sitting under a vent with a breeze or hanging out on a chilly unit are fairly high.
Wearing layers helps you stay comfortable no matter what the day (or night) throws your way. Underscrubs are great, but you can’t exactly take them off if you heat up (unless you make an extra trip to the locker room). This is where lab coats for women come in. Women’s lab coats are an easy way to warm up and maintain a professional look. Join us as we walk through some of the top tips for shopping for your next lab coat.
Lab Coats for Women: Key Features
Gone are the days of bulky unisex lab coats (unless you work in the OR). Determining your style, fit, and size are essential when picking out a lab coat. You also have to consider the length of the coat, the style of cuffs, and color. Some hospitals have specific requirements when it comes to medical uniforms, including lab coats. But if you have some wiggle room for style — perhaps you prefer a more fitted silhouette or a relaxed fit with a fun pattern — lab coats can be a great way to let your personality shine.
Lab Coat Length
Historically for physicians, the length of your medical lab coat symbolized your length of time as a clinician. Med students or newly graduated doctors wore short lab coats and as your experience grew, so did the length of your coat. This left the long lab coat reserved for attendings and fellows with years of experience.
Today, many hospitals and medical schools are moving away from the lab coat length tradition to bring more focus on their patients. As such, lab coat length is mostly a matter of personal preference these days.
Dickies unisex lab coat is considered three-quarter length, meaning it sits right above the knee. This allows for tons of storage space in the two large patch pockets for your stethoscope, notebooks, and cell phone. If you’re shopping online, most lab coats will list the length, like Cherokee Women’s 36-inch lab coat. Pay attention to length dimensions so you can measure at home to determine where exactly the lab coat will land on your body.
In general, the more fitted lab coats for women and jackets sit right at the waist, fitting like a warm up jacket. A shorter lab coat length maintains access to your scrub pant pockets easily and doesn’t involve unbuttoning or unzipping to sit down.
Solid vs. Prints
Some hospitals require solid color lab coats or jackets, but others allow for a little personality. When shopping for a lab coat, it’s important to consider what color scrubs you’ll be wearing underneath it.
If your scrubs are solid colors — like those from Keswi premium scrubs — wearing a funky print like this Dickies Warm Up jacket will match every time. Lab coats that are seasonal or holiday specific can be fun to break up the monotony of hospital fashion. Ranging from fall leaves to Santa Claus lab coats and every holiday in between, there’s a lab coat for every occasion.
But if your scrub top tends to have patterns as well, be careful that your patterns don’t clash. Chances are you don’t have time to make sure all your clean scrubs and lab coats match before your shift starts, so sticking to a solid classic color like white, black, or blue for your lab coat might be your best bet.
Deciding if you prefer a cuffed sleeve is another feature to consider when shopping for a lab coat. The vast majority of modern lab coats for women have cuffed sleeves like this Cherokee Workwear fleece scrub jacket. Cuffed sleeves are helpful because they keep your sleeves out of the sink when you wash your hands for the 93rd time of the day and they won’t get caught on a door handle or IV tower.
The timeless lab coat, like this Grey’s Anatomy Signature lab coat, has straight cuffs that have their own set of benefits. A non-constricted cuff makes it easier to catch a quick glance at your watch and when they are rolled up if you’re feeling warm, they still maintain their professional neatness.
Your cuff options don’t end there – some lab coats for women have knit-trim cuffs with thumb holes for an even cozier fit. Thumb holes are great if you live in a place with long winters and you wear several layers coming into work. Thumb holes keep your lab coat sleeves from bunching up into your coat (and also keep any snow out of your sleeves if necessary).
On the other side of the sleeve spectrum, ths UA Butter-Soft lab coat has a bracelet sleeve which means it’s a three-quarter sleeve traditionally meant to show off some shiny jewelry. You may just wear it to keep an eye on your watch, steps, or to keep your sleeves out of the way, but it’s a stylish look no matter why you choose it.
Don’t Forget Closure and Collar Preferences
Another key factor to consider when picking out your next lab coat is whether it has buttons or a zipper. But your options don’t end there – you can pick toggle buttons, snaps, or traditional buttons. Snaps are easy for one-handed buttoning and unbuttoning, yet nice prominent buttons give a classy feel. You can also opt for a belted lab coat or one with a cinched waist for a more feminine silhouette.
The neckline and collar can also vary depending on the style of lab coat. Some lab coats don’t have a collar like this scrub jacket with a jewel neckline. Others have a more traditional collar that can zip all the way up to your neck. While a high zipper neckline is helpful if you tend to get extra chilly at work, keep in mind that it can also get in the way of your stethoscope if it usually hangs out around your neck.
Functionality Is in the Details
Lab coats for women can help complete your look both in style and substance. They’re a functional piece of fashion that can be part of your regular work uniform. Thankfully, there are nearly endless styles to choose from. Focus on your preferences to find your next high-quality functional lab coat. Things like cuff style, collar, and length of the coat will ensure you’re not only comfortable but also able to perform your essential work duties.
No matter what aspect of healthcare you work in, lab coats are a great way to stay warm and maintain a professional appearance. Throwing a new lab coat on top of your favorite Keswi women’s scrubs can keep you cozy and ready to take on whatever your shift brings your way. For more ideas on how to find the perfect scrubs, don’t miss our Keswi blog.