For Tracey Hough, and legions of other nurses, a scrub is no longer just a scrub; it's a bright fashion statement that elevates spirits all the way around.
Hough, a 29-year-old licensed practical nurse who has spent her career working with the elderly, started out in traditional white and has worked her way to a bold lime green in the nursing color spectrum. Over the years, one administrator led to another, and one permissible color led to another. The "feeling was the brighter, the cheerier the uniforms are, the better the patients are," says Hough, who lives in North Baltimore and works at the Liberty Adult Daycare center.
In strictly white, "You really feel like a nurse," Hough says. "It's so drab. Patients appreciate the colors. And they tell you, 'You look so nice.' "
Has your penchant for colorful uniforms caught on at work?
The other nurses are also into colors. But they don't wear mix-and-match uniforms as exotic as mine, with pinstripes, denim, plaids and a Tahiti print.
Talk about your Tahiti print uniform.
It's brown and beige and little bit of army green, not too exotic. It has elephants on it, too.
Where do you buy unusual uniforms?
I ordered the Tahiti from the Tafford uniform catalog, where I usually find things that are different. People don't like to spend that kind of money. But I wear uniforms five days a week, and I want to look nice.
What did you wear in nursing school at Mergenthaler Vo-Tech?
We wore candy cane uniforms with a blue and white pinstripe, and the school logo on the side arm.
What are uniforms made of?
They're usually made out of cotton. And there is this new cotton/poly blend that's real soft. It reminds me of suede material.
Does your uniform change season to season?
Usually in summer, I try to wear really soft, melon-y colors. I have a top with watermelons on it and pants that are a melon color. In winter, I try to wear darker colors and more solids.
What about shoes?
In summer, I wear the clogs. And the rest of the year, white Reebok Classics.
Where do you shop in Baltimore for uniforms?
Uniform City. They are the cheapest uniform store in Baltimore. Everybody shops there. My only hang-up is that everyone then looks the same. I go for different, so I'll pay $20.99 for unusual pants elsewhere instead of $9.99 at Uniform City.
Do you accessorize?
I like my socks to match my uniform. I have socks with stethoscopes and other nursing symbols on them.
Do you wear skirts to work?
Occasionally I will wear a skirt in the summer. But not too much. You never know when you've got to get on the floor.
What do you wear off-duty?
I still shop, but not an awful lot. I'm not a real dressy person. I like to do sweats. I like bright colors, and I love plaid, plaid anything.
What about Sundays?
Basically on church Sundays, I like suits. I don't like wearing dresses. I like to look professional.
Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.