Choosing the Right Med Apparel for Comfort & Functionality

There are many factors that can determine what makes good med apparel. Often, there’s a focus on utility and durability, for good reason. However, comfort and aesthetics can’t be ignored. Cost can also obviously be a factor. If you’re going to pay more for apparel, they should be worth that higher price tag. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Med Apparel

Some important factors to consider when choosing medical apparel include the following:


Maybe more than almost any other industry, medical apparel needs to serve a purpose. It doesn’t matter if an employee looks nice or is comfortable if their clothing isn’t helping to serve them in their role as a medical professional. 

The design decisions making up a piece of apparel should be chosen for a reason. Is the professional properly protected against likely threats? Do they have the pockets they need to contain important tools?

These are seemingly small decisions that, when talking on an individual scale, are unlikely to affect a patient positively or negatively. However, when equipping five or even a dozen or more employees and having them treat many patients over time, even the possibility of a small error or delay can have serious consequences. If the right clothing can prevent even one lab accident or exposing a patient or staff member to dangerous pathogens, it will often have been worth it.


Ideally, medical apparel will be able to last a long time, especially through thorough washings. Medical clothing needs to be cleaned fairly often and sometimes more harshly than other types of apparel. This is the nature of healthcare. Some of the most serious hygiene concerns possible can occur in these types of settings. 

While all clothing wears down eventually, the longer apparel can last and still function, the more cost-efficient renting or buying that apparel usually is. Admittedly, durability matters more in some roles than others. A person working at a desk at patient intake likely won’t see much wear on their uniform. Meanwhile, a staff member who must travel between many sick patients or perform especially messy tasks, like surgery, may see heavy wear on their apparel. 


Comfort does more than help employee morale. Comfortable clothes are easier to work in and allow an employee to focus on their tasks. This is helpful in nearly any industry, but in healthcare, when small errors can have long-lasting consequences for a patient, this small increase in a person’s ability to stay calm and focused could literally save lives.

This isn’t easy to quantify, as it can be hard to know where the line between distracting and comfortable enough might be, but employees should at least ideally not notice their clothes causing discomfort. If that’s happening, there’s a problem. This often warrants a discussion with staff about their ideal apparel and what features might help or hinder their ability to stay comfortable.


Aesthetics aren’t usually a priority in medical apparel, but that doesn’t mean you need to ignore them entirely. In fact, aesthetics can serve utilitarian roles too, such as using colors or symbols to indicate a particular staff member’s role, security clearance, or seniority. Besides that, it’s also helpful for staff members to at least appear professional and presentable to patients.

Keep in mind that there’s no universal “perfect” aesthetic. For example, doctors’ coats can help people identify an individual as a trained doctor, but some patients (especially younger patients) might also be slightly off put by what one could view as the sterile, conventional “doctor” aesthetic. That’s why it’s important to understand the roles an individual will serve and the aesthetic that will help them best serve in that role.

Applicable Regulations

This is a fairly straightforward factor, but medical apparel should always follow any applicable regulations regarding how staff should be equipped. While regulations can sometimes be confusing or annoying, they’re put in place for a reason. Following regulations can save lives. Even when a regulation might seem excessive, failing to follow a regulation could open up a company to fines or legal liability. 


Arguably related to aesthetic, medical apparel can be used to help a company further its branding. Even a small logo can reinforce to patients and staff that a wearer is a member of a greater team all working under a company’s particular brand. Combined with delivering a positive experience to patients, this makes it easier for people to remember a particular business when they next need your services or meet someone else who could benefit from them. 

You can also use apparel as a way of reinforcing elements of your brand that you think might appeal to your patients. We talk about an example of this in our article on how sustainable uniforms can help not only the planet but also a company’s bottom line.

Let Alsco Manage Your Med Apparel

Medical apparel needs to serve many masters at once. It needs to keep patients safe, staff comfortable, and a company well represented. There isn’t one correct way to equip a team. Patient safety should come first, but there’s plenty of good options that pose no risk to patients. Consider your options and decide what works best for your business.

Equipping a full team with comfortable, useful apparel appropriate to their role doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Learn how Alsco can help make the process easier with our uniform rental services. If you’ve already invested in uniforms but want help keeping your apparel clean, we can launder those uniforms for you. Learn more about our medical linen and medical uniform services today.

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