I think the non-medical public associate closely white coats and doctors. Even before my third year of medical school, I thought I would like wearing a white coat.
Now that I am more familiar with the medical field, I hate white coats. I want to disassociate them from medicine. For me, the white coat represents an attitude to patients. It means that I'm really smart and important and you must talk to me. I'm more comfortable talking to patients when I'm not wearing my coat.
This was actually one of the reasons I disliked my Internal Medicine rotation. Everyone wore white coats all the time. When we were rounding, I felt the residents, attendings, and students were ghosts huddled together and whispering.
When I am I doctor, I will get some more freedom to decide the kind of practice I want. I'm sure that don't want to wear a white coat.