Design elements of a lab coat

The lab coat is an invaluable tool and an absolutely fundamental garment for doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, pharmacists and even spa professionals. Both safety and professional reasons are at the heart of the white coat culture.

Lab coats also serve as a uniform—a symbol of status and academic rigor—for academia and science while simultaneously functioning as a protective layer between the wearer and their environment.

Naturally, a good lab coat is more than just a robe with buttons. A substantial amount of effort and design go into these protective and high-functioning garments, and the amount and quality of detailing can really be what separates a “functional” lab coat from an “exceptional” lab coat.


What separates a “functional” lab coat from an “exceptional” lab coat?

First, to professionally design a truly exceptional lab coat, the fabric itself has to match crucial characteristics of specific environments.

  • Lab coats need to be light and comfortable while also being very durable and safe.
  • They need to be breathable while being at least somewhat waterproof—effective and convenient.
  • The exact composition of a lab coat fabric largely depends on the context, for example, the amount of polyester, cotton, and other fabrics in the mix will depend directly on what potential hazards the wearer will face.

Beyond the fabric, there are even more ways to ensure your lab coats lets you work as efficiently and easily as possible.

Some of the biggest and most important attributes to consider when qualifying a lab coat as “exceptional” come in the incorporated design elements (i.e. pockets, ergonomics, etc.).

Just think: Doctors and other scientists are often busy and in constant motion, implying a need to keep useful items on them at all times. Juggling stethoscopes, notebooks, tablets, phones, pens, and other items while moving from place to place is simply impractical and, frankly, unsafe. Carrying a bag around can also be a no-go in certain situations.

Regardless, even having a pen to jot down notes at any given time, or the required notepad, carrying a guidebook, manual, tablet, or even just your phone can all be non-negotiables in the quick paced day-to-day dynamic.

In order to maximize this efficiency by helping lab coat wearers keep everything on them in a safe and comfortable manner, as well as to offer general comfort and mobility necessary in a hospital or laboratory, Dr-James lab coats have been carefully designed to include certain elements that will make your job safer, easier, and more comfortable.

Let’s take a look at the specific elements of that standard of lab coat excellence.



Chest pockets

The chest pocket is a quintessential element for any “nerdy” or academic character in pop culture. Having quick and direct access to a pen, pencil, notepad, or reading glasses has become synonymous with being intelligent, and the association is not for naught.

Quick access to all these tools is important in a fast-paced environment full of sensitive information, and assuring this access is an important part of being adequately prepared for the environment. The chest pockets on Dr. James lab coats are sleek, elegant, and internally lined, providing a safe and effective storage for pens, pencils, notepads, pen lights, or even your phone.

Tablet pockets

Much like the chest pocket, the tablet pockets on Dr-James lab coats satisfy a necessary “look” of the typical white coat. These large pockets towards the bottom of either side of the coat are designed specifically to fit nearly any tablet on the market, providing a safe and efficient place to store these devices that can be used for anything from research to instant communication.

Of course, these sizable pockets double as plenty of storage space if having two tablets on you isn’t quite your style. These pockets are naturally bigger than the chest pocket, big enough to store larger books, notepads, manuals and guides that are important but too large to comfortably carry around in a chest or trouser pocket.

Stethoscopes, more pens, and other essential tools can also be stored in these tablet pockets should other means of storage by occupied with other items.

The other important issue these pockets tackle is that of providing an appropriate amount of storage for women, especially with record numbers of women entering science today. Many other lab coat designs omit these kinds of pockets altogether, opting instead for slits that lead to already trouser pockets. This is fine for those who wear pants with spacious pockets, which, of course, are normally found in men’s pants.

Consequently, women are often at a disadvantage when it comes to carrying tools thanks to the near non-existence of real, useful pockets on much of women’s clothing. Including spacious and convenient pockets in the design is a simple and effective way of avoiding this problem altogether.

Smartphone pocket

Keeping your phone in your chest pocket or in your tablet pocket might not feel very secure; these pockets are either occupied by pens and other tools, or are too large to securely hold the device. What’s worse, bending over to pick something up could result in both heart and screen-shattering consequences.

Precisely for this reason, Dr-James lab coats include a pocket design specifically to hold your phone safely and securely. This smartphone pocket ensures that you have quick access to your device at all times, while also making sure it doesn’t slip out of a pocket designed for something else. If you’d rather not carry your phone on you or in your lab coat, this pocket can always double as yet another pen holder—you can never have too many pens.

Beyond pens, there is a universe of useful tools that can be kept in all of these extra-secure pockets. Here’s Stanford’s Dr. Verghese demonstrating the contents of his lab coat.

Button closing

Moving away from technology, both safety and efficiency take more forms than that of pockets.

While it might seem counterintuitive at first, it is absolutely true that lab coats must be both simple to take off quickly and difficult to open accidentally. For clear reasons, your lab coat shouldn’t fly open arbitrarily—this would result in exposed skin or less protective fabric, which could come in contact with flames, biohazards, or other potential health risks in the environment.

That said, should some dangerous chemical spill onto the lab coat, or should the lab coat catch fire, the ability to take the lab coat off at a moment’s notice is crucial.

To satisfy both of these necessities, Dr-James lab coats are employed with a simple 4 reinforced placket button system that is both sturdy and simple to undo if necessary.

Contouring and seams

Finally, style and safety are by no means contradictory. Dr-James lab coats are designed with contouring darts that give a slick look and a comfortable feel. These darts provide a more stylish fit and avoid an unflattering “baggy” appearance.

Seams also run down the backs of the arms, also providing a more comfortable and more stylish feel and look. The back vent is another detail that is rarely omitted on stylish coats of other sorts. The parted back is practically synonymous with elegance.

All of these elements undeniably provide a greater aesthetic appearance, but are each, in fact, ensuring a more secure experience for the wearer. The darts and the seams both offer a more stylish fit, at the same time ensuring that the fabric keeps a tight but comfortable radius around the body, minimizing the risk of having the coat snag or the contents of your pockets slip. The back vent is elegant, but it is also essential for comfortable and efficient mobility, as well as making sure sitting down is possible without tearing the fabric.

The white lab coat is a timeless symbol for science as well as a necessary protective garment, but its ability to promote effectiveness in a busy environment can be just as important a consideration. In other words: how a lab coat looks and feels is very important, but what a lab coat does should never be ignored, either.