I hope that, when Cas gets out of Purgatory, he gets a nice change of clothes.
But not any clothes, no no, I want him to wear something less business-like since he’s now, officially, not working for Heaven anymore. I…
Wait what, why are there hospital bracelet feels?
Okay, but remember: You asked for it. :)
Hospital bracelets are stamped with any number of identifying details: your first and last names, your patient ID, your sex, where you were admitted and when. Anybody at the hospital who needs to know who you are can just look at your bracelet.
So when Cas was admitted to the hospital, what name would be put on his wristband – that is, what name would Dean and Sam have put on his admittance paperwork? Castiel just by itself would raise too many suspicions. Emmanuel Allen would be traceable by Daphne, and at that moment, he’s in no shape to be found. And Jimmy Novak, that isn’t even a name he responds to.
So I bet you dollars to donuts it’s “Cas Winchester”. Cas because, well, that’s his name. And Winchester because, well, he’s family.
And that Cas persists in wearing the bracelet, even after he leaves the hospital, is a tangible reminder to himself, the Winchesters, and anybody else who needs to know that Cas took that naming seriously: that no matter what bad blood runs between them, he still considers himself part of this family. (It’s an idea I’ve explored in some ficlets here and there.)
But the bracelet really only makes sense when you contrast it with the white hospital scrubs, which calls back to the (very human) idea that angels wear white robes. We know that angels don’t wear robes – they wear suits, at least when they’re in vessels; and trueform angels are “waves of celestial intent”, which I dunno sounds kinda naked to me – but the allusion is pretty obvious, and I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that Cas wears the white hospital scrubs because they remind him of robes. In other words, because they remind him of Heaven. Of his other family. Which is now either dead or in hiding, because of his actions.
So in Cas’s new clothing you have symbols of his belonging to two different families: the family he was born into, and the family he chose; who he once was and who he is now. Both families are broken, but so is he, and that’s why the parts only work when taken together, because a family is both the mistakes a man makes and the forgiveness he is offered.
And then, if that wasn’t enough, wrapped over everything is his trenchcoat, the one marker of Cas’s individuality that has always set him apart from all the rest of the angels. That coat has been the shield Jimmy once draped over his sleeping daughter; and it’s been the cape of the God-like superhero he thought he needed to become; and it’s been the trust and forgiveness Dean offered him that he didn’t deserve. But ultimately, the trenchcoat is the symbol of everything it took to get him here, and everything he now chooses to be, and everything he might now become.
And when you take those three elements together – the bracelet, the scrubs, the trenchcoat – you get Cas’s complete journey, and guise I just have so many clothing feels I can’t even.