This thread pops up perennially, but I'll put in my usual $0.02.
1. Color coding =/= the jack-boot of The Man on the throats of bedside nurses. No. Just...no. Get over yourself, especially if you're espousing this view as part of advancing nursing as A Professionâ„¢. Every profession and skilled trade has a set of expectations for dress; some of these are socially reinforced, while others are explicitly handed out by employers, due to safety rules, etc. Nursing is no exception. I had a dress code for High School and happily wore button-down shirts, slacks, and a necktie for four years; I've worn ceil blue for over seven years because that's what my institution calls for, and I have no complaints. Patterned scrubs look tacky (with at least one study backing that up), and having a set color or palate of colors for staff makes everyone look more professional.
2. Color coding exists to to help me, and not patients, identify you. If you work as a floor nurse and that's all you do, you might not see the benefit. However, I sometimes have to respond to codes on the floor (thankfully not often, but it happens). As an emergency nurse, I am explicitly sent to those kinds of situations because I know what to do when things go sideways in ways that floor nurses (or the random staff someplace non-clinical in the hospital) just don't. In that role, I need to be able to look at someone I've never seen before in my life and instantly know what I can tell them to do without this "oh, you can tell what someone does by how they're behaving in the code" stuff other people have been advancing. Floor codes are a showcase of bovine excrement, and I don't have time to sift through who's screwing up what to figure out people's jobs. I'm sure my ICU colleagues who go to all the Rapid Response calls that I get to ignore have similar opinions. (And before I get hate-PMs - RTs are wonderful, and there are few enough of them that I know them all by sight; Radiology generally doesn't get involved until after the code is done, and I wish the residents were color-coded by specialty and year so I could guess which of them might have a clue.)
3. Most scrubs aren't actual scrubs, but a uniform/costume we've decided upon in our society that everyone in anything remotely related to healthcare will wear. Generally, if you're being forced to buy your own scrubs, you don't need to wear scrubs for your job. Myself, I'd prefer to wear a polo with EMS pants so I can wear something clean-looking and professional while still keeping having lots of pockets.
That said - if an employer forces you to buy their scrubs, and the material is super cheap, then you have every right to complain. Either your employer should set a specific color so that you can buy your own, or they need to get rid of the uniform entirely if they're not willing to pay for it.
And yes, there are institutions whose management utilize less critical thinking than the letters after their names would lead you to believe they are capable of, and who want nurses in white "because the patients don't know who their nurses are." That problem was created by letting/forcing everyone from a desk clerk to housekeeping to wear the same general uniform (scrubs)...which is management's fault, and color-coding isn't the solution. Put non-clinical staff in polos or some other type of uniform (and mandate all your physicians do the same in their offices...) and you'll solve half that issue. Mandating white just increases everyone's laundry bill, and has Victorian associations which are problematic at best. That said, there are some patients who will always address me as "Doctor", not because they can magically see my degree, but because I'm in healthcare and have a pair of testicles, and there's nothing we can do to help those patients in the short or medium term.