A well-fitted coat is a good-looking coat
Of course, making sure your lab coat fits right is important for multiple reasons. The most important of those being, once again, safety. A poorly-cut or poor-fitting lab coat won’t just look bad, it can be a serious health risk. A loose and floppy lab coat (whether from the sleeves or in the waist or length) is much more likely to get caught on something. When that “something” is a burner or a flask with a hazardous liquid, a floppy fitting lab coat becomes a serious safety concern.
The safer options in this case are also the more attractive, fitted lab coat options. Let’s take a look at the different fit concerns and how you can optimize style without sacrificing health or safety.
1: Sleeves. This is an important topic, and comes down to more than your preference for short sleeve, long sleeve, or three-quarter sleeve lab coats. How about fit, for instance? Some of us prefer long, loose, flowing clothes with baggy sleeves. Some of us prefer slim cut and snug-fitting long sleeves. And some of us would rather forego the sleeves altogether.
In a lab or hospital setting, our choices are limited. Flowing and baggy is a big “no-go” for the same reasons we mentioned before—you might snag something dangerous. Ultimately, though, whether you want to go long or short sleeve really depends on your role and work environment.
Generally speaking, lab coats are needed for situations where hazardous substances are being handled, and in these cases, long sleeves are usually a safer option since they leave less of your skin exposed. Long sleeves should be snugly fitted, but not so tight as to become restrictive. Think of a well-tailored, modern suit: tight, sleek, yet fairly unrestrictive. Short sleeves might be an appropriate option if your environment doesn’t deal with as many dangerous materials. In these cases, opting for a short sleeved lab coat is a perfectly fine, and even an appropriate fashion choice while keeping you more comfortable.
2: Fastening. This is another important point to consider. Safety-wise, your lab coat needs to be able to close and fasten easily, but not fit so tight that taking it off is a struggle. You need to be able to remove your lab coat at a moment’s notice should anything dangerous fall on it (or should it catch on fire).
That said, a well-functioning and easy-to-manage fastener doesn’t have to be ugly. There are plenty of lab coat options with attractive buttons and sleek metal fasteners that are sure to upgrade your lab coat “looks game” while still keeping optimal functionality.
These are the most important details to consider when choosing the right lab coat that will both work and look great on you. Generally speaking, a lab coat that fits right from a safety standpoint is likely to look better as well. Snug (but breathable), well-fitted sleeves and a secure fastening mechanism—plus an appropriate and efficient length—prove that describing a safe lab coat and a well-tailored one aren’t mutually exclusive.