Lab Coat Chronicles: From Origins to Icon

Lab coats, those crisp, white garments worn by professionals in scientific and medical fields, have become iconic symbols of expertise, precision, and authority. But how did these seemingly simple coats evolve, and why are they still prevalent today? Let’s delve into the origins and explore their significance across different professions.

The Birth of the Lab Coat

A Brief Historical Overview

The lab coat’s roots trace back to the late 19th century. As scientific disciplines expanded, researchers needed practical attire that protected their clothing from spills, chemicals, and biological agents. Enter the lab coat—a long, knee-length buttoned garment made of durable cotton or linen.

Key Moments:

  1. Early Pioneers: In the 1880s, German chemists and physicians adopted lab coats to maintain hygiene and prevent contamination. These early coats were often beige or grey.
  2. Florence Nightingale: The legendary nurse and statistician Florence Nightingale popularized the white lab coat in healthcare settings. She believed that cleanliness and professionalism were intertwined, and her influence extended beyond nursing.
  3. Medical Schools and Hospitals: By the early 20th century, medical schools and hospitals worldwide embraced lab coats, becoming synonymous with the vocations. They symbolized expertise, and their pristine appearance conveyed trust to patients.

The Symbolism of the White Coat

Beyond Practicality

The white lab coat transcends mere functionality. Here’s why:

  1. Authority: When a doctor or scientist dons a white coat, it signals authority. Patients and colleagues instinctively recognize their expertise.
  2. Psychological Impact: Studies show that wearing medical lab coats enhances focus, attention, and precision. It’s a form of “enclothed cognition.”
  3. Trust: Patients associate the white coat with trustworthiness. It’s a visual cue that reassures them during vulnerable moments.

Lab Coats in Different Professions

Beyond Medicine

  1. Physicians and Surgeons: A doctors coat helps protect against bodily fluids, but they also serve as a canvas for personalized pins, badges, and name tags.
  2. Scientists and Researchers: Whether in a chemistry lab or a biology field station, scientists wear lab coats. The pockets hold pens, notebooks, and tools of inquiry.
  3. Pharmacists: Behind the pharmacy counter, lab coats convey professionalism. They’re also practical for handling medications.
  4. Veterinarians: Treating animals requires protective gear. Lab coats keep veterinarians clean during examinations and surgeries.
  5. Dentists: Dental professionals wear lab coats for hygiene and to maintain a sterile environment.
  6. Forensic Experts: Lab coats are essential in crime scene investigations. They protect against contaminants and preserve evidence.

Contemporary Trends

Personalization and Sustainability

  1. Customization: Lab coats now come in various styles, colours, and lengths. Some institutions allow personalized embroidery or patches.
  2. Eco-Friendly Materials: As awareness grows, eco-conscious professionals opt for lab coats made from sustainable fabrics.
  3. Gender-Neutral Designs: The traditional unisex lab coat is evolving to accommodate diverse gender identities.

Lab Coat Alternatives

Scrubs and Specialised Uniforms

When it comes to professional attire, there are alternatives to the classic lab coat.

  1. Scrubs: In healthcare, scrubs have become an alternative uniform to lab coats. Scrubs are commonly worn by medical professionals, especially in hospitals and clinics. They come in various colours and are lightweight, comfortable, and easy to clean. Unlike lab coats, scrubs are often unisex and don’t have buttons or zippers. They’re practical for quick changes and frequent washing.
  2. Professional Jackets: Some fields opt for tailored jackets or blazers instead of lab coats. These can be made from more stylish fabrics and have a professional appearance. Professional jackets are common in business settings, but they can also work well in research or clinical environments.
  3. Aprons: While not a direct replacement for lab coats, aprons serve a similar purpose—protecting clothing. They’re often used in industrial or culinary settings. Aprons come in various materials (such as vinyl or canvas) and styles (full-length or waist-length).
  4. Disposable Gowns: In sterile environments like operating rooms, disposable gowns are essential. They provide a barrier against contaminants and are discarded after use. These gowns are lightweight and prevent cross-contamination.
  5. Specialised Attire: Depending on the profession, specialized attire may be necessary. For example:
    • Radiation Protection Garments - Worn by radiologists during X-rays or other imaging procedures.
    • Chemical-Resistant Suits - Used by chemists working with hazardous substances.
    • Flame-Resistant Clothing - Essential for firefighters and certain industrial roles.

Remember that the choice of attire depends on the specific work environment, safety requirements, and personal comfort. Each alternative has its advantages, so professionals can choose what suits them best.


The lab coat, once a practical necessity, has transformed into a powerful symbol. It bridges generations, disciplines, and cultures. So, next time you see a scientist or physician in their crisp white doctors coat, remember the rich history and the weight it carries—a legacy of knowledge, care, and dedication. In the grand tapestry of professional attire, the lab coat remains a timeless thread, connecting generations of professionals in the pursuit of understanding and healing.

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The Evolution of Nurses' Uniforms in UK Hospitals

Nurses’ Scrub Uniforms in the UK - More Than Just Clothes

In the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), a nurse’s uniform serves both practical and symbolic purposes. Typical nurses scrub sets - consisting of a tunic top and trousers - is designed to be comfortable and practical for long shifts. But the colours and patterns also identify roles, specialities, and hierarchy in a way that promotes trust between healthcare professionals.

A Brief History

Modern scrub-style uniforms emerged in the early 20th century, when garments were made to be easily washable, durable and hygienic. Traditionally sewn from white cotton or linen, bright white scrubs portrayed cleanliness and sterility. By mid-century, polyester-cotton blend scrubs offered increased durability and easy maintenance. Nurses tunics and trousers replaced strict dresses as more flexible and mobile designs were adopted. In NHS facilities today, the all-white uniform has given way to colourful scrubs adorned in cheerful patterns. Though white remains dominant, the explosion of colour and pattern options allows customization and personalisation for nurses.

Fabrics and Features

Contemporary nurses scrubs are designed for comfort and convenience during long, physically demanding shifts. Stretchy polyester and polyester-cotton blends provide flexibility and shape-retention. Special moisture-wicking and anti-microbial fabrics keep nurses drier and odour-free. Multiple pockets on scrubs tops and trousers keep essentials within easy reach. Many NHS trusts now provide scrubs for nurses rather than requiring them to purchase their own. This helps maintain consistency in appearance and quality across roles. Trust-issued scrub sets are typically color-coded by department or function. For example, nurses in maternity wards often wear pink or purple sets. Standard policies regulate appropriate scrub colours, fits, accessories and shoes.

Customization and Personalization

While NHS policies standardise fundamental elements of nurses’ scrubs, some allowance for personalisation still remains. Nurses may opt for V-neck, round neck or tunic style tops based on comfort and fit preferences. Prints or patterns can reflect individual tastes, within defined parameters. Small embellishments like embroidered names help nurses stand out while still adhering to dress code guidelines. The nurses uniform has become more than just functional workwear. The vibrant colours and cheerful patterns of modern scrub sets lift workplace morale. Nurses take professional pride in wearing attire specially designed for their demanding but essential roles supporting patient health and wellbeing. More than just clothes, the nurses’ scrubs uniform facilitates care, communication and compassion in the UK’s healthcare facilities.

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5 Reasons Why Cargo Trousers are the Perfect Workwear Choice

Cargo trousers have long been a popular choice for workwear, thanks to their versatility, functionality, and comfort. But what makes them so perfect for the job? Here are five reasons:

  1. Plenty of Pockets: The multiple pockets on cargo trousers provide a convenient way to store tools, supplies, and other items. This can be helpful for workers who need to have their hands free.
  2. Fully Functionable: Cargo trousers are a practical choice for workwear, made from durable materials which are more resistant to wear & tear in a variety of settings including mechanics, landscaping and construction, where reflective cargo pants aren't uncommon.
  3. Comfortable Fit: They are typically made from breathable fabrics that allow air to circulate, keeping the wearer cool and dry. This is important for workers who may be working in hot or humid environments.
  4. Versatile Style: Cargo pants can be dressed up or down, making them a versatile option for any work environment. This is important for staff, who may need to switch between different settings throughout the day.
  5. Increasingly Stylish: Cargo trousers are becoming increasingly stylish, and there are now many fashionable options available. This makes them a great choice for many industries who want to look professional but also stylish.

How Cargo Trousers Are Used in Healthcare Professions

Cargo scrub trousers are used by healthcare professionals in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, dental practices and veterinary surgeries. They are a popular choice for nurses, doctors, technicians, and other healthcare workers.

Scrubs cargo pants offer a number of advantages for medical professionals, including:

  • Storage Space: The multiple pockets in NHS cargo trousers provide plenty of storage space for all the essential tools and supplies that medical professionals need, such as stethoscopes, pens, and bandages.
  • Durability: Cargo trousers are made from durable materials that can withstand the rigors of everyday use in a healthcare setting. This is important for healthcare professionals, who may be exposed to spills, chemicals, and other hazards.
  • Comfort: Cargo pants are designed to be comfortable and allow for a full range of motion, especially drawstring cargo pants. This is important for health industry professionals, who may be on their feet for long periods of time and need to be able to move easily.
  • Fit: Scrub trousers with cargo pockets should be loose-fitting enough to allow for freedom of movement, but not so loose that they are baggy or cumbersome like our range of Dickies cargo pants.

Women's Cargo Work Trousers

Women's cargo work trousers are also a versatile and practical choice for women who are looking for comfortable and durable workwear that can withstand a variety of activities. They typically have a relaxed fit with plenty of pockets for storing tools, equipment, and other essentials. Cargo work pants are also made from high-quality materials that are hard wearing, making them a good investment for women who work in demanding environments.

Cargo trousers are typically made from cotton, canvas, or denim. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of ladies combats becoming more fashionable. Many designers are now creating women's elasticated waist cargo trousers that are stylish and feminine, while still maintaining their practical features. This makes cargo trousers a great option for women who want to look good and feel comfortable at the same time.


Cargo work trousers are a versatile and functional workwear option that is perfect for male & female healthcare professionals. They offer plenty of storage space, durability, comfort, and a versatile style. If you are looking for a workwear pant that can keep up with the demands of your job, cargo trousers are a great choice.

Here are some additional tips for choosing the right cargo trousers for medical professionals:

  • Choose a pair that is made from a durable material, such as cotton or canvas.
  • Look for a pair with multiple pockets that are large enough to accommodate all of your essential tools and supplies.
  • Choose a pair that is comfortable and allows for a full range of motion.
  • Consider the style of the cargo trousers and choose a pair that you feel confident wearing in your work setting.

With so many great options available for both men and women, there is sure to be a pair of cargo trousers that is perfect for you. So next time you are looking for a new pair of work trousers, be sure to give cargo trousers a try.

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Grey's Anatomy Scrubs

Back in 2006 Barco Uniforms collaborated with ABC to produce medical scrubs inspired by the popular Grey’s Anatomy TV show, and from this collaboration came what are now some of the most popular Scrubs/Workwear worn by Healthcare Professional across the globe. With Tailored flattering fits, premium fabrics and finer designer details, there’s many reasons why Grey’s Anatomy by Barco is a uniform favourite throughout the healthcare profession, and the top 4 reasons are;

Fashion – These Scrubs are made to be fashionable, and especially curated with healthcare professionals in mind

Fit – Comfort is always one of the top priorities of the Barco brand when designing their Scrub ranges, and Grey’s Anatomy by Barco is no different, made with stretchy and soft materials with lots of added extras for ultimate comfort; elasticated waists, V neck cuts and more

Fabric – The Grey’s Anatomy Scrubs range is ready for anything your job may throw at you, with an unbelievable array of Fabric technologies and features to keep you clean, cool and comfortable on any shift and easy care made to be durable through many washes. Spandex Stretch Moisture wicking Wrinkle free Soil release Soft hand

Function – Any Healthcare professionals’ main concern when buying uniforms is that they function properly on the job, take another look at all of the above points and you can see that these Scrubs are more than fit for purpose and function

Fashion, Fit and Fabric lead to the perfectly functioning Scrubs for all!


We are starting our Greys Anatomy by Barco collection with 4 staple items, 2 tops and 2 trousers;

Emma Scrub Top

Kim Scrub Pants

The Emma Top and Kim Scrub pants are from the Grey’s Anatomy by Barco Spandex Stretch range, made with a 4 way stretch fabric, designed to shape and flatter all body types whilst creating an ultra-comfortable feel

Evan Scrub Top

Evan Scrub Pants

The Evan Scrub set from the Grey’s Anatomy by Barco Classic range; like to keep is simple and classy? Then these Scrubs are for you. Still loaded with all the fantastic fabric features like moisture wicking and soil release


We hope you love the Grey’s Anatomy by Barco Scrubs as much as we do, and if you do we will be adding more to the collection soon! Here at Work in Style we are proud to be partnered with Barco Uniforms, not only do we offer the fantastic Grey’s Anatomy by Barco range, we also have Barco One and Barco Essentials Scrubs on offer, and don’t forget that you can finish off your brand new Uniforms with personalised embroidery, be it a logo or just your name, this extra personalization adds flare to your look and boosts your professionalism on the job

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What Size am I?

Finding the right size in uniforms can sometimes be hard, we like to think we have made it as easy as possible here at Work in Style to get the best quality and best fitting medical uniforms around. With personalised size guides for every brand and measuring videos, it’s almost impossible to order the wrong size, and even if you do end up with an ill-fitting set of scrubs we offer a free return service to get them refunded or exchanged for you asap!

With unique workwear from all over the world, we stock a variety of different brands, each of these brands will offer different products with different fits, this is why you will find a unique size chart for each brand (including our own Work in style brand) on every page;

We don’t use UK sizing, such as 10/12/14 on our uniforms as we find this type of sizing can be very unreliable and does change from brand to brand, therefore we ask you to use your measurements with our size guides, this ensures you are getting a fit personalised to you! We usually only need your Waist/Hip/Chest measurements, and once you know these they will come in handy for you to know when shopping elsewhere.

Have a look at our simple sizing video which will be a handy little guide in finding the size charts and taking your measurements


Need more help choosing the right Scrubs for you? Read our Ultimate guide to buying Scrubs


Are you a student? We also have a couple of measuring guides on our YouTube channel, these are created with University students who wear our Work in style uniforms in mind and will help you to ensure you are taking your measurements in the correct place, helping you to get stuck in on your placement asap!

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