what to wear to the hospital

Friends, don’t be jealous, but I’ve spent the last few days at a very exclusive resort. It’s invitation-only, painfully difficult to get into, and while the room service isn’t exactly five-star cuisine, I did have staff at my disposal 24 hours a day, and all the clear liquids I can drink. (Except vodka. They frown on that.)

Because I generally think SMC should be a happy, shiny place (who wants to read a depressing style blog? Not this guy.), I don’t often talk about the less-glittery, really-real reality of life. But Victoria reminded me recently that maybe we should all try to be a little more “real” out here in the interwebs, lest you go around thinking the road I travel every day is paved with rose petals and free nail polish.

So, I’ll tell you. For the last too many few years, I’ve had a rotating circus of nebulous, annoying, uncomfortable, but not-at-all-life-threatening health problems delivered to my door by the powers that be. When you notice I’m not my usual chatty self on Twitter, or I miss a few days of blogging here and there, it’s probably because I’m on a little health holiday. My system has a funny way of being pretty insistent about its vacation time.

Rather than bore you with the gory details (except to say I’m fine, don’t worry, but feel free to send pretty things and happy thoughts), I thought I’d put some of this expertise to good use. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned after all this time, it’s what to wear to the hospital.

Because it’s a tricky thing, isn’t it? Whether you’re going for a day or a week, whether it’s for something joyous, something elective, or something else, you’re scared. You don’t know what to expect or how to prepare, and you’d give anything for someone to take you by the hand and say “Here. Here is the answer to your problem, my dear. Do these things, and it will all be okay.” I so wish I could give you all the answers, friends, but of course, I can’t. But what I can do is tell you exactly what you’ll wish you had from home when you check in.

What to Wear to the Hospital, via Shopping's My Cardio

Cardigan (or here) / Tee (others here and here) / Scarf / Yoga Pants / Shoes

If you’re just in for a few hours, my daytripper patient uniform is simple, but finely-honed:

  • Yoga pants: It’s all about stretch, my friends, but sweats tend to make you feel schlubby. The goal is comfy-yet-slightly-pulled-together.
  • Short-sleeved tee: Preferably inexpensive (the occasional medicine spill, IV accident, etc, isn’t out of the realm), tunic length (to keep you covered while you squirm in a chair for hours) and trim but not clingy (the last thing you want is to feel fat on top of feeling sick). My favorites tend to be from LA Made or Alternative Apparel.
  • Scarf: Preferably one of those wildly oversized pashminas from 5 years ago that can double as a blanket if you get cold.
  • Slip-on shoes with socks (I usually go for Converse sneakers), in case you want to slip your shoes off while you’re there.
  • Secret weapon: a kimono-sleeved cardigan. These can be a tricky find, but once you have one, they’re a godsend for doctor’s offices. Want to know who compliments mine? Nurses. Because the wide sleeves mean they can get a blood pressure cuff underneath, and they can reach just about anywhere on your arm for a shot or IV.  Also, they provide that all-important butt coverage when wearing yoga pants.

What to Pack For the Hospital, via Shopping's My Cardio

Pajamas / PantsRobeSlippers / Entertainment

For longer stays:

  • Pajamas: My hands-down go-to is Eberjey, and not just because they bent over backwards to help me get set up for this latest “spa visit”. Their jersey PJs are ridiculously soft and comfy, super-stretchy, and substantial enough that you aren’t showing the world your goods. Go with a short-sleeved set (again with the BP cuffs and IV access), or pair their PJ pants with a tunic-length tee. Pack a set for every day you’ll be in – trust me, you’ll want daily changes.
  • Robe: Speaking of Eberjey, one of their Gisele robes makes for perfect hospital outerwear. It’s thin enough that you can sleep in it if the room is freezing (as all hospitals tend to be), and pretty enough that you can wear it to wander the halls.
  • Socks & slippers: I opt for thinner socks, so that I can wear them with slippers when I want to get up. 
  • Underthings: This is one time I couldn’t care less about VPL. Stick with a hipster brief or hell, bust out those granny panties. Trying to de-wedgie in a hospital bed with an IV in your arm is darn near impossible. Also, wear a comfy nude bra and pack a spare – you’ll probably want to sleep in it, and bras need a day of rest between wear or their life span significantly decreases.
  • Comfort: Take your pillow. And maybe a blanket that makes you feel cozy.
  • Cosmetic: Face wipes. And moisturizer. Preferably one that makes you feel fancy. 
  • Don’t forget to pack an extra tee to wear home – you can change into the jeans you showed up in, but you’ll want a fresh shirt when you finally get your walking papers.

That’s it, friends…the one area of style expertise I wish I wasn’t quite so good at. Anything you can think of that I forgot?

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11 comments on “what to wear to the hospital

  1. Kristina

    Blech. So sorry you have “hospital style” expertise. Sending happy and HEALTHY thoughts (and prayers) your way!

  2. melissa tomeoni

    you would write about hospital wear! and of course you didn’t disappoint! i wish i had this a few months ago…
    but really i hope you are doing ok! thinking of you often XOXO

  3. Laurie @ Relishing It

    So sorry to hear about your hospital visits. I hope they won’t last forever and I hope you are well. Leave it to you to turn the situation into something fashion related. 🙂

  4. jillian

    HEALTH and happy thoughts and prayers to you. hospitals are hell. and they get real old real fast. i hope whatever youre dealing with that you have a lot of support and friends nearby with the extras (vodka, cupcakes,…) . xo

  5. Pingback: travel in style: comfortable travel shoes - shopping's my cardio

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