Apart from childbirth, I’d never been a hospital inpatient before and I refused to buy anything new to wear. I don’t like nighties and PJs are just too warm. Instead of slippers I used a pair of light dance pumps.
On HDU, both ladies and gents are at the mercy of the dreaded hospital gown. Although changed everyday, they are still a bit grim. On the ward, sleep shorts and a top at night and joggers/yoga pants and loose baggy layers during the day were perfectly adequate. I also had several pairs of funky spandex trousers and these were absolutely perfect to wear as they were stretchy, soft and comfy and low on the waist, well out of the way of scars, dressings and feeding tubes. I also wore these when I came home as I could not tolerate anything tight like jeans on my waist for several weeks.
Tops needed to be fairly loose – boxy tops are perfect as they hide a multitude of sins and don’t come into contact with dressings/scars. Layers are helpful as hospital wards are not as warm as you might expect.
Operating theatres in particular are deliberately kept quite cool for infection control so although you are covered – the anaesthetic is several hours long and it is not unusual for some patients to continue to still feel like they have been in the chiller for some time to come. I know my body went through significant temperature changes in high dependency from hot flushes to rigors and it was coolish on the ward. By contrast, the hospital corridors were extremely warm, especially near sunny windows.
Another notable benefit of wearing your own loose clothing (with no zips or buttons) is that you are often allowed to wear them for Xrays and scans rather than having to change into a gown – this is a win win situation as the patient feels more comfortable and the NHS saves on laundry.