The fact that we can even ask about the different types and styles of scrubs for nurses is a little mind-blowing when you consider the evolution of nurse’s uniforms.

Until the 19th century, nuns took care of the sick. When Florence Nightingale codified nursing, the “uniforms” that nurses typically wore were still a variation of the nun’s habit.

Fast forward to the 70s and 80s as scrubs started being more widely worn by various healthcare professionals, including nurses.

By the 90s, it was common for nurses to wear scrubs. Scrubs are simpler, easy to clean and disinfect, sturdy and comfortable while still looking professional.

Today, not only do nurses get to wear scrubs instead of a complicated uniform, there are way more styles, cuts, designs, and colors to choose from than the baggy, boring old light green OR scrubs.

You’ve got choices and we’ve made a list of all the different styles of scrubs available.


Scrub Tops


Most scrub tops are all variations of the one-piece, short-sleeved pullover tunic with small differences. What really sets them apart is the cut.


Classic Cut

The classic cut scrub top is the traditional scrub type that’s a bit roomier and fits somewhat looser. They’re usually a few inches below the waist in length and will have longer short sleeves.


Modern Cut

Most of the scrubs brands have concentrated on the modern cut which fits more snug from the waist to the underarm for a “fitted” look. They’re usually a bit shorter than the classic length and have shorter sleeves.

This cut works well for small to thinner body frames and some may find it too tight or restrictive.


Men’s and Unisex Cut

Men’s scrub tops will have more room across the chest and back. They tend to be a bit longer and have larger armholes with longer sleeves. They have a straighter fit and aren’t tapered like the modern cut tops.

Some prefer wearing men’s cut scrub tops because they’re roomier. So if you’d like to check out the best scrubs for men, look here.

Different styles:



Just about all scrubs have a V-neck or variation of V-neck.


Round Neck

Some nurses prefer the round neck as it gives you better coverage, less exposure.



Not all scrub tops have pockets, but some may have as many as three, plus pen holders and equipment loops.


Mock Wrap

Mock wraps give you that wrapped look, with the functionality of a full top. Some may just have a mock wrap cut; others may have a tie at the waist. Many maternity scrubs are mock wraps with the ability to let out some space around your stomach for a better fit.


Snap Or Button Closure

There are scrub tops with snap and button closures. Just a different design that’s good for wearing clothing under.

For the most part, scrub tops only differ in the three cuts – everything else is just extra. Now where you will see some real differences is between the scrubs pants.


Scrub Pants


You get choices when it comes to scrub pants. Do you want to go for comfy yoga-style pants or cargo pants with extra pockets? The pants will also be different for each cut:

scrub top and pants


Classic Cut

Classic cut scrub pants will usually be a drawstring closure or elastic band. They’ll be mid-rise and sit right at your natural waistline with a relaxed fit through the hips, seat, and thighs, hanging straight over the knee.


Modern Cut

These are slimmer through the hip and seat and fitted through the thigh with a tapered look. They sit lower, below the natural waistline. They’ll typically have a tapered leg or may have a slight flare cut.

Different Styles:


Classic Style

The classic scrub pants come with a drawstring closure. They have a relaxed, loose fit and straight leg. Just like pajama bottoms and just as comfortable.


Yoga Style

The athleisure wear revolution has reached scrubs. Now you can get scrub pants that have the wide elastic band and drawstring tie plus that comfy stretchy feel of yoga pants. Commonly boot cut.

Great for both comfort and nurses who need the flexibility for action.


Cargo Style

Need more pockets? Try a pair of cargo scrub pants. Some have as many as 5 extra pockets with equipment loops.

Another good feature is that they feel and look more like regular pants, while still being stretchy and comfortable.


Jogger Style

You could go from the hospital to the gym without having to change into a pair of joggers. Another style is taken from athleisure wear, the jogger usually has a wide elastic band at the top (maybe a drawstring).

They have a tapered cut, fitting snugly and ending with an elastic band at the ankles.


Today, nurses have choices when it comes to their scrubs uniforms. Do you want comfort or style? More pockets or sporty performance? Are you looking for the best scrubs to keep you warm, we have some tips for you.

Whichever type of scrubs you choose, you’re going to have choices that fit well, perform on the job, and make you look good while you’re doing it.

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