Tips & Guidelines: Medical Business Casual Attire for Medical Students & Professionals

Professional business attire for medical students and professionals typically includes clothing that is neat, clean, and reflects a high standard of professionalism. Here are some general guidelines for professional business attire in the medical field:

  1. Lab Coat or Scrubs: In clinical settings, medical professionals often wear clean and well-fitted scrubs. A lab coat is also essential for covering the scrubs and providing an extra layer of protection. For students on their first day meeting a preceptor, it is recommended to have a pair of scrubs packed with you instead. While business casual with a short white lab coat is the standard, most preceptors also allow scrubs with a short white lab coat. We always recommend coming in on the first day with business casual attire and a short white lab coat just to make a good impression. You can then ask the preceptor directly, as a courtesy, to make sure they are ok with you coming in wearing scrubs.
  2. Closed-toe Shoes: Comfortable, closed-toe shoes that provide support are crucial. They should be clean and in good condition. Mid-to-high socks dark in color are also recommended.
  3. Minimal Jewelry: Avoid wearing excessive jewelry. A wristwatch, small stud earrings, and a wedding band or a simple ring are usually acceptable. Loose fitting or hanging jewelry is not recommended.
  4. Clean and Well-Groomed Appearance: Hair should be neat and clean. Avoid excessive hairstyles or extreme hair colors. Facial hair, if present, should be well-groomed.
  5. Minimal Perfume or Cologne: Strong scents can be distracting or even trigger allergies in some patients or colleagues, so it’s best to keep fragrances minimal.
  6. Professional Attire Underneath: Choose professional clothing to wear under your lab coat like dress slacks and a dress shirt or blouse. Avoid clothes that are too tight, revealing, or overly casual. Ties are generally expected for men with button-down shirts or dress shirts. Examples of pants can be a neat pair of slacks, dress bottoms, chinos, or long trousers.
  7. Neutral Colors: Generally, it’s best to stick to neutral colors like white, black, gray, or navy. These colors convey professionalism and are less likely to be distracting.
  8. Name Badge (where applicable): Many medical professionals wear a name badge that clearly displays their name and position. Sometimes, these can be assigned to you while other locations expect you to have your own.
  9. Appropriate Accessories: If you wear a stethoscope or carry other medical equipment, make sure they are clean and in good condition.
  10. Maintain Personal Hygiene: Proper personal hygiene is essential. This includes regular handwashing, using hand sanitizer, general cleanliness, and following all other hygiene protocols.
  11. Adherence to Institutional Policies: Some medical institutions or hospitals may have specific dress code policies. Always adhere to these guidelines. Always ask your supervisor or advisor for clarification, if needed, as it’s always better to be prepared in advance.

Remember, these are general guidelines and may vary depending on the specific medical facility, specialty, and local customs. It’s always a good idea to check with your advisor/team member or supervisor for any specific dress code policies in your prospective clinical sites.