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Haute couture hospital gowns

Image: Cleveland Clinic

Hospital gowns are a fashionista’s worst nightmare. Indignity on top of illness? Please!

While well-heeled celebs such a J Lo have always been able to order specially made gowns (she prefers gowns from dearjonnie.com), the rest of us suffer in flimsy and utterly unfashionable one-size-fits-all gowns. Fashion conscious pregnant moms began bucking conformity a few years ago; now, many mamas-to-be order specially made pregnancy gowns well in advance of the big day. But at $25 – $50 (or more) apiece, the gowns aren’t always a practical option.

But some hospital administrators are paying attention to patients’ almost universal dislike of the hospital gown. The Cleveland Clinic recently released photos of their new Diane von Furstenberg gown, which features side ties in lieu of an open back. Furstenberg, who is better known for her wrap dresses and bold geometric patterns, infused the new gowns with a touch of her trademark style.

She’s not the first high-powered designer to tackle the hospital gown. In 1999, the Hackensack University Medical Center revealed boxers, gowns, robes and pajama bottoms created by Nicole Miller. According to the Hackensack website, “The chic collection of hospital gowns, created with Miller’s famous, whimsical prints, were commissioned…to help patients maintain their dignity and pride. Miller’s modesty-minded designs now give a whole new meaning to the term ‘healthcare coverage.’”

UK designer Ben de Lisi is working on the problem as well. When the National Health Service (NHS) launched an initiative to use design to improve the patient experience, de Lisi got to work. He’s created a striped gown with a pocket and a pashmina-style accessory.

What do you think of the new gowns?  A much needed improvement, or a waste of time and money?

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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.
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