Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hip Scrubs - Personalizing One’s Nursing Scrubs

Everyone wants to assert their own individuality. One of the ways to show your personality is through the clothes you wear. Fashion can be a powerful statement by which you can freely express yourself without even needing to say anything. Clothing can demonstrate your style, mood and character, and you can utilize fashion at work or play. And today, even medical professionals can enjoy a wider variety of fashion scrubs. Nurses can now choose from an assortment of women’s and men’s scrubs in many colors and designs.

Men’s and women’s scrubs used to include only standard colors like white or blue. Through time, nursing scrubs have evolved with modernity and they now come in fashionable designs that mix comfort and function without having to look boring. Being a medical professional, looking reputable is a must, but looking good with a personal touch is icing on the cake.

When customizing either women’s or men’s scrubs, a lot of things should be taken into consideration. One is hospital policies regarding dress codes. If they are strict, chances are your options will be limited. However, most hospitals today are more open in regards to colors and patterns of nursing scrubs. Your choices become almost boundless if you work in medical establishments with more lenient regulations.

Another consideration is the nature of your work. Do you work with children or at the surgery table? Do you work with animals? What are your basic needs with regards to movement and range of motion? Your customization also rests on these factors.

Ultimately, you have to put some personality in your hospital scrubs. After all, almost everybody wants their nursing scrubs to serve aesthetics aside from function. The tricky part is how to go about personalizing your scrubs without overdoing it and still achieving a fashionable statement with hip scrubs all while refraining from looking like you’re trying too hard.

When ordering custom-made hospital scrubs, your first consideration must be the quality of the fabric. And then you can go ahead and pick the best details, colors, and patterns that fit your style and the other factors as mentioned above. There are many websites that offer custom-made men’s and women’s scrubs that have a lot of fabrics to choose from. Once you have found the fabric of your choice, pick the type of nursing apparel that has features which you know are useful in regards to daily routines.

Scrub tops can be customized with snap-on fasteners, long or short sleeves, pockets, zippers, buttons and side vents. Men’s scrubs apparel such as pants can either be cargo or basic. You can also choose from different cuts like straight or flare leg. Features such as knit ankle cuffs, drawstrings, and elastic waistbands can be added as well all while promoting customization and comfort.

By: Kevin McClellan

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cotton vs. Polyester

It seems straightforward. You’re in a sustainable state of mind when it comes to fashion, you choose natural fibers over man-made, right?
What could be more of-this-Earth than something made from, say, cotton, a product humans have used for thousands of years?
It’s not that simple.

The nasty truth is that the commercial production of textiles, whether natural or synthetic, requires an immense amount of resources and leaves considerable pollution in its wake.
You thought that simply going with natural fibers made you a true friend of nature. Think again. For the purposes of this discussion, we compare the most widely worn fabric in the world, cotton, versus the poor man’s cotton: polyester.

Cotton absorbs and releases perspiration quickly, giving it breathability. Less absorbent polyester doesn’t make you sweat, but it does keep sweat next to your body, which is why you may have found yourself followed by a less than flowery fragrance when you go man-made.
Cotton also has a softer, more supple feel, making it less likely to irritate the skin. That means it’s a better bet for those with sensitive skin, including children and infants.

Advantage: Cotton

From an engineering standpoint, cotton is a beauty, its soft cellulose fibers densely interlocked for strength. But let’s face it, polyester came to market during the Atomic Age. The stuff is built to last forever. The garments fashioned from it may be cheaply made, but the fabric itself is nearly indestructible.

Advantage: Polyester

Garments made of both cotton and poly range up and down the price scale, but while synthetics and blends tend to be thought of as less expensive, 100 percent cotton products mass-produced in places such as Burma, Pakistan and the Dominican Republic can be brought to the American market for a very low price and are a staple in popular retail stores like Old Navy and Target.

Advantage: Cotton

Process energy/pollutants
All fabrics require vast amounts of water and energy throughout the production process. The rinsing of fibers at various stages carries away toxic stuff ranging from volatile organic compounds to bleach to formaldehyde.
Rayon, for example, requires the use of sulfuric acid. Fabric finishes involve glues, wax, resin and shellac.
These are not Earth-friendly substances, and they invariably end up in the waste stream. Perhaps worse, cotton is the most pesticide-dependent crop in the world, using as much as one-fourth of all pesticides manufactured.
Aysia Wright, owner of the activist-oriented Sellwood boutique Greenloop (8005 S.E. 13th Ave., 503-236-3999), says it’s hard to say which is a bigger disaster: the creation of cotton or polyester. Others agree.

Advantage: Tie

Polyester dries faster since it’s not particularly absorbent to begin with. It doesn’t require hot water in the wash, because it doesn’t get all that dirty. In fact, over its lifetime, in a well-made garment, it actually may use less energy than cotton.

Advantage: Polyester

Use of resources
While the creation of cotton fabric may require as much energy as its man-made counterpart, and more is used in its maintenance, at least it’s not made from petroleum products to begin with.
Then again, cotton requires a relatively large amount of water and is grown with a big assist from petroleum-based fertilizers. Moreover, most cotton garments sold in America are manufactured elsewhere, often from cotton that was exported from the United States. Think about the fossil fuel bill for that round trip.

Advantage: Polyester

The verdict
Reducing fashion’s dark environmental footprint involves steps that will seem like bitter medicine to many. Buying yourself a new wardrobe every season may be as selfish as it is increasingly unsustainable, no less an indulgence than buying a new car every two years.
Doing so also supports an industry that employs – often at the lowest possible wages – workers in Third World countries who are unfettered by labor laws and environmental protections.
At the risk of sounding downright unpatriotic – unless you consider how frugally Americans lived not so long ago – just don’t buy as much. Shop at secondhand stores, of which Portland has many.

Whatever you buy, try to support the economy close to home and save on transportion energy by buying locally. Again, Portland has many forward-thinking designers and small retailers who trade in environmentally friendly clothing and accessories.
Be prepared to pay more for garments made from newer, high-
sustainability fabrics using hemp, bamboo and organic cotton, but remember, these items often are better made and longer lasting, which could save you money over time.
Changing your habits may come at a price, but what will the cost be to future generations if you don’t?

The winner between cotton and polyester: Neither

– Eric Bartels

Sources: Cotton South Africa, californiagreensolutions.com, Grist, New York Times, Cambridge University, Greenloop