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NATTY NURSES: The nurses at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., this fall will begin trading in their old uniforms for new styles that are a little less scrubby.<br><br>Designer Yeohlee has spent the last year designing and conducting fabric...

NATTY NURSES: The nurses at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., this fall will begin trading in their old uniforms for new styles that are a little less scrubby.

This story first appeared in the August 27, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Designer Yeohlee has spent the last year designing and conducting fabric research on uniforms that will replace the hospital staff’s current ones — the nondescript scrubs that are widely worn by medical professionals. In November, the nurses in one wing of the hospital are to begin a six-month trial of Yeohlee-designed uniforms. After any kinks are worked out, the new uniforms will be rolled out for the rest of the hospital staff sometime next year.

Just as suits have been replaced by casual attire in many U.S. workplaces, nurses’ uniforms of yesteryear — crisp white dresses and matching hats — have been replaced by scrubs in many hospitals. The fact that so many hospital workers wear scrubs makes it difficult to decipher who does what in a hospital, Yeohlee said, and the confusion can potentially downgrade the level of respect that nurses get.

“As a patient, it’s a bit disturbing when you can’t tell the difference between the functions of different hospital employees,” Yeohlee said.

By spiffing up the uniforms — and keeping comfort at the top of her list — Yeohlee said she hopes they will increase the wearer’s sense of confidence, and in turn, improve their mind-set on the job. The uniforms are made of DuPont’s Type 400 polyester, which does not break down when washed at the high temperatures necessary to clean medical uniforms.

SHOWROOM RICCO: Better dress and separates designer Donna Ricco plans to move to 530 Seventh Avenue at the end of August. The company’s moderate division, under the DR label, will remain at 1400 Broadway. The new space is to house the Donna Ricco Collection and Donna Ricco Girl.

Donna Ricco president Tom Pulse cited the need for more space and the possibility of increased walk-in traffic from buyers as the primary reasons for the switch.