What to Wear Underneath Your Scrubs

When you need to wear scrubs for hours at a time, day in and day out, it’s important to make them as comfortable as possible.

There are some environments which, rightly, have a scrubs-only dress code. In operating rooms, for example, it’s sensible to wear fewer items of clothing, as the fabric has the capacity to carry pathogens. Less clothing supports a more sterile environment, and short sleeve scrub tops keep surgeons’ hands free to move without the risk of spills or contamination. However, on most wards or in other medical contexts, some scrub-modification is ideal. 

Wearing extra layers under your medical scrubs can make them more comfortable, keep sweat away from your skin, keep you warmer, and can even offer you more discretion. It’s worth noting that extra clothing should always have a relatively tight fit, as baggy clothing can lead to trips or snags, and transport pathogens. Yet even with these constraints, there are lots of great clothing options to work with your scrubs. 

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best items to wear under your scrubs, so that you can stay on top of your game.  


Under-scrub tops offer medical professionals and healthcare workers a great way to stay warm and comfortable on shift without piling on extra scrubs and lab coats. T-shirts or tight-fitting long-sleeve tops are excellent options, as they are versatile, cheap and easily found in stores or on Amazon. You can also buy long or short-sleeved thermal tops. Whilst the types of clothing you can wear under your scrub jacket are intuitive, there are several considerations worth keeping in mind.

The first is that your extra layer should be made from moisture-wicking materials. These are materials which help to draw sweat away from the skin. This helps you to stay cool, by maintaining sweat’s natural function, whilst keeping you dry, helping to avoid chafing, and also helping to control odour. 

The second is the cut of your undergarment. Most high-quality scrub-tops feature a v-neck cut. Therefore, it is sensible to look for a crew-cut shirt which can protrude naturally from the collar of your scrubs. Doing so prevents friction between the collar of your scrubs and your undershirt, which will help to keep you comfortable. Super-low cuts, such as those found in tank-tops can also work well, particularly if you want to keep your under-shirt discreet. 

The third is the colour of the garments you choose. In more formal settings, you may wish to choose white, black or neutral colours. However, even in the most professional settings, you can usually find some way to add little personality to your scrubs by utilising contrast. Complementing white scrubs, for example, with a black undershirt, or vice versa can work very well. In more open work environments, it can be fun to choose an undershirt in colours complementary to the colours to your scrubs, or even one with an exciting print. 

In addition to these considerations, many doctors and nurses are concerned about maintaining discretion by keeping their underwear invisible. If you don’t wish to wear an additional layer under your scrubs, there are several ways in which you can make your bra more discrete. Ensuring that it fits well is an essential step, as too large or too small a cup can result in a broken line over the chest, not to mention risking discomfort. Buying seamless bras can work well, as can picking less textured bras, such as T-shirt bras, rather than lacey ones. You may also wish to wear a loose-fitting scrub top, but only if this makes you feel more comfortable. 


Unlike scrub tops, scrub pants don’t come in cuts which leave undergarments directly visible; there are no v-necks or short sleeves to worry about. However, there are plenty of other aspects that may influence your decision-making when choosing what to wear under your scrub pants

If you’re working in a cold environment, it can really help to have some form of thermal underwear to keep out the chill. Some lightweight spandex shorts are an incredibly useful and versatile option. Generally speaking, they are made from wicking material, meaning that they keep sweat away from the skin, and provide a useful insulating layer, which helps to keep in the large amount of body heat produced by the thighs and genitals. They offer extra comfort by mitigating the risk of chafing during a busy shift, and can also aid discretion.

Long-johns can also be useful in particularly cold conditions, though it is worth careful consideration as to which material you buy. A lightweight and breathable material is key, as thick long-johns may quickly become heavy, over-warm or sweaty. 

Leggings are also fantastic. Not only are they warming and lightweight, but they can also be worn by themselves before and after your shift. Whether you’re simply keen to get your scrubs off as quickly as possible on your way home, or whether you need to leave your scrubs at the hospital for disinfection, wearing a pair of leggings under our scrubs allows you to remove your scrub pants anywhere, at any time. 

There are also plenty of choices that you can make if you’re concerned about keeping your underwear invisible. Boxer or boy-shorts usually leave a far less visible panty line than thongs or bikini cuts. Plain cotton or simple blends are usually less visible than more textured underwear. Seamless underwear can easily be found online, and lighter colours of underwear are generally less visible than darker colours, especially if you’re wearing light-coloured scrubs. 

Whilst these are all easy to find and versatile options, there are plenty of creative ways in which you can stay warm and comfortable in your scrubs. For inspiration, see Medshop’s wide range of clothing. Equally, you can follow the Medshop Blog for more ideas, and updates on the latest medical clothing and equipment. 

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