History of Scrubs

Scrubs, as we know them, came into fashion in the early 1970’s.

Prior to the 1970’s, people employed in the medical profession were only wearing white.  Men were wearing a thick white shirt with longer sleeves and a Nehru collar.  Women were still wearing white nurse’s dresses and hats.

In the early 1970’s, medical apparel began to change for men and women.  The shirts became more casual, but they were oversized and baggy.  The pants also became looser, but the lack of shape was not necessarily more comfortable. The fabric used for these first scrubs was very stiff and inexpensive.  The fabric was required to hold up to an excessive amount of laundering, considering that most medical professionals did not have more than two uniforms.  As a result, the uniforms did not fit well due to the stiffness and the lack of stretch.

Nearly all scrubs shirts produced since the early 1970’s have had a V neck or a slight variation of a V neck. The stiffness of the fabric required a V neck opening in order to pull the shirt over a normal sized head.   The same problem existed for the arm openings.  The simple fact was, in order to get your arms into the arm holes, the width of the shirt had to be bigger than normal.  This allowed an individual enough room to get an arm up and through the hole.  The end result was a shirt that felt like a potato sack!  Needless to say, this was very uncomfortable.

The pants were designed with same premise.  They were cut from the same stiff, cheaply manufactured fabric.  Obviously, in order to match the shirts, the same fabric had to be used for the pants.

As for the fit, most manufacturers are still using outdated measurements in the design of men’s scrub pants.  In the early 1970’s, the rise of all pants was significantly higher than it is today.  In a pant, the rise is generally the length of the zipper.  In current clothing, most people would consider a rise this high to be very uncomfortable.  Amazingly, most medical apparel manufacturers are still using nearly the same rise in their pants as they were over 45 years ago!  Currently, a normal rise in a pair of men’s pants would be similar to your favorite pair of jeans.  Typically, this is about 8 inches.  The majority of men’s scrub pants are still manufactured with a rise that is incredibly outdated.

Scrub pants have always had a drawstring at the waist because drawstrings are less expensive to manufacture.  A button and zipper closure was deemed too expensive.  In order to pull the pants on, they needed to be oversized.  Then they were cinched up and tied at the waist.  A button and zipper was never needed.

Another factor to explain the lack of effort in the design of men’s medical apparel, is the low percentage of men in the industry.  Prior to the beginning of this decade, men accounted for less than 6% of people working in the medical profession.  There has been a surge in the total number of male nurses and male medical techs.  The number of men entering the medical profession is increasing at approximately 1% a year.  Currently, men are rapidly approaching 20% of the total medical profession.  With all of these changes in the market place, most medical manufacturers are still using patterns and styles from 45 years ago!

Fabric has improved tremendously in the last four decades.  It can be cut to enhance the fiber’s ability to stretch.  Then additional stretch can be added to make any fabric more comfortable and incredibly flexible.

Even with all the enhancements in fabric and the changes in styles, men’s scrubs are still very similar to scrubs of the early 1970’s. The FR Apparel Company, being the sole provider of scrubs for frankyray.com, recognizes this fact.  We have created a line of men’s scrubs designed for today’s man. Our pants have a relaxed fit and an athletic cut with a zipper and a button.  We offer a choice of sizes in the waist and inseam.  At frankyray.com we are offering men the option to purchase scrubs the same way they purchase traditional pants!

Our first generation shirts will have a V neck opening.  Within the next twelve months, we hope to offer two more neck styles for men. We will also be offering a total of four sleeve lengths for men as well.  Our shirts will feel as comfortable as your favorite pullover!

We at The FR Apparel Company and frankyray.com are changing the rules for men’s medical apparel!  We are committed to providing comfort and convenience with our line of scrub pants and shirts for men.

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