The clothes worn by certain professions identifiy them with the trade they practise when you see a white coat you automatically think medical professional, likewise battle fatgues bring to mind the armed forces.
While nurses have long worn a uniform it wasnt till the early 20 specifically with the spread of the 1918 Spanish Flu that surgeons started on the road to the surgical scrubs that are now mandatory.
Finally in the 40s Science had finally understood the correlation between patient wound infection rates and the adoption of surgical anti septic techniques. Not only were antiseptic gloves, masks, gowns and drapes used but even the instruments and supplies sterilised
How the colors of scrubs has changed over the years:
Pre 1940 : Nurses were required to wear uniform clothing -usually white but surgeon wore his street clothes and maybe an apron to protect their clothes
1940: in the beginning surgical staff started wearing white uniforms and scrubs to emphasize and show their cleanliness. However it was found that blood and fluids that would splash across the white clothing greatly alarmed people who came in contact with the operating staff.
In addition it was found that the pervasive use of white in the OT(Operating theater) cause eye strain. A change was in the making
1950-1960 : Medical apparel designers started experimenting with the coloration of the surgical scrubs. The first surgical scrubs were called surgical greens and afterward in the late 60s blue was introduced.- the popularity of these 2 colours grew, as the blood and fluids splattering were not prominently seen as compared to the white counterparts and it also solved the eye strain issue.
1970s: The OT (operating theater) uniform has transformed to a short-sleeve V-necked shirt and drawstring pants and mid length dress for women. A paper mask, latex gloves, surgical gown, and a surgical bouffant style hat make up what is considered the standard medical wear
1980 onward: Surgical scrubs were no longer simply green or blue. Surgical scrubs were available in a multitude colors and textures and by the mid 1980s, surgical scrubs came in an array of designs.
Present: Surgical Scrubs are mostly light green, light blue or green-blue shade. Due to rising theft some medical centers have made pink their choice of colour to act as a deterrent.
There is a rise in availability of cheap scrubs used for non-surgical purposes.