The Evolution of Healthcare Fashion: How the Industry has Transformed from Male-Dominated Apparel to Empowering Women

Updated on August 12, 2021
Female Doctor Wearing Scrubs In Hospital Corridor Using Digital Tablet

By Tupita Demirdjian, Director of Merchandising & Creative Design, and Darryl Williams, Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Creative Design

The healthcare fashion industry is constantly evolving. From white nurses’ dresses and simple street clothes protected by aprons, healthcare fashion has evolved to scrubs and lab coats in today’s medical setting. With new materials, fits, and features being introduced into medical professionals’ uniforms daily, those behind the design of healthcare garments are tasked with discovering the qualities healthcare providers need in their personal protective equipment. 

Originating in the operating room, scrubs were first developed to show patients how clean their doctors or nurses were – white clothing with no stains indicated a sterilized setting, and therefore, fewer chances of infection. Once electricity became more common, however, all-white clothing combined with bright lighting and sunlight caused eye strain. 

While maintaining femineity in  nurses’ uniforms was deemed a cultural necessity at the time, society soon realized that keeping female healthcare professionals in tight dresses that restricted movement was no longer practical. Aside from the fit, the eye strain patients and professionals alike were experiencing due to the bright white uniforms was getting to be too much to bear. Inadequate uniform qualities like this began to add up fast, jumpstarting the transformation of healthcare fashion.

Just as uniforms were changing from white to green, by the time the 80s came around, uniform manufacturers like Landau began to understand the untapped potential in this market. Soon, brands began to introduce scrubs in fashion-focused colors and print designs that granted healthcare professionals the opportunity to express themselves through the uniform they’d wear daily. 

With some innovation born out of safety, and other modifications arising from creativity and uniqueness, scrubs have transformed to protect healthcare workers while on the job, and be more than just a uniform while doing it. 

From moisture-wicking fabrics and strategic pocket placement to flexibility and fit, today’s leading scrub manufacturers and designers often pull inspiration from trendsetters in the fashion world, athletic performance apparel, or “athleisure” brands. Styles today make it easier for medical professionals to do their jobs, and when brainstorming new prototypes, scrub designers keep the logistical needs of those who will actually be wearing the product top of mind. 

There is no doubt that consumer buying behavior has evolved over the years. People want to invest in a brand that they believe in. One that understands what is important to them and whose values align. When it comes to the fashion industry, regardless of the niche, consumers want to buy clothing that makes them look and feel good. They want to feel empowered, confident, and ready to take on whatever challenges the day may face. 

No other industry professional deserves that more than today’s healthcare professionals. More importantly, scrub manufacturers need to be inclusive and offer a variety of styles that cater to the different types of consumers. 

This means comfortable and consistent style and flattering fit, with inclusive sizing offering options from XS to 5XL, petite to tall, and every shape and size in between. In addition, engineering that allows for the full range of movement needed to get the job done- all of which we were sure to include in our Urbane Scrubs brand.

Having worked alongside healthcare professionals for more than five decades, the Landau and Urbane family understands and sees the growing demand for this. 

Like many other industries, the demands of the healthcare industry will never stop changing, and right alongside it will be the fashion industry. There will always be new trends and new tasks, and with these new developments remains untapped potential for uniform modernization. The one staple that will never change, however, is that each new line created will always begin with the same basic notion: a refusal to define individuals by age, race, ethnicity, identity, body type, or specialty. 

About Landau Uniforms, Inc.

At Landau, our family started crafting quality scrubs more than 55 years ago. After pioneering the healthcare uniform market, we’ve never stopped seeking out ways to improve it. It’s the main reason why the Landau Family of Brands has been around for such a long time: we make quality scrubs the right way from the very best materials available. 

Our Urbane Scrubs brand aims to make professionals feel confident and strong – all day long. That is why we have designed our scrubs with style-conscious, empowered women in mind. With fresh styles that never get in the way of function, Urbane is distinctively designed with the special features you love— flattering details, pockets to spare — all in a full spectrum of colors. And while Urbane offers something for everyone, each style celebrates the individuality of the people wearing it. 

We stand behind every stitch of every garment we make. If it’s part of the Landau Family, it’s made to fit and made to last. We’re willing to bet our name on it.  

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.