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Underneath It All: A Complete Guide to Scrub Undershirts

scrub undershirts: doctor and a nurse

Layering is an essential part of dressing, whether for work or play. Ask any outdoor adventurer, and they'll tell you the key to comfort — no matter how cold or warm it is outside — is dressing in layers. The most experienced among them know which materials hold in body heat to stay warm and understand which properties allow the skin to breathe.

We're not saying that working a 12-hour shift is like climbing a mountain — it just feels that way some days. Working in a hospital is demanding and the pace changes quickly, so you need to be prepared to change with it. That’s where scrub undershirts come in. 

What are Scrub Undershirts and Why Wear Them?

Undershirts or underscrubs refer to any garment worn underneath your scrubs. Back in the day, undershirts created a buffer between thick scratchy scrub tops and your skin. Thankfully, scrubs have come a long way since then. Today’s undershirts provide wearers a stylish base layer that creates warmth and keeps you fresh and dry while covering and protecting your skin. 

Scrub Undershirts Keep You Warm or Cool

“You're hot then you're cold.” Those words are so much more than Katy Perry lyrics — she probably had co-workers who sabotaged her productivity by constantly changing the thermostat. It’s safe to say that some people should not be in charge of indoor temps.

Wearing the right undershirt solves this problem whether you’re naturally hot or sensitive to cooler air. Underscrubs made with technologically advanced fabrics create ventilation, wick away sweat, and regulate your temperature without adding bulk.

Scrub Undershirts Keep You Protected

Blood, vomit, and urine, oh my! As a nurse, not only do your working conditions change rapidly, but things can go sideways quickly when you get an unexpected “gift” from a patient. 

An undershirt can provide an additional buffer between you and the inevitable occupational hazards that end up on your lab coat, scrub shirt, or worse — your bare skin. Without missing a heartbeat, an undershirt allows you to slip off your top layer and get right back to work.

Scrub Undershirts Keep You On-Trend

More and more hospitals are turning toward color-coded scrubs. As if your choices weren't already limited, now you have to abide by a dress code. If your policy allows, wear a contrasting color or jazzy print undershirt beneath your scrub top to have a little fun with fashion. Here are a few couture color combos for inspiration:

Wine Scrub Sets

Choose an undershirt in complementary shades like dark blue, navy, and violet. For contrasting colors, consider lime green, gray, teal, or turquoise. 

Royal Blue and Navy Scrubs

Royal blue and navy look insanely good next to almost any hue. For an unexpected pairing try pink, yellow, gold, red, or purple.

Neutral Scrub Colors

If your scrubs are neutral tones like pewter, black, white, and tan, the world is your oyster. Pick any color you like. 

Scrub Undershirts Keep You In Code

If you're part of a growing number of healthcare workers who have tattoos in obvious places, wearing long sleeve underscrubs may actually help you get a job or promotion. 

While some industries are more "ink-friendly" than others, research shows that most healthcare delivery organizations have policies against visible body modifications like tattoos, facial piercings, scarification, and implants. It’s not the perfect solution, but long-sleeve undershirts could be a quick, short-term fix.

Dress Code, Policy, and Best Practices

There are no fashion rules for accessorizing your medical uniform. However, there are best practices and policies. Before you click the checkout button in your shopping cart, check your workplace guidelines. That's sound advice whether you're buying a fresh pair of Skechers, a Littmann stethoscope, clogs, PPE, or any other gear. 

Does your employer have the same dress code policies for women's scrubs and men's scrubs? Departments within your hospital may have different requirements. For example, you may learn that long-sleeve T-shirts are fine in most areas but forbidden in the operating room. Likewise, Tooniforms are a favorite in pediatrics but not in CICU.

How To Pick the Best Underscrubs for the Job

scrub undershirts: two nurses and a doctor

Unlike shopping for scrub jackets, the selection of styles, colors, cuts, and fabrics for undershirts is vast. In other good news, undershirts are more versatile and cost less than a matching set of scrub tops and scrub pants. There are also fabrics that wick away moisture and sweat, helping to keep you dry and prevent body odor.

Select the Proper Style and Cut

Choose an underscrub tee that reflects your fashion sense and style but also meets the demands of your job and workplace environment. If you find yourself staring longingly at the blanket warmer, consider a long-sleeve or turtleneck undershirt.

Choose a cut that works with your scrubs. If you favor form-fitting tops with princess seams like Keswi's Mira faux-wrap scrub top, choose an underscrub with a contouring silhouette. 

Similarly, choose a compatible neckline. Men who prefer a more classic look might pair a three-snap closure henley style top like Keswi's Ajax henley top with a turtleneck undershirt. 

Curved V-neck scrub tops like Keswi’s Malibu for women, the V-neck one pocket tuck-in, and the Ozark for men expose less skin at the neckline and chest. For this reason, you’ll want to choose a crew neck style undershirt. For deeper V-neck scrubs, choose an undershirt with a neckline that mirrors your scrubs.

Consider the Fabric

When choosing scrub undershirts, consider the fabric. Stretchy, flexible materials provide a wide range of motion and effortless movement. Poly-cotton blends are durable and will hold up to frequent laundering while still being comfortable. 

Need to keep your cool and stay fresh? Choose a moisture-wicking fabric designed to pull sweat away, locking it in an outer layer and letting the fabric dry away from the skin. This process lets your skin breathe and decreases buildup of odor-causing bacteria.

Top Scrub Undershirts for Women

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to have fun shopping. For scrub undershirts, we considered a wide range of styles, fabrics, and colors. Prepare your wishlist — these finds check all the boxes.

Butter Soft Scrubs Long Sleeve Crew Neck Tee

As its name implies, this jewel neckline tee has a soft velvety feel. And while it isn't actually made of butter, the cotton-polyester-spandex blend top combines comfort and performance while keeping you warm and snug.

WonderWink Scrubs Long Sleeve Tee

Made of a rayon-spandex blend, Wonderwink undershirts come in every color of the rainbow. The classic design works with most scrub styles. The form-fitting top provides a close silhouette that doesn't feel bulky under your scrubs. You’ll also love the extra-long sleeves.

Cherokee Infinity Long Sleeve Knit Tee

Made of a rayon-spandex blend coupled with the Certainty® antimicrobial fabric, this classically designed long sleeve undershirt will keep you warm and comfortable during your shift, plus reduce the buildup of body odor.

Top Scrub Undershirts for Men

Not to be outdone by the ladies' selection, there’s a wide selection of stylish scrub undershirts for men.

Advantage for Men Long Sleeve Crew Neck Tee

Made of a 100% polyester mesh knit, this underscrub by Advantage provides high-quality air flow and moisture-wicking. The combination of high-performance fabric and classic style makes it a go-to when a long shift is on the agenda.

Cherokee Workwear Professionals Long Sleeve Scrub Tee

This slim-fit crew neck undershirt is pure style. The rayon-spandex blend provides comfort, fit, and practicality.

Skechers by Barco Men’s Crew Neck Tee

Made with a rayon-spandex blend, this undershirt features a crew neckline and modern fit. This new arrival provides a comfortable and dependable option for work and all the living that happens after.

Scrub Undershirts and Beyond

The jury's out on whether it's still OK to wear scrubs in public. However, the undershirts we've featured here easily pass for modern streetwear. This is an enormous plus because working a 12-hour shift is only part of your day.

Of course, choosing the right scrub undershirt isn't the most critical decision to make. It won't give you superpowers. But it will keep you looking sharp and feeling comfortable while you’re busy helping others. To complete your look, be sure to browse the full selection of Keswi’s premium scrubs that are built to last, offer supreme comfort, and feature the softest micro-peached finish around. 

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