A (genuine) take on hospital clothing

SPLASH OF COLOUR: Flowers can brighten the ward significantly.
SPLASH OF COLOUR: Flowers can brighten the ward significantly.

Dear Fashion Doctor,

Your answer to Irene last week was nothing short of insulting.

I have often wondered whether the people writing in asking fashion advice were real, and now it would appear that the questioners are part of your own imagination and therefore fiction. If not, your answer to Irene's question is worse than insulting.

There are many people in and around Wellington who are having the same operation that Irene mentioned. They are concerned about appropriate bedwear for hospital, particularly when needing to negotiate hospital corridors on walking sticks or frames. The majority of women or men do not wear or even own the style of gown that is appropriate as a modesty coverup and real advice and research on your part would have helped alleviate their concern at facing a serious operation.

I am pleased that the real or fictional Irene was not going to have a mastectomy, because your flippant answer would have been disastrous.

I suggest that either you advertise your questioners are generic or have a person who understands style, not fashion, take over your column.


To you, and to anyone else who felt offended by last week's column, I am truly sorry.

Fashion is meant to be fun, and while I try every week to offer useful advice, sometimes it's good to have a bit of a laugh. I have yet to hear back from Irene (she is a real person) as to her reaction to my advice, but I hope that she found it as entertaining as I know some readers did.

I agree with you that a stay in hospital can be very stressful and concerning, but I'm of the school of thought that laughter is the best medicine. Perhaps my medicine was a tad too wild this time, and so, in the hope of winning back your love, Monica, I give you some real advice:

As I said last week, a pashmina is the perfect coverup for a hospital stay. Hospitals tend to be draughty and air-conditioned, and it will keep you warm without being too heavy.

Ultrasoft merino shawls are also wonderful for these situations. Believe it or not, I have stayed in a hospital, and one thing that annoys me is that you always seem to have cold feet. Get yourself some cosy bed socks to make you feel comfortable.

Hospitals are such sterile environments, and often being away form home and your things adds to the stress of your operation. Pack anything that makes you feel at home, such as pictures and ornaments. Taking a hot water bottle also helps.

To tackle the "stylish" question Irene asked, I swear by red lipstick as the simplest way to feel glamorous. Pack a good night cream and eye cream. You're likely to go a while between baths, and your hair will no doubt suffer. Dry shampoo will freshen up your hair without having to wet it. When you finally can move about, you'll find trousers a struggle. Wrap dresses are effortlessly stylish and a breeze to put on. Max has a few gorgeous versions, or try Icebreaker for a merino version.

The Dominion Post