The Evolution of Medical Lab Coats

These days lab coats are synonymous with Doctors and the medical industry as a whole, but this hasn’t always been the case. Did you know they weren’t always white? Or why Doctors even adopted these white coats to begin with?


At Infectious Clothing, we understand the needs of different medical professionals. This is why we continue to provide a wide range of quality modern lab coats, helping us stay current in the ever-changing world of medical uniforms. 


Through this article, we’ll talk about the history of the medical lab coat and how it came to be and its evolution and the changes to the modern-day coat we all know today. 

Did you know? 

Lab coats made their first appearance in the late 1800s, at the height of the age of scientific progress. It has been said they evolved from the protective apparel worn in other industries, like the durable aprons of the blacksmiths or the suits of beekeepers. Its original purpose was to protect the scientists from the chemicals they worked with and help avoid contamination from dirt, dust, and microbes from their clothes and skin.


Shortly after, in the late 19th century, the humble coat began not only to be associated with scientists but also with medical practitioners. Before this, doctors wore formal black attire and were viewed as less reputable.


But when they adopted the white coat, it became a fresh start for the medical profession. The field of medicine gained more credibility as they linked themselves closer to the reputable scientific field. Lab coats took on a new status, as patients linked the coats to trustworthiness, authoritativeness, knowledgeability, and compassion.


By the late 20th century, doctors used lab coats for identification purposes rather than protection alone. Women also started to become more accepted in the medical field. Thus, the redesign of the traditional men’s lab coat came with this change to a new, updated design tailored towards women. This new women’s lab coat showcased the potential for improvement on the original, outdated design of the past.  

Why White? 

White is often associated with hope, purity, and transformation. This was appropriate for the 18th century when science was taking off as a profession. But there are also practical reasons for the colour choice, such as being the cheapest fabric available and dyeing the lab coats another colour would have cost more. White also makes it easy to spot any fluid or chemical stains and holds up better under the frequent washing and bleaching. 

Medical Lab Coats Today

These days, the wearing of lab coats protects not only healthcare professionals but has also become a symbol of recognition by both patients and the general public. Since their first appearance in the 18th-century, lab coats may still don their iconic colour and general appearance but have been redesigned with a more tailored fit and higher quality fabrics and styles based on their use. 


At Infectious Clothing, our lab coats are specifically tailored to the medical field, helping physicians and clinicians look and feel comfortable, confident, and professional. Stocking only the best quality, modernised lab coats with smart design features, breathable fabrics, and high-quality craftsmanship from Dickies, Medelita and Cherokee.


Whether you are looking for a lab coat for Doctors, Dentists, Lab Technicians, Vets or Pharmacists, we have something suited to the different needs of all medical professionals. To order yours today, contact us or shop our range