When I graduated I wore all white. I'm thankful that year the hats became optional. I could never get mine to stay on! I even had a white dress. It was very difficult to work in that dress crouching down lady like to empty foley bags or whatever! I had many of old men slip their hands right up my dress as I was reaching above them to adjust oxygen or whatever! The whites ended up looking dingy in no time and some stains just would never completely leave. However, you looked clean (because you immediately knew when you weren't and had to change) and every one knew immediately which one was the nurse! I felt proud to dress for work because I earned the right to dress like that!
Then the hospitals provided solid colored scrubs for the staff and even washed them for us and the color was based on what floor we worked on. Then that became too expensive so we were required to buy and wash our own required colored scrubs. Then we were allowed to wear any color or pattern we wanted for years but now we are back to a certain color for each job (RN, CNA, RT, OT, etc) with a color-coded chart for guests so they will know who is who. I don't think the patients remember or feel like looking at that chart all day long if they see a new color. I also don't like the fact the staff must carry any and all germs out of the hospital and home to wash with their family's laundry. With the development of all these drug resistant germs, I can see that being changed maybe but I'm sure if they did provide laundry services it won't be free.
There's really not a uniform that makes nurses stand out anymore. Everyone wears scrubs. Including housekeepers, cooks, basically anyone in the hospital or service industry outside the hospitals. I no longer feel special.