Our founder, Lara Manchik, PA-C, has been at the forefront of changing perspectives regarding traditionally cheap, ill-fitting scrubs to now higher quality, professionally fitting lab coats and scrubs. Read below to learn more.
Low-cost lab coats and scrubs can actually cost more, not less. . . .
Most medical professionals have resigned themselves to a life sentence of cheap, ill-fitting “unisex” lab coats and scrubs — certainly not clothing they would choose to buy, given their druthers. If they have a choice between cheap scrubs or new set of pajamas — pajamas win, hands down. So why, in this age of medical and scientific progress, do smart professionals have such low standards for their own comfort and appearance? When it comes to defining the market for lab coats and scrubs, the major health-care uniform manufacturers have set the bar lower, rather than higher, by competing not on meaningful innovation, but on price.
In their pursuit of lowering manufacturing costs, most medical uniform companies have found ways to minimize the expense of virtually every element of the garment. From the fabric, design, sizing, and even stitching, this priority to drive down costs has resulted in low prices – achieved at the expense of comfort, fit, and fashion. Garments are boxy and shapeless. Waistlines are too big and necklines too low. Fabrics fade. Seams tear. Stains set in. Those in medicine and dentistry have had no choice but to accept this lowered standard as the professional status quo, price has defined the market, and continues to influence the selection of medical uniforms. Ironically, those who purchase uniforms — physicians, physician assistants, dentists, and nurse practitioners, to name a few — have incomes that support spending more for quality medical uniforms. So how does one change old perceptions that rely on price instead of embracing true value?
In the last year, the paradigm has begun to shift and new alternatives have emerged that challenge the idea of low price as the sole determining factor.
Medelita founder, Lara Manchik PA-C, maintains the overall design of traditional scrubs and lab coats, modernized with performance fabrics and tailored, yet professional styling. They use high quality technical applications such as Dri-release® with FreshGuard® by Optimer, Inc. and Advanced Dual Action Teflon® fabric protector by DuPont, to add functionality, durability, and practicality to their garments. Below, the Medelita founder gives some insights on selecting and buying high quality, high value medical uniforms:
• Choose quality that lasts. Perhaps one of the most important features to look for is how long the garment will last. If a pocket tears or the drawstring unravels – the value is lost. Look for reinforced seams at high pressure points (pockets, waistlines), pocket bands with fusing or interlining, as well as reinforced seams at all vents, including the neckline and side seam pockets. The trim and especially the drawstring should be made from 100 percent polyester, to avoid fraying and unraveling. Buttons should also be made from 100 percent polyester to withstand frequent laundering and pressing.
• Make first impressions count. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. In addition to being wearable, a garment must convey excellence and professionalism, and by that, we mean good workmanship and a crisp, clean, stain-free appearance. Look for scrubs made with virgin polyester and cotton blends that resist pilling, fading, and thinning of fabrics. This is essential to medical uniforms, as they are washed and dried at higher temperatures.
• Look for designer-caliber tailoring. Straight, boxy lines are cheap to sew, but result in a poor fit. Sewing curves rather than straight lines is more difficult and may cost more, but results in a garment that truly fits and flatters the female figure. At Medelita, the motto is “scrubs are square and women are not.” They sew almost every single seam with a slight curve to it. And they take it a step further with darting at the bust and shaping in the hips and thigh, giving an elongated, flattering appearance.
• Go for brand names. Generic fabric treatments such as anti-soil treatments, quick-dry treatments, and anti-wrinkle treatments, are used widely in the uniform industry, however, the longevity and overall effectiveness of generic treatments pale in comparison to certified performance fabric treatments. For example, a generic soil-release treatment may last 5-10 washings, whereas certified performance treatments are designed to last the life of the garment. Look for manufacturers, like Medelita, who use only certified treatments. While it may cost more, in the long run, it’s well worth it. Fabrics last longer, repel stains and fluid, resist pilling and fading and wash well.
• Shop merchants with great customer service. Online shopping can be very impersonal and downright frustrating, should a problem occur. Often, sites do not list a phone number or way to contact them in case of an issue. Look for companies with a great customer service policy that ensures inquiries can be addressed by a live human being, preferably someone who knows the product well. At Medelita, the products are backed by a Professional Courtesy Guarantee™.