The influence of colored clothing on doctors

Doctors usually wear white clothing. But what would happen if they were to choose a different color? Recent research has shown that patients can get a very different impression when the doctor wears green, blue, or black. In this article, I’ll tell you all about it.

The influence of colored clothing on doctors
Photo: Kristine Wook – Unsplash

From black to white

Since the nineteenth century, doctors have been wearing white coats. In the early years, this was a way for physicians to distinguish themselves from quacks. Before that, they wore black clothing, just like clergy and lawyers.

It didn’t take long to realize that wearing white clothing during surgeries was quite inconvenient. Our eyes can’t handle the combination of red splatters (blood) on a white surface very well. At a certain point, your eyes can start seeing spots that aren’t there. Moreover, lights reflect off the fabric, which is also unpleasant during work. That’s why since 1914, doctors have been wearing green and blue gowns during surgeries.

But outside the operating room, white clothing remained the norm. And it still is.


The influence of colored clothing on doctors

After a century, shouldn’t we break away from this tradition? A study by JAMA Surgery shows that colors can have both positive and negative effects on the image of the doctor.

During a study, 113 adult patients and visitors of the University of North Carolina Medical Center in Chapel Hill (USA) were asked to evaluate doctors. Male and female doctors wore different colored coats and trousers.

Black coats scored the worst in terms of caring and reliability. People also think they are the least informed and poorly educated. Respondents said that doctors in black coats resemble funeral directors, associating the color with death. That doesn’t seem like a very practical coat when seeing patients. And that’s putting it mildly.

Light green also turned out not to be such a good idea because it gives the impression that the doctor in question is not well-educated. According to this study, light blue and dark blue are the best colors to wear. I understand that as well. These colors are commonly seen in many companies, and I think that’s why we’re accustomed to them. And what we know, we feel comfortable with.

What do you think is a good color for workwear in healthcare?



Eén reactie

  1. It’s fascinating to learn how the color of a doctor’s clothing can influence patient perceptions. While white coats have been the norm for centuries, studies suggest that colors like light blue and dark blue are perceived as more trustworthy and professional. This insight could lead to positive changes in medical attire, enhancing patient comfort and confidence in their healthcare providers.
    John Gatesby onlangs geplaatst…Long COVID SymptomsMy Profile

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