Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: VorFemme on July 27, 2013, 11:25:45 AM

Title: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: VorFemme on July 27, 2013, 11:25:45 AM
There were three young women at my paternal uncle's funeral in strapless dresses with very short skirts (clearly prom dresses - due to the satin, lace, sequins, or rhinestone trimmings).  All three were relatives....great-nieces of the deceased (no grandchildren). 

Having been raised by a preacher & his wife and heavily influenced by my grandmothers, who had very old fashioned, even 19th century attitudes and (or at least pre-1960s) preferences on what was appropriate for various events for THEIR children, grandchildren, etc. to wear - I was wondering what their parents were thinking. Because "prom dresses" may be "dress clothes" but they aren't what I would think of as "funeral clothes". 

One young woman had a dressy jacket on, so that the fact that the dress was strapless was not quite a blatant...but it was still short enough to have been worn by one of the women on Star Trek, the original series.  Just a little fancier than would be seen on a uniform, due to the black lace bodice and overskirt.

Not everyone was wearing black - some of the men wore dark gray suits or even just a white shirt, a tie, and black or dark gray dress pants.  Most, not all, of the women had something black on - jewelry, a print that had black in it, but while not everyone was wearing "mourning" colors - no one was wearing really casual garments, either. 

As to my "fascination" with what people are wearing - I've been like this since I was in elementary school and tried to "recognize" people I was introduced to based on what they were wearing.  I am not face blind - but due to an interest in sewing - clothing attracts my attention more than it does the attention of other people.

I can't help noticing.  I have learned that I can help opening my mouth and ASKING if they know that their hem came out, a button is missing, or that the red mending thread is showing on their gray pants at the center back seam.....so I didn't say anything there (nobody else was likely to have a sewing kit in their purse, with matching thread).

I know that the older generations are more "formal" than the younger people, and I do recognize that I am now in the "older generation" in my fifties. 

But is this drift to more casual clothes and reducing the number of "categories" of clothing to three (or even two) going too far?

I see "dress clothes" for many people seem to range from "Sunday", "Party", "Evening", and "Formal Work Clothes" which seems to include blazers over pants - which used to be informal.  Then there is a category that I would call "Comfortable Informal" - polo shirts, jeans, sundresses, and the like. Followed by "Casual" - which includes what used to be worn clothes saved for painting, gardening, and other sweaty tasks.....and starts as an overlap on the less fitted end of comfortable informal...where they used to be separate categories.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: gramma dishes on July 27, 2013, 11:34:25 AM
No, prom dresses aren't appropriate attire for funerals.  BUT -- I would try to be charitable here.  It may well be all they had as opposed to ripped low-rise jeans and t-shirts with inappropriate sayings on them.  At least they came.

I also think that the requirement for wearing black is no longer much of an issue.  When my Mom reached an age where she knew that almost certainly death was relatively imminent, she mentioned that she really, really wanted to be buried in a particular bright red pants suit.  She expressed concern that someone (other relatives, pastor, funeral home personnel) might think that was inappropriate and not let her be dressed that way.  I assured her that if that happened, I would wear a bright red dress to her funeral and she loved the idea.

I think the most important thing is for guests at a funeral to be clean, neat and dressed as nicely as their wardrobes allow, but the wardrobe part is so variable that I don't think it's worth it to get excited about it unless the people actually look like hookers or something.  I don't think we can assume that clothing chosen is a matter of disrespect.  It's probably more a matter of "Well, I don't have that, but I do have this."
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 27, 2013, 11:39:36 AM
I don't think there's a requirement that people wear black for funerals, or that people go out and buy new clothes for a funeral. I think people are just expected to dress as well as they are able. Maybe they didn't want to wear jeans and all they had that was dressy was a prom style dress.

Also there isn't a great deal of warning about when you are going to a funeral, and if you're busy you might just have to wear what's available regardless of whether it would be nice if you could hunt down a matching button and sew it on first.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: nutraxfornerves on July 27, 2013, 11:40:35 AM
I've always been bothered by "He/She wouldn't have wanted me to wear black." How do you know that? Sometimes people express such wishes, but I think it's more often an interesting assumption.

My mother was a very vivid and fun-loving person, but she was also conventional when it came to mourning. I wore a black suit to her funeral. Later in the day, the family and a few close friends went to a relative's house to decompress. Many of us changed into casual clothes, including me. I put on a multi-colored sweater.

The priest, (my mother's cousin) who had also been invited, told me "that's better. She wouldn't have wanted you to wear black." I said nothing, but I was thinking. "Oh, yes she would have. She would have been pleased that I was upholding her standards."

But--a prom dress? Sounds like you are right. "For the funeral, I want you to wear your best clothes."
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: nolechica on July 27, 2013, 11:53:26 AM
The dress clothes definition seems to have changed a while ago, much to my delight.  Yes, I do have a funeral dress, but yes I did have to go buy it, which I told my mother at the time, I shouldn't have had to do.  I much prefer pants, black, with a colored top.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: nayberry on July 27, 2013, 11:56:12 AM
an uncle of mine passed away a number of years ago and he had stated that he didn't want people wearing black to his funeral, so my aunt & parents respected his wishes,  his ex wife turned up with their children and would have put Queen Victoria to shame with her mourning dress.


sadly i've had too many funerals recently (family),  whilst i didn't buy something new, i wore black as the people involved would have expected that.
my husband doesn't wear a suit for work and only owns a grey suit, so he wore that and the only reaction he got was "thank you for coming".

i think if you know the person and how they'd think, then you go with that.  except for the woman who turned up in leopard print and jeans....  that was rude!
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: cwm on July 27, 2013, 12:01:32 PM
Personally, I hate dresses and would only wear them when super formal dress was required. I would much rather wear a business outfit to a funeral, in muted colors. I don't own much black outside of band t-shirts and pajama pants, so I don't wear a lot of black to funerals. At both of the churches I've been to for funerals lately, the standard is Sunday best for funerals, try to avoid bright colors. The past three funerals, I've had people comment on how I was dressed, all three times very positively. I don't go to church much, but I know how to dress for a Roman Catholic ceremony.

I don't think a prom dress is completely appropriate, but if these girls were young enough that they didn't own any other "Sunday best" clothes, I don't see them going out and buying new clothes specifically for a funeral. To me, that would just be weird. I'd rather wear what I had around, and if that meant going in a short skirt, then I would go in a short skirt. I see how it could be weird to other people, but to people who have been brought up outside the church environment or in a church where casual clothes are accepted, they might not even know what acceptable clothes are for a service this serious.

My levels of dress clothes are business casual, evening out, business formal, Sunday Mass, formal dance. The last one is the only time I'd ever really consider a skirt to be necessary, and I'd probably detest it the whole time, or hide pants underneath.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: shhh its me on July 27, 2013, 12:15:46 PM
   I do agree with OP that people seem to have confused dress cloths with cocktail party cloths.  Personally I think jeans would be better then a cocktail/prom dress. I don't think there is anything wrong with slacks and a blouse at a funeral. 

But its a funeral and I'd give the benefit of the doubt and assume they only owned the prom dresses and jeans and thought jeans would be disrespectful. 
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: snappylt on July 27, 2013, 12:23:33 PM
I, too, am guessing that perhaps the young women may not own any other "dressy" clothes, the prom dresses may be the "nicest" clothes they do own, and they may have been trying to show respect by wearing their best.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: AnnaJ on July 27, 2013, 12:25:45 PM
Thinking about it, OP, I think you're right that the types of clothing most people have in their closet are shrinking...not the number of clothes - I know I have too many - but the type.

I'm also in my 50s and when I was a teenager there were clothes we wore to school (a dress code that forbade pants on girls, among other things), clothes we wore on our own time, 'best' clothes that we wore to church (back when churchwear was more formal), and dressy stuff (proms or other events). 

Today I have two categories - work clothes and non-work clothes (I don't do dressy at this point); since I lean toward black in my work wardrobe I'd be fine for a funeral, but I can see why these girls might not have clothing that wasn't either casual or dressy.   
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Sharnita on July 27, 2013, 12:29:20 PM
I've always been bothered by "He/She wouldn't have wanted me to wear black." How do you know that? Sometimes people express such wishes, but I think it's more often an interesting assumption.

My mother was a very vivid and fun-loving person, but she was also conventional when it came to mourning. I wore a black suit to her funeral. Later in the day, the family and a few close friends went to a relative's house to decompress. Many of us changed into casual clothes, including me. I put on a multi-colored sweater.

The priest, (my mother's cousin) who had also been invited, told me "that's better. She wouldn't have wanted you to wear black." I said nothing, but I was thinking. "Oh, yes she would have. She would have been pleased that I was upholding her standards."

But--a prom dress? Sounds like you are right. "For the funeral, I want you to wear your best clothes."

Why would you assume they would want you to wear black?  I guess maybe if they insisted that we should go back to the good old days before women were allowed to wear pants in public you might have a clue but I can't imagine why black would/should be the default otherwise. 

Was your mother's cousin really that clear about her standards regarding what colors people should wear to a funeral?  If so then yes, I think black would be the thing to wear.  The thing is - most people aren't because most people genuinely aren't that rigid.  I know a lot of people who have mentioned plans/preferences for funerals and/or burial.  Many have indicated a wish not to be somber which one would probably agree indicates, at the very least, permission not to wear black.  Somme have wanted this music or that music. Buried here or there. They have had choices for their own clothes.  I can honestly say that not even the people born before 1900 ever seemed really into people wearing black, though.  If they had been and made those feelings known I guess we would have tried to abide by it just as we tried to abide by everything else friends and family asked - I just have to say that it has genuinely never been an interest in all of the many family and friends.  I certainly don't see why it would be the default. 

If we make it the default just because it used to be in one time and place, then where does it end? Do we expect that all women come in dresses and veiled?
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on July 27, 2013, 12:33:39 PM
No, prom dresses aren't appropriate attire for funerals.  BUT -- I would try to be charitable here.  It may well be all they had as opposed to ripped low-rise jeans and t-shirts with inappropriate sayings on them.  At least they came.

I also think that the requirement for wearing black is no longer much of an issue.  When my Mom reached an age where she knew that almost certainly death was relatively imminent, she mentioned that she really, really wanted to be buried in a particular bright red pants suit.  She expressed concern that someone (other relatives, pastor, funeral home personnel) might think that was inappropriate and not let her be dressed that way.  I assured her that if that happened, I would wear a bright red dress to her funeral and she loved the idea.

I think the most important thing is for guests at a funeral to be clean, neat and dressed as nicely as their wardrobes allow, but the wardrobe part is so variable that I don't think it's worth it to get excited about it unless the people actually look like hookers or something.  I don't think we can assume that clothing chosen is a matter of disrespect.  It's probably more a matter of "Well, I don't have that, but I do have this."

This.  I wear black because I can't find anything darker, but I'll park my POD here.

I cringed when my niece wore Barbie pink strappy top with a mini skirt to her mother's funeral, but it helped an 11 year old child get though the worst day of her life because her mom bought the outfit.  I'll roll with it.  I don't how she walked in those glitter flip flops in March, though!

My mom won't be having a funeral (her wishes), but if she did, I'd avoid her least favorite color, that's all.



Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: violinp on July 27, 2013, 12:55:23 PM
There's such a thing as being overdressed. Prom gowns or dresses are not okay for church or another place where a funeral is being held. A dark blouse and dark slacks/skirt (even dark wash jeans, if you can't buy slacks) would be fine. Dressing like you're going to a ball is not. I'd rather a person be a little underdressed rather than extremely overdressed.

FTR, I only wear black or black and white to a funeral, because I personally don't feel right about wearing something not as somber. If the deceased had in life requested that everyone wear their favorite color of neon pink, I'd do it to honor their wishes. In absence of that, though, I go for subdued and somber.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Outdoor Girl on July 27, 2013, 01:07:17 PM
I am one of those rare people who looks horrible in black.  So while I will wear black dress pants, I won't wear a black top.  I'll wear something in a muted tone but I'm wearing colour so people don't think I should be the one in the coffin.  ;)

I think strapless prom dresses are too dressy for a funeral.  If the skirt is at least half way to the knee and they wear a shrug or jacket with it, I think they are fine.  I was at the funeral for a friend of my Dad's.  Her granddaughter was wearing a black skirt so short, she had to keep tugging it down and if she bent over, it would not have been good.  I think she would have been better off wearing a longer skirt that wasn't black (assuming this short skirt was her only black one), or even dress pants.

I find that funeral dress is changing.  People are wearing nice, business casual clothes, with a little bit of colour but usually at least something dark.  I've see quite a few women with a more colourful blouse under a darker jacket or sweater.  In my mind, it is more important to have all the important bits well covered than to wear black.  If the girls are prominent or you are in danger of mooning someone because your skirt is so short, because you are wearing the only black thing in your closet?  For heaven's sake, wear something else, even if it isn't black.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Addy on July 27, 2013, 01:13:42 PM
I've always been bothered by "He/She wouldn't have wanted me to wear black." How do you know that? Sometimes people express such wishes, but I think it's more often an interesting assumption.

My mother was a very vivid and fun-loving person, but she was also conventional when it came to mourning. I wore a black suit to her funeral. Later in the day, the family and a few close friends went to a relative's house to decompress. Many of us changed into casual clothes, including me. I put on a multi-colored sweater.

The priest, (my mother's cousin) who had also been invited, told me "that's better. She wouldn't have wanted you to wear black." I said nothing, but I was thinking. "Oh, yes she would have. She would have been pleased that I was upholding her standards."

But--a prom dress? Sounds like you are right. "For the funeral, I want you to wear your best clothes."

Why would you assume they would want you to wear black?  I guess maybe if they insisted that we should go back to the good old days before women were allowed to wear pants in public you might have a clue but I can't imagine why black would/should be the default otherwise. 

Was your mother's cousin really that clear about her standards regarding what colors people should wear to a funeral?  If so then yes, I think black would be the thing to wear.  The thing is - most people aren't because most people genuinely aren't that rigid.  I know a lot of people who have mentioned plans/preferences for funerals and/or burial.  Many have indicated a wish not to be somber which one would probably agree indicates, at the very least, permission not to wear black.  Somme have wanted this music or that music. Buried here or there. They have had choices for their own clothes.  I can honestly say that not even the people born before 1900 ever seemed really into people wearing black, though.  If they had been and made those feelings known I guess we would have tried to abide by it just as we tried to abide by everything else friends and family asked - I just have to say that it has genuinely never been an interest in all of the many family and friends.  I certainly don't see why it would be the default. 

If we make it the default just because it used to be in one time and place, then where does it end? Do we expect that all women come in dresses and veiled?

Nutraxfornerves is talking about her own mother's funeral, not her mother's cousin's funeral, so no assumption there, she really does know what her mother preferred. It was an assumption on the part of the priest (the mother's cousin) who didn't really know the deceased as well as her own daughter did.

I know my mother is the same way. I got some raised eyebrows when I wore blue to a funeral and she asked me why I didn't wear black. She was born in 1934.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Twik on July 27, 2013, 01:26:24 PM
I look, if I say so myself, good in black. I would be quite happy (re, you know what I mean) to wear black to a funeral.

Otherwise, I think people should Ty to be dressed nicely, but quietly, with a message "I'm wearing my nice clothes to show respect, but not my party clothes as if I'm glad you're dead."
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: *inviteseller on July 27, 2013, 01:32:47 PM
I agree that what those girls wore was a bit much for a funeral and someone should have instructed them to dress a bit more suitably, but if they were teenagers, I wouldn't hold it against them but the parents who allowed it. 

My older DD and I have been to 2 funerals this year.  The first was my ex husband and we both wore black dress pants, dress shoes, and I wore a grey sweater, she had on a dark green top.  There was various dress styles there, none inappropriate, but not all considered usual funeral appropriate by etiquette standards.  Some of his friends had on jeans and dress shirts..these are guys who probably don't even own dress pants, true blue collar guys, but they weren't sloppy looking, and all manners of colors were worn. 

The second was my DD's very close friend, a really great kid, who unfortunately took his own life at 19.  The majority of mourners (and there were so many) were teenagers to early 20's and the dress styles worn would have made Emily Post cringe, including my own DD who went her usual style, but these were kids mourning one of their own and to me, it would have seemed strange to see these kids in somber suits and dresses..instead they had on their version of dressy, including interesting piercings and hair styles/colors.  And his family greeted each and every kid with a big hug and kind words not even noticing what they were wearing.

I think it really depends on the person who passed..if they were super casual fun loving who wore loud colors, I think it shows a sense of honoring when people dress like that, or if great grandma was a conservative woman, I would go conservative.  When I was 16 and a good friend died, his parents asked the over 200 people coming to the funeral to wear jeans and t shirts for the services and we all did and I think he looked down and smiled at all of us.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Softly Spoken on July 27, 2013, 01:42:15 PM
POD to Twik's "nicely but quietly."

People rarely, if ever, shop with funerals in mind. They don't at a prospective clothing purchase and consider whether they can wear it to a wake or funeral. We don't associate death with clothing, and only the morbidly minded think about people they know dying and the rituals associated with that event. Add to that factors like economic status and IMHO, it seems very uncharitable to criticize what someone wears, esp. to a funeral.

I think "as respectable, respectful and clean as possible" is the best anyone should hope for at a funeral.  I also agree with *inviteseller that it may depend on whose funeral it is and their relationship to you. Sober colors seem more appropriate, but what if the deceased loved that colorful dress you have - what if they even bought it for you?

As long as the clothing is not messy or getting in the way, the focus should be on the deceased, not mourner's supposed fashion faux pas.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: NyaChan on July 27, 2013, 01:44:21 PM
I think part of the problem is where people are shopping.  When I was a teen, the teen stores were places like Forever 21 or H&M.  They didn't sell those nicer, modest, or simple clothing.  Teen stores tend to sell trends, not classics.  If I wanted classic, I had to go to department stores, but a teen shopping on their own thinks:  Formal = dress that is evening appropriate, goes to the stores they are used to, and picks from what they have.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: delabela on July 27, 2013, 01:47:38 PM
I would rather wear my own (20 year old) prom dress to a funeral than wear jeans, so if the choices were a rather "off" dress or denim, I totally get where they are coming from. To me, jeans would feel disrespectful to such a significant degree that I would be extremely uncomfortable. I know other people disagree and I would not judge anyone who wore jeans.

I also think young people do see "dressing up" as relatively the same across most occasions.

ETA - I'm focusing on jeans because that's something most young people have in their wardrobe, but you could substitute athletic pants, hiking pants, etc.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: VorFemme on July 27, 2013, 02:07:56 PM
I look good in black - so I have black pants, black skirt, black & white sun dress (new), and a couple of basic black dresses in the closet.  Not entirely on purpose - but it did make it easier to pack for a somber event.

As to two of the teenagers in prom dresses - one of them had a NEW church dress (recently baptized) but it was RED.  Not what her parents were thinking of when packing for an uncle's funeral...and they may not have realized that she'd grown quite so much since prom - she was 5' 8" a short while ago, is now about two inches taller, and still growing (the basketball coaches at her high school are very happy with her height - her parents are having trouble keeping up with the growth spurts).   

It was short enough that she didn't dare bend over....

Her mother is six feet tall and built "in proportion" - ready to wear is not ready for that family to shop off the rack.  I kept my mouth shut about the deep décolleté on "Mom's" funeral dress - I would have added a scarf tucked into the neckline or a lace modesty panel, if it were me.  And I have the same issue with ready to wear and tend to buy knits for a little extra help in the fitting situation.  But I was staying in a hotel room with my dad preacher & my mom the preacher's wife and a preacher's daughter - so I had gone through my wardrobe to make sure that there was NO risk of "wardrobe malfunctions". 

Not everyone has to consider their "room mates" at the hotel quite the same way....
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: LeeLieLow on July 27, 2013, 02:08:26 PM
About three years ago I went a funeral for the relative of a friend whose family is Jewish.  We are not Jewish.  I saw only  black being worn.  I, on the other hand, was wearing a brown and white print summer dress.  It was more brown than white.  I had my young daughter with me and I dressed her in a navy sailor dress, all navy with a small amount of white trim.  It was a very hot day and I thought that we would fit right in but I felt like we stuck out. 
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: JacklynHyde on July 27, 2013, 02:38:50 PM
This made me chuckle a little.  When my grandmother passed away, I decided to wear a dark green dress to her memorial instead of any of my black ones (I'm a recovering goth girl and have quite a few).  The dress is conservative and flattering at the same time.  Since I was giving one of the eulogies, I decided to dress in something that would make me feel confident standing in front of a very full room.  My grandmother was a florist.  The dark green of my attire, in my mind, honored her green thumb.  It was a comfort on a rough day.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: camlan on July 27, 2013, 02:45:15 PM
The last funeral I went to was my uncle's. One of his daughters was wearing a sundress (with straps) in a black, white and green print. She had to travel a fair distance to get to the funeral on time, and my guess is that this was the "blackest" dress she had, and she had no time for shopping before the funeral. And it was an exceedingly hot summer day.

I think the rules about all black have relaxed significantly. Mostly, I see people in somber colors--black, gray, dark blue--with maybe a colored shirt. Bright, cheery colors seem to go against the solemn nature of the ceremony, unless the deceased requested them. I usually wear gray, because so many people don't wear all black, unless I'm closely related to the deceased. Wearing all black from head to toe makes me feel like I'm pretending a closer relationship than I really had. I do wear all black for certain funerals where I know that it is expected of all attending--it's usually a cultural thing.

At a recent visitation/wake I attended, many of the teenagers present were in t-shirts and jeans. While my parents, back in the 60s, always made sure that us kids had a "good" outfit, I don't think the same rules apply today. T-shirts and jeans may be all that those kids have.

It's so easy not to attend a wake or funeral--you don't get much notice, people are mostly pretty scheduled these days. So I try to focus on the fact that these people *did* make the time, *did* interrupt their plans, to come and comfort the bereaved. Yes, I'd like to see everyone properly dressed. But they are there. And they could so easily be somewhere else.

So I agree with PPs that the girls in the OP's post probably had a choice between those prom dresses and very casual clothing.

Small children shouldn't be dressed in black--that's the opinion of most etiquette mavens. "Sunday best" is what is advised for them.

Many years ago, I realized that once I wore something to a funeral, I never wore it again. It wasn't a conscious thought, but I simply never wore those clothes again. Now I own a gray funeral dress and it only comes out for funerals.

Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: White Lotus on July 27, 2013, 03:03:13 PM
I grew up with the notion that one needed a day dress/outfit (not a business suit), a cocktail/semi-formal dress/outfit, a real evening dress/outfit, something appropriate for a wedding (one of the above will normally do) and something appropriate for a funeral, plus business, casual and grubby/sports-specific clothes, quantities and styles as indicated by lifestyle and climate. This was called a "wardrobe" and it was built over time out of good quality clothes, to an actual plan, rather than through the mindless accumulation of random clothing items.  Or so I learned.
 I travel for work, and almost always wear trousers.  I have two "all-purpose" black suits that can be dressed up to evening or down to business as needed.  They are my go-to outfits for nearly everything, and certainly a funeral. My warderobe is based on black, because I can wear it, and it makes packing easier and one's clothing bills cheaper if everything is in one color family.  If I based my wardrobe on brown, navy blue, or green, I would find those colors just fine for a funeral, provided the outfit appeared appropriate in style, and I wouldn't blink at a print dress or bright blouse as long as the outfit was a daytime style.  I raised my children with this notion of things a basic wardrobe requires -- adjustments to dinner jackets and at least one dark suit for the boys, and, yes, they own them -- but nobody seems to do this any more.  People have clothes, but not wardrobes selected to cover all the social bases one touches in daily life.  I can see a younger person having nothing but a lot of very casual clothes for everyday wear and one very dressy cocktail/evening dress bought for a prom, because jeans and T-shirts are all most people ever wear anymore.   I'd cut the kids a pass, but hope that somebody puts out a "How to Build a Great Wardrobe On A Budget" book for young people soon.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: *inviteseller on July 27, 2013, 03:14:50 PM
camlan..I have a beautiful pair of black pinstripe dress pants..they are my favorite pants but after I wore them to my SO's funeral 2 years ago, they have never come out of my closet again and the adorable dress my DD wore that day..well, I admit I threw it out after because I never wanted to see her in it again.  She loved that dress, picked it out herself (not for the funeral either) but I just could not even think of her ever wearing it again knowing she wore it to her dad's funeral.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Hmmmmm on July 27, 2013, 03:56:21 PM
In unfortunately attended the memorial service cof a good friends's husband last week. Since they'd have teens boys, there were many teens in attendance. I was actuallyb quite suprisedv that every one of they young men were either vin dress pants, button down and tie or were in a full suit. The young women were ally traditionally dressed for a funeral.

While black was a predominant color, many of the women were in black pants with a conservative blouse; others were in dresses in shades of grey or brown.

There were a few men in jeans and a sports jacket.

Maybe because I attend at least one funeral every couple of years, I try to have something in my closet that is acceptable. I also made sure to have something appropriate for my kids. There have been sports jackets my son wore once before out growing. But my DD has a closet full of prom, home coming, and other dance dresses that were only worn once.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Sterling on July 27, 2013, 03:57:31 PM
My brother wore khaki pants and a navy green fleece pull over to my dad's funeral and he gave the eulogy.

My father died suddenly.  When he first got sick we called my brother to come to the hospital.  He drove 12 hours to get here.  By then my father had died.  The whole day was spent in shock and we arranged for a fast funeral.  MY brother never had time, money or the urge to go buy something new to wear.

I had a black dress to wear only because my entire closet it half black dresses.  My mother wore blue because it is what she has and in her mental state and honestly her size and shape buying anything dressy takes a lot of shopping to find something decent.

I personally have always felt that the judgement that some people make on what a person wears to a funeral is kinda mean.  In the long run what does it really matter?  People place too much importance on how other people look.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: nutraxfornerves on July 27, 2013, 04:35:16 PM
Quote
Nutraxfornerves is talking about her own mother's funeral, not her mother's cousin's funeral, so no assumption there, she really does know what her mother preferred. It was an assumption on the part of the priest (the mother's cousin) who didn't really know the deceased as well as her own daughter did.
This.

The priest "knew" that my mother would have wanted everyone in bright colors. I knew she would have wanted what to her were "funeral clothes." Not necessarily black, but somber, respectful, and not casual.

Nowadays, I would choose the kind of outfit I'd wear to a formal business meeting, but not in a bright color. (I just might wear a bright red suit to a business meeting.)
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: mbbored on July 27, 2013, 04:38:34 PM
This.  I wear black because I can't find anything darker, but I'll park my POD here.

I cringed when my niece wore Barbie pink strappy top with a mini skirt to her mother's funeral, but it helped an 11 year old child get though the worst day of her life because her mom bought the outfit.  I'll roll with it.  I don't how she walked in those glitter flip flops in March, though!

My mom won't be having a funeral (her wishes), but if she did, I'd avoid her least favorite color, that's all.

I find it hard to believe that you thought it was appropriate to judge what a child wore to their parent's funeral. My father died when I was 8 and all my siblings and I simply wore our best clothes. For my sister and I did not include black but instead dresses with flowers and lace (in January). I don't know if it was on purpose or if it was because our mother was too overwhelmed to do otherwise. However, I'd hate to think that anybody there was judging us for not wearing traditional mourning.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: camlan on July 27, 2013, 05:00:06 PM
This.  I wear black because I can't find anything darker, but I'll park my POD here.

I cringed when my niece wore Barbie pink strappy top with a mini skirt to her mother's funeral, but it helped an 11 year old child get though the worst day of her life because her mom bought the outfit.  I'll roll with it.  I don't how she walked in those glitter flip flops in March, though!

My mom won't be having a funeral (her wishes), but if she did, I'd avoid her least favorite color, that's all.

I find it hard to believe that you thought it was appropriate to judge what a child wore to their parent's funeral. My father died when I was 8 and all my siblings and I simply wore our best clothes. For my sister and I did not include black but instead dresses with flowers and lace (in January). I don't know if it was on purpose or if it was because our mother was too overwhelmed to do otherwise. However, I'd hate to think that anybody there was judging us for not wearing traditional mourning.

Children aren't supposed to wear black. Traditionally, all white is also acceptable mourning wear, and that's what most people would have dressed children in, way back when.

These days, Miss Manners says children should be in the equivalent of church clothes for a funeral.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Outdoor Girl on July 27, 2013, 05:19:34 PM
A good friend of good friends of mine died a couple of years ago.  They'd all played on the same beach volleyball team for years, called the Flying Hawaiians.  They all wore Hawaiian shirts to his funeral, with his wife's blessing.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: turnip on July 27, 2013, 05:20:42 PM
This.  I wear black because I can't find anything darker, but I'll park my POD here.

I cringed when my niece wore Barbie pink strappy top with a mini skirt to her mother's funeral, but it helped an 11 year old child get though the worst day of her life because her mom bought the outfit.  I'll roll with it.  I don't how she walked in those glitter flip flops in March, though!

My mom won't be having a funeral (her wishes), but if she did, I'd avoid her least favorite color, that's all.

I find it hard to believe that you thought it was appropriate to judge what a child wore to their parent's funeral. My father died when I was 8 and all my siblings and I simply wore our best clothes. For my sister and I did not include black but instead dresses with flowers and lace (in January). I don't know if it was on purpose or if it was because our mother was too overwhelmed to do otherwise. However, I'd hate to think that anybody there was judging us for not wearing traditional mourning.

My jaw dropped at this too.  An 11 year old child is at her _mother's_ funeral and you even spent a moment thinking about the appropriateness of her attire?   That is a whole other level of bad etiquette, IHMO.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: VorFemme on July 27, 2013, 05:25:31 PM
What a minor wears to a parent's funeral...is going to depend on the surviving parent noticing what the child is wearing or someone else putting together something for them to wear.  I can see where the recently widowed might not be capable of doing more than the barest minimum for a few days or even a few weeks...

I do like the idea of a book for teenagers & college students on putting together a better wardrobe by thinking about what they need for where they go and what they do - but I keep checking out a book from the late 1970s or 1980s about a working wardrobe with sketches of "wardrobe capsules".  The pieces of which mostly mix and match for a given purpose, making a "work" capsule, a "casual capsule", even an "evening capsule" quite possible - and if the person picks the same neutral color as a base (navy, black, chocolate brown, gray, etc.) then most of the other capsules can be mined to put together a travel capsule.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: crella on July 27, 2013, 05:38:42 PM
This.  I wear black because I can't find anything darker, but I'll park my POD here.

I cringed when my niece wore Barbie pink strappy top with a mini skirt to her mother's funeral, but it helped an 11 year old child get though the worst day of her life because her mom bought the outfit.  I'll roll with it.  I don't how she walked in those glitter flip flops in March, though!

My mom won't be having a funeral (her wishes), but if she did, I'd avoid her least favorite color, that's all.


I find it hard to believe that you thought it was appropriate to judge what a child wore to their parent's funeral. My father died when I was 8 and all my siblings and I simply wore our best clothes. For my sister and I did not include black but instead dresses with flowers and lace (in January). I don't know if it was on purpose or if it was because our mother was too overwhelmed to do otherwise. However, I'd hate to think that anybody there was judging us for not wearing traditional mourning.

My jaw dropped at this too.  An 11 year old child is at her _mother's_ funeral and you even spent a moment thinking about the appropriateness of her attire?   That is a whole other level of bad etiquette, IHMO.

Well, there's cringing inwardly on reflex (can you help that? I think it's an automatic reaction) and not saying anything, and there's having that reflex and then verbalizing it. I don't think she said anything. I don't think seeing something and having a reaction to it are cause to accuse her of 'judging'. You've never seen something at either a funeral or a wedding to make you start a bit? I don't think we can start chiding people for their involuntary reactions and thoughts.....

Quote
I do like the idea of a book for teenagers & college students on putting together a better wardrobe by thinking about what they need for where they go and what they do - but I keep checking out a book from the late 1970s or 1980s about a working wardrobe with sketches of "wardrobe capsules".  The pieces of which mostly mix and match for a given purpose, making a "work" capsule, a "casual capsule", even an "evening capsule" quite possible - and if the person picks the same neutral color as a base (navy, black, chocolate brown, gray, etc.) then most of the other capsules can be mined to put together a travel capsule.

I agree. You hear 'it was either jeans or **********', it leads me to think that people just don't plan a wardrobe with multi-purpose pieces any more.

Quote
I grew up with the notion that one needed a day dress/outfit (not a business suit), a cocktail/semi-formal dress/outfit, a real evening dress/outfit, something appropriate for a wedding (one of the above will normally do) and something appropriate for a funeral,

Right. It takes all the guesswork/upset/rushing out of an already stressful situation.

Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: VorFemme on July 27, 2013, 05:55:53 PM
The grandparents all dressed with a more formal level of distinction between types of clothing than my children (their great-grandchildren) and others of the same age & generation do today.

My parents and their siblings pretty much are almost as formal in separating out what to wear when and to which sites as their parents were and they raised my sister and I to pay attention.  I get the distinct impression that my brothers were not paying attention to those lessons.....or possibly their wives had a different set of categories than we grew up with.

At least one funeral has seen my nieces in cut off jeans & t-shirts (they grabbed suitcases already packed for summer camp and nobody checked to see what was in them).  This time, they were in strapless prom dresses - one of them with a jacket to wear over it (she was concerned about her shoulders being cold, from what she said) and the other one wanted to "borrow" the jacket - but there was only one jacket in their suitcase.

I've seen this before - if they "share" a suitcase, they will plan to borrow something from their sister and do not pack their own garments as carefully.  I've seen them show up on vacation with only ONE swimsuit for one sister and three for the others - because they had "matching" suits and only one set got packed...we were planning on swimming at least once a day, so two suits each would have been fine to bring.

Makes me glad that Lil Sis and I wore totally different sizes growing up (she was almost six inches shorter than I was until we were in our late twenties - so not even belts & shoes would have fit - only purses and purses were carried, not packed).  I never really could plan to borrow anything from her - possibly a hair clip might have fit, but I kept having my haircuts messed up and trimmed shorter....Mom would sometimes try to save money (she worked part time) and her "just a half inch trims" were usually disasters.

She could run clippers over the boys' hair - but really short hair was THE style for kids their age in West Texas in the 1960s.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: geekette on July 27, 2013, 06:28:36 PM
When my parents were growing up, not wearing black was starting to become acceptable, so long as you were wearing 'Church clothes'/Sunday best.
But these days, a lot of people - young folk especially - don't actually own church clothes. My church is quite casual; jeans and t-shirts are the norm. That means that teenagers are even less likely to have the sort of clothes you'd traditionally expect available.  If my understanding is either my best clothes or my church clothes, I'm going to look terribly out of place - but my parents certainly never thought of advising me that I should wear my business attire to a funeral (I had to google that when my grandmother died a few years back).
When I was in high-school, my friend's grandfather died very unexpectedly. Being from a non-religious family, she didn't actually have any 'Sunday best' clothes, couldn't afford to buy her own clothes right then, and her parents didn't have time to go shopping with her with traveling for the funeral.  She wore her school uniform because it was the nicest clothes she had.  Her (private) school uniform was a maroon blazer, white blouse with maroon scarf, and a maroon skirt, that was a little too short because she'd been shooting up like a weed and parents don't usually consider you'll need another size up a month after last buying it.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: mbbored on July 27, 2013, 06:53:40 PM
This.  I wear black because I can't find anything darker, but I'll park my POD here.

I cringed when my niece wore Barbie pink strappy top with a mini skirt to her mother's funeral, but it helped an 11 year old child get though the worst day of her life because her mom bought the outfit.  I'll roll with it.  I don't how she walked in those glitter flip flops in March, though!

My mom won't be having a funeral (her wishes), but if she did, I'd avoid her least favorite color, that's all.


I find it hard to believe that you thought it was appropriate to judge what a child wore to their parent's funeral. My father died when I was 8 and all my siblings and I simply wore our best clothes. For my sister and I did not include black but instead dresses with flowers and lace (in January). I don't know if it was on purpose or if it was because our mother was too overwhelmed to do otherwise. However, I'd hate to think that anybody there was judging us for not wearing traditional mourning.

My jaw dropped at this too.  An 11 year old child is at her _mother's_ funeral and you even spent a moment thinking about the appropriateness of her attire?   That is a whole other level of bad etiquette, IHMO.

Well, there's cringing inwardly on reflex (can you help that? I think it's an automatic reaction) and not saying anything, and there's having that reflex and then verbalizing it. I don't think she said anything. I don't think seeing something and having a reaction to it are cause to accuse her of 'judging'. You've never seen something at either a funeral or a wedding to make you start a bit? I don't think we can start chiding people for their involuntary reactions and thoughts.....

But then she came here and said something here that came across as fairly judgmental of a grieving child.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: snappylt on July 27, 2013, 07:10:26 PM
When my parents were growing up, not wearing black was starting to become acceptable, so long as you were wearing 'Church clothes'/Sunday best.
But these days, a lot of people - young folk especially - don't actually own church clothes. My church is quite casual; jeans and t-shirts are the norm. That means that teenagers are even less likely to have the sort of clothes you'd traditionally expect available.  If my understanding is either my best clothes or my church clothes, I'm going to look terribly out of place - but my parents certainly never thought of advising me that I should wear my business attire to a funeral (I had to google that when my grandmother died a few years back).
When I was in high-school, my friend's grandfather died very unexpectedly. Being from a non-religious family, she didn't actually have any 'Sunday best' clothes, couldn't afford to buy her own clothes right then, and her parents didn't have time to go shopping with her with traveling for the funeral.  She wore her school uniform because it was the nicest clothes she had.  Her (private) school uniform was a maroon blazer, white blouse with maroon scarf, and a maroon skirt, that was a little too short because she'd been shooting up like a weed and parents don't usually consider you'll need another size up a month after last buying it.

(Bolding is mine above.)

That's what I was thinking of when I posted earlier that I suspect that the prom dresses may have the best those young women could do on short notice.



I've posted elsewhere about one of my sons who attended a very casual church.  When he was in high school he did not have any what I would call "dress clothes" that fit him.  We had stopped selecting his clothes for him a few years previously, and he selected only clothes he'd wear to school or church - and at his church the teenagers wore t-shirts and jeans.

My son had an appointment for a in-person interview for a college scholarship program.  The instructions he was sent said he should wear his "Sunday best", so he planned to wear jeans and a t-shirt (which were his Sunday best that were appropriate at his casual church).  I tried to suggest that he should wear what a traditional older person would think of as Sunday best, but my son was a very unyielding sort of fellow and he was sure I didn't know what I was talking about.  (He did switch from jeans to khaki pants, but he still wore a t-shirt to the interview, because that was his Sunday best and he couldn't imagine the interviewers meant anything different.)

Well, when we got to the interview building, it was full of teenage boys and girls all dressed in dressy clothes.  My son and one other boy were the only ones in t-shirts; all the other boys had shirts and ties and dress slacks, and many wore suits.

I kept my mouth shut, and a few minutes later my son on his own whispered to me that he had decided in the future he would always dress up for interviews.  I think he learned a valuable lesson that day.



Getting back to the OP, is it possible that those young women realized that their clothes didn't fit in well at the funeral, and maybe the next time they go to one they may dress differently?
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Thipu1 on July 27, 2013, 07:14:06 PM
My Grandmother, who was born around 1880, had the best idea about funeral attire. 

'If you expect to receive condolences, you should wear black.  If you expect to offer them, you need not wear black but your clothes should be modest and respectful'.

I have no problem with the volleyball team wearing Aloha shirts to the funeral of a teammate.  That's sweetly respectful to the memory of the deceased.    On the other hand, those who show up in black sweats and black flip-flops because they think everyone should wear black and that's the only black they own are badly mistaken.

I think part of the problem is that, in the media, everyone at a funeral is shown wearing solid black.  Usually, they're also wearing dark glasses. This wasn't ever what was expected in the real world.  Just as the Bride stands out at her Wedding by wearing white, the widow or close relatives of the deceased stand out at a funeral by wearing black.

         

 
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Psychopoesie on July 27, 2013, 08:21:09 PM
At most funerals i've tended to wear smart business clothes in darker colours.

I was visiting my dad when his condition quickly worsened and he died about 2 weeks later. We knew he was sick (terminal cancer) but doctors thought he still had several months left.

It was summer and he lived in a coastal city so I'd packed accordingly. When it became clear I'd need to stay longer than planned, I had some more clothes sent up by post but did not anticipate the need for funeral wear.

So I had to shop for clothes the day before his funeral. There wasn't a big choice (it was a sun and surf sort of place) and I couldn't find anything dark. So I ended up wearing biscuit coloured 3 quarter length pants, matching cotton camisole and collared cotton blouse (with a floral pattern) over that.

I hope no one who came to dad's funeral judged me for that. To be honest I don't remember what anyone else was wearing. I was just grateful they came to pay their respects.


Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: VorFemme on July 27, 2013, 08:42:50 PM
Getting back to the OP, is it possible that those young women realized that their clothes didn't fit in well at the funeral, and maybe the next time they go to one they may dress differently?

The last family funeral that I saw them at, they had grabbed suitcases packed for summer camp (which they would have been going to when they had gotten back - I suppose there was a need for some laundry to be done when they got back) and wore t-shirts and cut off jeans....so the prom dresses were an improvement - they just went too far in the "formal" direction, is the only way I can explain it.  An over correction....now, maybe they will take it one notch down instead of three notches down for the next family funeral....

Which could be next week, as another uncle died today (our mother's sister's husband instead of our father's brother).   

It will depend on whether or not they have gotten home and have time to repack before turning around or if they get dressed from the same suitcases because they haven't had time to get home yet.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: zyrs on July 28, 2013, 12:00:37 AM
Getting back to the OP, is it possible that those young women realized that their clothes didn't fit in well at the funeral, and maybe the next time they go to one they may dress differently?

The last family funeral that I saw them at, they had grabbed suitcases packed for summer camp (which they would have been going to when they had gotten back - I suppose there was a need for some laundry to be done when they got back) and wore t-shirts and cut off jeans....so the prom dresses were an improvement - they just went too far in the "formal" direction, is the only way I can explain it.  An over correction....now, maybe they will take it one notch down instead of three notches down for the next family funeral....

Which could be next week, as another uncle died today (our mother's sister's husband instead of our father's brother).   

It will depend on whether or not they have gotten home and have time to repack before turning around or if they get dressed from the same suitcases because they haven't had time to get home yet.

My condolences on the loss of your uncle.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: CakeEater on July 28, 2013, 05:45:18 AM
I don't think anyone who has expressed the sentiment, "I hope no-one judged me for that' needs to worry. There's a difference between noticing what people wear and judging them for it.

Noticing that a young girl wore a sparkly, perhaps too revealing for her age, outfit to her mother's funeral is fine. Mentioning it here is fine. We're here to discuss the etiquette of funeral dress, after all. Berating the child, or her carer, not fine, but there was no suggestion that that happened.

And in fact, I would argue that we should be noticing how other people dress. How else do we know what suits various occasions, except by seeing what everyone is wearing?
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: VorFemme on July 28, 2013, 07:44:05 AM
Getting back to the OP, is it possible that those young women realized that their clothes didn't fit in well at the funeral, and maybe the next time they go to one they may dress differently?

The last family funeral that I saw them at, they had grabbed suitcases packed for summer camp (which they would have been going to when they had gotten back - I suppose there was a need for some laundry to be done when they got back) and wore t-shirts and cut off jeans....so the prom dresses were an improvement - they just went too far in the "formal" direction, is the only way I can explain it.  An over correction....now, maybe they will take it one notch down instead of three notches down for the next family funeral....

Which could be next week, as another uncle died today (our mother's sister's husband instead of our father's brother).   

It will depend on whether or not they have gotten home and have time to repack before turning around or if they get dressed from the same suitcases because they haven't had time to get home yet.

My condolences on the loss of your uncle.


Thank you - this will be the third funeral this month for my parents (great aunt - widow of Mom's uncle was one that we were away on vacation and missed) and the second for those of my immediate family who can get to it.  Dad's brother and Mom's BIL mean that there is little overlap between those who attended Friday last week and those who will be going to this one...which has yet to be set up.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: faithlessone on July 28, 2013, 08:27:44 AM
Many years ago, I realized that once I wore something to a funeral, I never wore it again. It wasn't a conscious thought, but I simply never wore those clothes again. Now I own a gray funeral dress and it only comes out for funerals.

I'm so glad other people feel this way.

Before last year, I had only been to one funeral - my grandmother. I had just turned 8 when she died, and I wore the dress she had made me a little while before she died - a beautiful crimson velvet party dress with white lacy cuffs and a net petticoat. It had been made for Christmas, but she passed away at the beginning of December. I never wore it again after the funeral.

Last year, I went to 5 funerals. My best friend's father, my godfather, my brother, my uncle and a close family friend. The day before my best friend's father's funeral, I bought a black dress with a pattern of white butterflies near the hem. I then wore that for the other 4 funerals I had to go to that year.

The idea of wearing that dress to any other occasion makes me feel physically sick, so it's just hanging in my wardrobe, waiting. It's a pity, because it's a beautiful dress and suits me perfectly, but the association with my grief is just far too strong to be ignored.

As for general funeral dress codes - to be honest, I don't really notice what other people are wearing at a funeral, unless it's really over the top. So long as they're present and behave respectfully, I don't think it matters what they wear. 
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Outdoor Girl on July 28, 2013, 08:33:09 AM
Now that you all say that, I realized I did the same thing.  When my Mom died, we had 3 visitations (due to the large number of people we knew would be coming) and then the funeral.  So I needed 4 outfits.  I had 3, including my interview suit which was a dark purple.  It fit the best and looked the most flattering so that's what I wore for the funeral.  I bought one more outfit.  I don't remember wearing any of them again.  And then I lost about 20 pounds and none of them fit anymore so I consigned them.

faithlessone, I agree about not really noticing what other people were wearing.  The granddaughter I mentioned in the too short skirt was only noticeable because she was playing a part in the service.  If she hadn't been, I probably wouldn't have noticed.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Twik on July 28, 2013, 10:19:43 AM
I've not been to too many funerals (fortunately) but what I would *expect* people to wear would be:
- Clean, neat clothes
- Reasonably good clothes (not t-shirts and cutoffs)
- Not "look at me, I'm sexy!" clothes

I've never really noticed colour. Expecting everyone to get into black nowadays isn't practical. My own rule is that any clothing that indicates that one didn't make any sort of effort, or that indicates that the main effort was to draw attention to the wearer rather than the event, is inappropriate.

If some people absolutely cannot afford more than jeans and t-shirts, it's understandable, but if it's simply that they have never bothered to buy more than jeans and t-shirts, they need to realize that life as an adult sometimes requires one to wear "serious" clothes, and everyone needs a set of those.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Army Mom on July 28, 2013, 10:42:47 AM
Seems like I have been to too many funerals lately. And many times I do see people wearing what I consider inappropriate clothes. After the last one, I explained it to my teen daughter as "if you would wear it to go clubbing or to mow the lawn, don't wear it to a funeral".
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: VorFemme on July 28, 2013, 10:43:58 AM
I think that's what got me at the last few funerals where there were people wearing black - prom dresses and "date wear" are black with a distinct aura of "male bait" rather than "formal occasion where I need to look somber".  A red dress that covered their shoulders, any cleavage, and went almost all the way to the knees would have been a more appropriate choice - in some ways. 

I remember seeing something in one of the Miles Vorkosigan saga books about certain cultures with a LOT of rules on what to wear when were a lot easier to sort out what to wear if you HAD to wear a military uniform.  It might not be exactly the right thing by cultural rules - but it was what the person was required to wear, so it wasn't their fault if it wasn't exactly perfect. 

The Navy personnel in dress whites doing the flag ceremony graveside were in the correct outfits, even if they were blindingly white in the Texas sun.  Everyone else had more choice and some of them made choices that were better (in that they were more conventional) than others.  No one was behaving inappropriately - so no comments were made.

Thankfully, no one wearing a really short skirt bent over...
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: jaxsue on July 28, 2013, 10:56:32 AM
Seems like I have been to too many funerals lately. And many times I do see people wearing what I consider inappropriate clothes. After the last one, I explained it to my teen daughter as "if you would wear it to go clubbing or to mow the lawn, don't wear it to a funeral".

That is a great way to put it!

I grew up in a minister's home. That means I went to lots of funerals from the time I was a small child. Of course, we had church clothes which were fine for funerals (dark colors, modest cut). FTR, our church was quite conservative, so you wouldn't find attendees in jeans or mini-skirts.

I admit that, at the moment, I only own 1 dress (a little black dress) that is not suitable for a funeral. I do, however, have a very nice business suit (with pants not a skirt) that would suffice for a funeral. I think it's important for pretty much anyone over the age of 8 to have something for events like funerals. They can be found at resale shops, so for most people money shouldn't be an issue.

I do admit that I had a dress I gave to Goodwill after my father's funeral. I wore this thing to the 2 memorial services and, TBH, never wanted to see it again. It was perfectly good, nice quality, and someone got a nice dress for probably only a few dollars.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: NestHolder on July 28, 2013, 11:51:22 AM
I'm in the UK, and in the last several years have been to three funerals where attendees were specifically asked *not* to wear black  At my Grandma's, I wore my best hat—which is fuchsia coloured—in the certainty that she would have approved of any and all Proper Hats in the chapel.  I was a bit surprised to find myself the only woman wearing a hat to my father's funeral—my stepmother is a very smart dresser, and I was sure she'd have one.  To me, proper funeral wear is the sub-fusc version of proper wedding wear, but it is nice to go to a funeral where everyone is in bright, celebratory colours.  After all, when the occasion is described as a celebration of [deceased]'s life, we should dress for it.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: jaxsue on July 28, 2013, 12:01:09 PM
I'm in the UK, and in the last several years have been to three funerals where attendees were specifically asked *not* to wear black  At my Grandma's, I wore my best hat—which is fuchsia coloured—in the certainty that she would have approved of any and all Proper Hats in the chapel.  I was a bit surprised to find myself the only woman wearing a hat to my father's funeral—my stepmother is a very smart dresser, and I was sure she'd have one.  To me, proper funeral wear is the sub-fusc version of proper wedding wear, but it is nice to go to a funeral where everyone is in bright, celebratory colours.  After all, when the occasion is described as a celebration of [deceased]'s life, we should dress for it.

I like the idea of cheerful colors at a funeral, especially if it's mine.  :)

Edited to add: I'm fine with people wearing black or hot pink to my funeral. I don't mind either way.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on July 28, 2013, 12:01:52 PM
This.  I wear black because I can't find anything darker, but I'll park my POD here.

I cringed when my niece wore Barbie pink strappy top with a mini skirt to her mother's funeral, but it helped an 11 year old child get though the worst day of her life because her mom bought the outfit.  I'll roll with it.  I don't how she walked in those glitter flip flops in March, though!

My mom won't be having a funeral (her wishes), but if she did, I'd avoid her least favorite color, that's all.


I find it hard to believe that you thought it was appropriate to judge what a child wore to their parent's funeral. My father died when I was 8 and all my siblings and I simply wore our best clothes. For my sister and I did not include black but instead dresses with flowers and lace (in January). I don't know if it was on purpose or if it was because our mother was too overwhelmed to do otherwise. However, I'd hate to think that anybody there was judging us for not wearing traditional mourning.

My jaw dropped at this too.  An 11 year old child is at her _mother's_ funeral and you even spent a moment thinking about the appropriateness of her attire?   That is a whole other level of bad etiquette, IHMO.

Well, there's cringing inwardly on reflex (can you help that? I think it's an automatic reaction) and not saying anything, and there's having that reflex and then verbalizing it. I don't think she said anything. I don't think seeing something and having a reaction to it are cause to accuse her of 'judging'. You've never seen something at either a funeral or a wedding to make you start a bit? I don't think we can start chiding people for their involuntary reactions and thoughts.....

Quote
I do like the idea of a book for teenagers & college students on putting together a better wardrobe by thinking about what they need for where they go and what they do - but I keep checking out a book from the late 1970s or 1980s about a working wardrobe with sketches of "wardrobe capsules".  The pieces of which mostly mix and match for a given purpose, making a "work" capsule, a "casual capsule", even an "evening capsule" quite possible - and if the person picks the same neutral color as a base (navy, black, chocolate brown, gray, etc.) then most of the other capsules can be mined to put together a travel capsule.

I agree. You hear 'it was either jeans or **********', it leads me to think that people just don't plan a wardrobe with multi-purpose pieces any more.

Quote
I grew up with the notion that one needed a day dress/outfit (not a business suit), a cocktail/semi-formal dress/outfit, a real evening dress/outfit, something appropriate for a wedding (one of the above will normally do) and something appropriate for a funeral,

Right. It takes all the guesswork/upset/rushing out of an already stressful situation.

Of course I didn't say anything!  I had only met the child a few times.  I was a little busy trying to help my brother that day.

Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Twik on July 28, 2013, 12:08:46 PM

I like the idea of cheerful colors at a funeral, especially if it's mine.  :)

Actually, I think it is as controlling to tell people to wear bright colours as it is to tell them they must wear black.

When my best friend passed away, I did not feel like celebrating. Not even her wonderful life. Afterwards, yes, but not at the time, and I would have felt worse to have people chivvying me to "look happy! It's a party for Friend!"
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: camlan on July 28, 2013, 12:34:35 PM
I think that's what got me at the last few funerals where there were people wearing black - prom dresses and "date wear" are black with a distinct aura of "male bait" rather than "formal occasion where I need to look somber".  A red dress that covered their shoulders, any cleavage, and went almost all the way to the knees would have been a more appropriate choice - in some ways. 

I think for a lot of people it comes down to choosing the best possible outfit from what they already own. There's usually not a lot of time between hearing of the death and attending the funeral to go shopping. If you have to travel any distance, there's even less time.

While most men can get away with a sports coat or blazer or suit and tie in a somber color, it's a bit tougher with the average woman's wardrobe. You might have a black dress that is the right color but a skimpy, revealing cut and a red dress that is more covered up but to many people not an appropriate color for a funeral. Which do you choose? It's a toss-up as to which would be more fitting for a funeral.

Or you have a hot pink skirt suit and a black pants suit. The skirt suit is more formal, but the pants suit is the more appropriate color. Whichever one you choose, someone will find fault with it.

I give people points for being there and points for trying to wear appropriate clothes.

My cousin showed up at my father's funeral in a button-down shirt and khaki shorts. Also a full leg cast and crutches. I was incredibly touched that he'd made the 4 hour (one way) drive, given the circumstances.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: jaxsue on July 28, 2013, 08:55:02 PM

I like the idea of cheerful colors at a funeral, especially if it's mine.  :)

Actually, I think it is as controlling to tell people to wear bright colours as it is to tell them they must wear black.

When my best friend passed away, I did not feel like celebrating. Not even her wonderful life. Afterwards, yes, but not at the time, and I would have felt worse to have people chivvying me to "look happy! It's a party for Friend!"

You misunderstood my post. I said nothing about telling people what they had to wear. I was just saying that I'm fine with cheerful colors if it were my funeral. Of course we're all sad when we lose people we love! I've been there, more than a few times.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: hannahmollysmom on July 28, 2013, 09:55:22 PM
My mother passed away suddenly when my youngest was 2 years old. I had hardly anything that fit at that time! I ended up wearing a royal blue skirt, and a white sweater. Last thing on my mind was shopping for a dress. We had to travel too, and I spent all my time helping my dad with the arrangements.

I have seen a more casual dress at funerals lately. It doesn't bother me, as long as the clothes aren't ripped, dirty, or skimpy. In today's busy world, just the fact that people take the time to show their respect, is what is important.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: TootsNYC on July 29, 2013, 09:47:05 AM
Quote
Nutraxfornerves is talking about her own mother's funeral, not her mother's cousin's funeral, so no assumption there, she really does know what her mother preferred. It was an assumption on the part of the priest (the mother's cousin) who didn't really know the deceased as well as her own daughter did.
This.

The priest "knew" that my mother would have wanted everyone in bright colors. I knew she would have wanted what to her were "funeral clothes." Not necessarily black, but somber, respectful, and not casual.

Nowadays, I would choose the kind of outfit I'd wear to a formal business meeting, but not in a bright color. (I just might wear a bright red suit to a business meeting.)

When my mother passed away, my 18yo DD had very few dressy clothes. She had a black skirt w/ colorful splashes that my mom had bought for her; she had a red shirt that she wore with it. DD said "I can't wear this, it isn't black."

Knowing my mom, I said, "She would be so pleased that you love and wear the skirt she bought you. And she'd want you to dress up, but I know that she doesn't think black is required at a funeral. Esp. not in the Protestant Midwest that she inhabited." (Mom had said something like that to me at my grandmother's funeral.)

I knew my mom. I knew what she'd want.

but I also think that dressing in certain ways is really NOT about the dead person and is about the people you are around. So dressing respectfully and somewhat somberly is really appropriate in any situation in which you aren't perfectly sure what the reaction will be of the people around you.

Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: jaxsue on July 29, 2013, 09:57:38 AM
My mother passed away suddenly when my youngest was 2 years old. I had hardly anything that fit at that time! I ended up wearing a royal blue skirt, and a white sweater. Last thing on my mind was shopping for a dress. We had to travel too, and I spent all my time helping my dad with the arrangements.

I have seen a more casual dress at funerals lately. It doesn't bother me, as long as the clothes aren't ripped, dirty, or skimpy. In today's busy world, just the fact that people take the time to show their respect, is what is important.

I see nothing wrong with what you wore. I have also seen a relaxation of funeral attire. So far I haven't seen anything that is OTT.

Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: magicdomino on July 29, 2013, 10:21:11 AM
My Grandmother, who was born around 1880, had the best idea about funeral attire. 

'If you expect to receive condolences, you should wear black.  If you expect to offer them, you need not wear black but your clothes should be modest and respectful'.
I have no problem with the volleyball team wearing Aloha shirts to the funeral of a teammate.  That's sweetly respectful to the memory of the deceased.    On the other hand, those who show up in black sweats and black flip-flops because they think everyone should wear black and that's the only black they own are badly mistaken.

I think part of the problem is that, in the media, everyone at a funeral is shown wearing solid black.  Usually, they're also wearing dark glasses. This wasn't ever what was expected in the real world.  Just as the Bride stands out at her Wedding by wearing white, the widow or close relatives of the deceased stand out at a funeral by wearing black.

       

That's the way I do it.  Close family members wear black.  All others dress soberly.  Granted, in my case, that's usually black as well, because that's what's in my closet.  Now, I hate skirts and dresses, but I do have the Official Funeral and Halloween skirt.  Black knit with an elastic waist so I don't have to worry too much about size changes since the last time I wore it.  Between funerals, I wear it to the office when Halloween falls on a weekday.

I can see how a teen might not have anything appropriate unless he or she has a part-time job in a fairly formal office.  Not too many store junior departments carry
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: ladyknight1 on July 29, 2013, 10:38:48 AM
The memorial service we attended Saturday had people in everything from shorts and t-shirts to Scout uniforms (for a volunteer who had passed away). The only inappropriate outfit IMHO was a teenage girl who did not know the deceased (she just moved here from out of state) and wore a strapless orange and black cocktail dress that was very short. I have seen the same girl in jeans and shirts that would have been much more appropriate, but strapless does not work for memorial and funeral services in my opinion.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: ladyknight1 on July 29, 2013, 10:59:54 AM
Seems like I have been to too many funerals lately. And many times I do see people wearing what I consider inappropriate clothes. After the last one, I explained it to my teen daughter as "if you would wear it to go clubbing or to mow the lawn, don't wear it to a funeral".

POD here. All of the young men at the memorial Saturday were well dressed, and most of the young women were. But the one in sequins and the one in the orange and black mini strapless cocktail dress were not dressed appropriately.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: ladyknight1 on July 29, 2013, 11:07:33 AM
I have a few funeral specific outfits in my closet. A black sheath dress in crepe with a matching same length jacket, which I wear to family or very formal funerals. I wear black pants and a subdued shirt to less formal funerals or graveside services. I wear a grey dress to funerals for someone in my social circle. I wear dresses on a regular basis, so it is not out of the norm for me.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Redneck Gravy on July 29, 2013, 11:21:46 AM
I personally wear either a simple black or navy blue dress, I have both just to wear to more somber occasions.

I have been to a lot of funerals in my lifetime...I agree the dress code is changing and I agree with many posters here - if you would wear it to mow the yard or go clubbing it's not for a funeral. 

Also, these ripped up jeans (I don't care what they cost you) and any strapless top/dress seems inappropriate to me. 

I agree you don't need to wear a suit or fancy dress but really, I have seen some unbelievable outfits recently. 

Color isn't the issue with me - it's the shortness of a dress/skirt, lowcut cleavage revealing top or torn/ripped up clothing that I have issue with.   

Thanks to all of you I am able to hold my tongue and try not to judge.  It's just appalling what some people wear to a funeral sometimes - worse than what they mow the yard in!   
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: DavidH on July 29, 2013, 11:55:07 AM
I think it's easier for a guy, since you can generally wear the darkest suit or slacks and jacket you own and be fine if not perfectly dressed

I do think that prom dresses were not the best choice.  It seems like something really specific and very out of place.  It's almost like a woman wearing a bride's maid dress since it's the most formal thing she owns.  It will just stand out and not in a good way. 

On the other hand, if you are caught by surprise, you make the best with what you have or can find.  In those cases, I'd tend towards more modest style and darker colors.  For the case of strategically ripped or revealing clothing, for a funeral I'd go by the rule, "if it shows a part of your body your grandparents shouldn't see, choose something else to wear."
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: rashea on July 29, 2013, 12:05:42 PM
Honestly, I'm not sure I buy that teenagers didn't have a pair of appropriate pants in the closet. Even if you don't do a lot of formal things, I think I wore basic slacks pretty regularly in high school. We had awards ceremonies for activities, and dress up days for points at school. Anyone in band certainly had the typical black pants and white shirt. I'm not saying it's impossible, but that's a pretty significant lack.

I had a friend die in high school. I'd say almost all of us were dressed nicely.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Twik on July 29, 2013, 12:07:35 PM
Honestly, I'm not sure I buy that teenagers didn't have a pair of appropriate pants in the closet.

Even if they don't, they should, if it's financially feasible. Just being a teenager doesn't mean you don't have to occasionally act grown-up.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: ladyknight1 on July 29, 2013, 12:21:53 PM
My DS is 15 and in high school. I can't think of a time where he did not at least have a pair of dark pants that fit him and a collared shirt. Even in middle school, they were required to dress up for certain special presentations they gave for class.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: VorFemme on July 29, 2013, 12:33:37 PM
VorSon had black dress pants, black shoes, a white dress shirt, and a cummerbund as his "band uniform" for concerts in middle school.

The cummerbund would have been the only thing that I would have had him take off to go to either a wedding or a funeral.  As long as they fit, he grew fast in his early teens.

Sadly, if I wasn't there to tell him to wear that outfit - nobody else thought to have him wear it when we were going out.

He did wear the outfit with cummerbund to an awards banquet where he was serving food (VorGuy was the teacher and the fee to have the caterer do it would have doubled the cost of the food - increasing the ticket prices - VorSon was a lot "cheaper" to hire and VorGuy paid him out of pocket instead of raising the price on the tickets). 

Sadly, by high school - everything was too small except the black dress socks.....
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: *inviteseller on July 29, 2013, 01:55:42 PM
My older DD has a style of dress best described as eclectic..not revealing or dirty, just off beat (mismatched and wild colors), but for funerals she always wears either a black skirt or dress pants (she has one of each) and a nice blouse or sweater in subdued colors.  From shopping for a teen these last years, yes, most stores geared for them does not carry appropriate clothes (my friends and I call them the wh*re stores), but that is what Penny's and Sears are for.  I do not see why a teen, be it a boy or girl does not have at least 1 dress outfit that will not cause peoples eyebrows to creep up into their hairline.  And VorFemme, I would have been at the first mall or Walmart I saw to buy my kids a blouse and a skirt or pants before I allowed them to go to a funeral dressed like that.  If it has been a friend or young person*, maybe but if the bits are hanging out, it is not right. 

 
*I will say, when I was outside with a large group of the kids from my DD's friends funeral, a couple of older women walked past, did the up and done of the outfits on these kids (goth/punk/just plain out there but not sleazy) and one said to the other, loudly "Someone needs to tell these punks that a funeral is a somber occasion and they are dressed like idiots".  They were right by me when they made this LOUD pronouncement so I, not being able to control my mouth  ::), and seeing the pain these kids were in leaned over to the ladies and said quietly "They are here to mourn and honor their 19 yr old friend who passed tragically..this is how he dressed and they are just honoring him."  They got cat butt faces and quickly moved on.  I feel the dress styles fit the day and the judgement from strangers was wrong. 
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: stargazer159 on July 29, 2013, 02:32:16 PM
I wonder if the girls were told that pants were inappropriate.

As teenagers who probably have never been to a funeral, I think the parents should have been more aware of what the girls were wearing.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: VorFemme on July 29, 2013, 03:58:24 PM
My older DD has a style of dress best described as eclectic..not revealing or dirty, just off beat (mismatched and wild colors), but for funerals she always wears either a black skirt or dress pants (she has one of each) and a nice blouse or sweater in subdued colors.  From shopping for a teen these last years, yes, most stores geared for them does not carry appropriate clothes (my friends and I call them the wh*re stores), but that is what Penny's and Sears are for.  I do not see why a teen, be it a boy or girl does not have at least 1 dress outfit that will not cause peoples eyebrows to creep up into their hairline.  And VorFemme, I would have been at the first mall or Walmart I saw to buy my kids a blouse and a skirt or pants before I allowed them to go to a funeral dressed like that.  If it has been a friend or young person*, maybe but if the bits are hanging out, it is not right. 

 
*I will say, when I was outside with a large group of the kids from my DD's friends funeral, a couple of older women walked past, did the up and done of the outfits on these kids (goth/punk/just plain out there but not sleazy) and one said to the other, loudly "Someone needs to tell these punks that a funeral is a somber occasion and they are dressed like idiots".  They were right by me when they made this LOUD pronouncement so I, not being able to control my mouth  ::), and seeing the pain these kids were in leaned over to the ladies and said quietly "They are here to mourn and honor their 19 yr old friend who passed tragically..this is how he dressed and they are just honoring him."  They got cat butt faces and quickly moved on.  I feel the dress styles fit the day and the judgement from strangers was wrong. 

Twelve years ago, when my maternal grandfather passed away, we stopped at Fashion Bug on our way from Georgia to Texas to pick up an outfit for Ambrosia Hino.  Basically, anything black or a subdued color that covered everything from knees to shoulders - short sleeves okay because it was going to be Texas in July and relatively high neckline.

One of my cousins' had his wife in a miniskirted black halter dress suitable for going out dancing - in church.  I didn't say anything to her then....and neither did Grandmother - who is my inner maven who advises me on what is suitable to where when and where.  Think a very short, elderly woman dressed like Jackie O. from her Kennedy years.  Dress with matching coat, hat, gloves (in her hand if not being worn), a matching purse & high heels...hair back combed and hair sprayed to a fare-thee-well.  Grandma did adjust how she dressed over the next fifty years - she just always chose to wear "classic" clothing rather than the fad of the week...she was a preacher's wife and a school teacher - she set a good example on how to appear both professional and well dressed.....

At least I got a chance to wash my "good black dress" and find another jacket to wear over it (sheer white with black & white "twig" embroidery) before I have to pack again.  Visitation tomorrow night and the funeral is Wednesday morning - estimated driving time, between 4.5 and 5 hours - depending on traffic, weather, and when I stop to eat....
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: baglady on July 29, 2013, 10:33:45 PM
At a friend's funeral a few years ago there was a young woman -- granddaughter? grandniece? -- who wore a very short, very tight one-shoulder black dress. It could have been that she was thinking "must wear black, and this is the only black thing I own," or "must dress up, and this is the only dressy thing I own." The widow, who wore a gray suit with a colorful purple print blouse, didn't care. She was just pleased to see everyone who came. I don't even remember what I wore to that funeral -- only that I was warmly welcomed by the widow and grown children.

Wakes/calling hours tend to be a lot less formal than funerals. Most people stop by after work and are wearing their work clothes. The loved ones don't even look twice at what they're wearing -- they are just happy to see them, whether they're in business suits or business casual (e.g., polo shirts and khakis) or coveralls or jeans.

When my grandfather died in 1973 -- I was 14 -- I wore a dress to one day of the wake (we always did two days back then) that would not have passed muster as "funeral wear" in many circles today, because it was so short. But that was the skirt length of the day. It was not low-cut; all it exposed was leg. And I wore hose.

I did wear black to the last funeral I attended, but that's only because I own a set of suit-like-looking separates that happen to be black. If they'd been navy or maroon or forest green, I'd have worn them without a thought to the fact that they weren't black. I've only seen "all must wear black" funerals on TV -- with all the women in not only black dresses but black hosiery and black hats with veils. Have never seen such a thing IRL, and I've been to a lot of funerals.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: onikenbai on July 29, 2013, 11:29:04 PM
At my grandmother's funeral late last October, I did a facepalm when my 20-something year old cousin showed up in rhinestone flip-flops.  Granted, they were dark rhinestone flip-flops, but flip-flops just the same.  She then complained that her feet were cold.  Um, yeah, because it's Canada and we're standing graveside in freezing rain.  Inappropriate and just plain dumb.

I was going to wear my 40s era cherry red Mary Janes to the funeral in homage to Granny because she was a woman who did appreciate a red shoe.  Think of how the Wicked Witch of the West gazed longingly at Dorothy's slippers... that was Granny and any red shoe.  She would have been pro red shoes at her funeral, especially since said shoes were one of the last things she was able to see before she went blind.  Unfortunately my mother would not have agreed.  I wore black.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Gyburc on July 30, 2013, 05:34:28 AM
I've been to a few funerals where the younger women present, in their late teens or early twenties, were wearing what I would consider 'party' dresses, sometimes even 'clubbing' dresses - shiny fabric in various colours, strappy or occasionally strapless, high hemlines. I don't think any disrespect was intended in the least - they were wearing their 'best dresses', the ones they would also probably wear to a wedding, but it did look a bit inappropriate. (These were definitely not the kind of funeral where the deceased has requested a celebration rather than a memorial.)

On the other hand, when my mother passed away in 2009 I had to go out and buy appropriate clothes for the funeral, and although it would have been absolutely appropriate for me to wear all black, somehow it didn't feel right. Almost over-dramatic, if you know what I mean. In the end I settled for a black jacket and shoes, and a darkish grey dress, of the kind you might wear to the office. That felt just about right to me. And my MIL and FIL turned up in normal day clothes, but it was way more important to me that they had driven nearly 5 hours to attend.

Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Outdoor Girl on July 30, 2013, 08:34:14 AM
I've been to visitations in my work clothes, many times.  Which consist of navy blue cargo pants and a crested golf shirt.  I either go in my work clothes or I don't get a chance to go.  If a funeral was being held where I was working and I had time to scoot out for the hour, I'd go to the funeral in my work clothes, too.

A number of years ago, the father of one of the guys on my ball team passed away.  We had a game the night of the visitation.  So after the game, off we all went in our ball uniforms.  Again, it was either that or not go at all.  Our teammate warned his Mom that we would be doing this.  She (and he) was just happy that we all came.  But unlike my work uniform, I wouldn't go to the funeral in my ball uniform.  Unless asked to do so.  I can think of funerals of young people I've seen where their teammates wore their hockey jerseys or other sports uniforms at the request of the family.  And they were also often acting as pall bearers.

So in my mind, the most important thing is that you were there.  But your clothes should be clean, in good repair, neat and cover all the important bits.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Thipu1 on July 30, 2013, 09:06:40 AM
I've been to visitations in my work clothes, many times.  Which consist of navy blue cargo pants and a crested golf shirt.  I either go in my work clothes or I don't get a chance to go.  If a funeral was being held where I was working and I had time to scoot out for the hour, I'd go to the funeral in my work clothes, too.

A number of years ago, the father of one of the guys on my ball team passed away.  We had a game the night of the visitation.  So after the game, off we all went in our ball uniforms.  Again, it was either that or not go at all.  Our teammate warned his Mom that we would be doing this.  She (and he) was just happy that we all came.  But unlike my work uniform, I wouldn't go to the funeral in my ball uniform.  Unless asked to do so.  I can think of funerals of young people I've seen where their teammates wore their hockey jerseys or other sports uniforms at the request of the family.  And they
 were also often acting as pall bearers.

So in my mind, the most important thing is that you were there.  But your clothes should be clean, in good repair, neat and cover all the important bits.

There's nothing at all wrong with attending a wake or, if circumstances demand, a funeral in work clothes.  Wearing the baseball uniforms to the wake of a teammate's father even strikes me as sweet. 

The problem arises when people choose to wear flashy clothes at these occasions.  The idea is to attend and sport the family.  The idea is not to become the center of attention. 
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: NestHolder on July 30, 2013, 02:34:44 PM
My Grandmother, who was born around 1880, had the best idea about funeral attire. 

'If you expect to receive condolences, you should wear black.  If you expect to offer them, you need not wear black but your clothes should be modest and respectful'.
I have no problem with the volleyball team wearing Aloha shirts to the funeral of a teammate.  That's sweetly respectful to the memory of the deceased.    On the other hand, those who show up in black sweats and black flip-flops because they think everyone should wear black and that's the only black they own are badly mistaken.

I think part of the problem is that, in the media, everyone at a funeral is shown wearing solid black.  Usually, they're also wearing dark glasses. This wasn't ever what was expected in the real world.  Just as the Bride stands out at her Wedding by wearing white, the widow or close relatives of the deceased stand out at a funeral by wearing black.

       

That's the way I do it.  Close family members wear black.  All others dress soberly.  Granted, in my case, that's usually black as well, because that's what's in my closet.  Now, I hate skirts and dresses, but I do have the Official Funeral and Halloween skirt.  Black knit with an elastic waist so I don't have to worry too much about size changes since the last time I wore it.  Between funerals, I wear it to the office when Halloween falls on a weekday.

I can see how a teen might not have anything appropriate unless he or she has a part-time job in a fairly formal office.  Not too many store junior departments carry

Ah, thank you!  I think that rule makes perfect sense - close family members wear black, everyone else wears something sober and respectful.  I have actually been unwilling to wear black to funerals where I was not particularly closely related to, or related at all to, the deceased—it felt wrong, as though I was claiming a greater share of grief than I was entitled to, but I couldn't quite figure out why.  This explains it. (Not that degrees of relationship are necessarily relevant to grief, of course, but I hope you see what I mean.)

I suspect the rule was probably made for wealthy, middle-class (or above) people, who could afford to have mourning outfits.  These days it is trivially easy to buy black clothes of one kind or another, so everyone thinks 'black for funerals' and forgets about wearing something 'modest and respectful'. 
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: TootsNYC on July 30, 2013, 04:13:18 PM
Also, it was worthwhile to buy black clothes (and in "olden days" it could be expensive, bcs black dye didn't hold very well), because they'd need them for a full year.

Other people perhaps saved their money until they needed black clothes. Though with mortality rates, maybe they needed them more often than that.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: magicdomino on July 30, 2013, 04:20:30 PM
There was also dyeing old clothes black.  It was a way for a new widow of modest means to get a black dress quickly; however, as Toots pointed out, good black dye was expensive, and cheaper black dyes weren't reliable.  I seem to remember a character in a book dyeing her dress with boiled walnut shells.  Despite her best efforts, the stripes showed through.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: hobish on July 30, 2013, 04:29:58 PM
That makes a lot of sense.

The last funeral I was at was for Gish’s mommom. I wore a green skirt suit that has a black kind of netting over it. It’s not somber per se, but has sort of a Jackie Kennedy look about it. It was fine. Gish also wore a dark green suit because it was that or brown and he prefers the green one. There were one or two of his uncles in jeans and blazers and that was fine, too. You do your best.

Heck, at my grandmom’s funeral my dad’s coworkers took time out of their day to stop by and give him support. Some of them were in paint splattered work clothes, and all in work boots. The fact that they did that was just so thoughtful and kind. I would have slugged anyone who suggested they were wrong.

And yet, I refuse to believe that whoever that girl was who wore clear heels with flashing lights in them to my poppop’s funeral was doing her best. Sometimes you can’t help but notice what people wear. People can say it wasn’t hurting anything, but it sure wasn’t helping. Clear heels … ok, if stripper shoes are all you have, though I have a hard time believing it … but with flashing lights? No. Just no.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: baglady on July 30, 2013, 06:51:43 PM
And yet, I refuse to believe that whoever that girl was who wore clear heels with flashing lights in them to my poppop’s funeral was doing her best. Sometimes you can’t help but notice what people wear. People can say it wasn’t hurting anything, but it sure wasn’t helping. Clear heels … ok, if stripper shoes are all you have, though I have a hard time believing it … but with flashing lights? No. Just no.

Oh, dear. There's a case where flip-flops might have been preferable! And I'm someone who really dislikes the current all flip-flops, all the time trend.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: Jocelyn on July 30, 2013, 09:20:09 PM
I attended a funeral where one of the pallbearers wore Royal Stewart tartan, in honor of the deceased, who had traced her ancestry to that clan. Bright red plaid, but with a dark jacket, and white shirt, and very nice it looked, too. Everyone who knew the deceased instantly made the connection that it was her tartan, even if they wouldn't have known Royal Stewart from Hunting Stewart. ;)
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: hannahmollysmom on July 31, 2013, 01:00:51 AM
My mother passed away suddenly when my youngest was 2 years old. I had hardly anything that fit at that time! I ended up wearing a royal blue skirt, and a white sweater. Last thing on my mind was shopping for a dress. We had to travel too, and I spent all my time helping my dad with the arrangements.

I have seen a more casual dress at funerals lately. It doesn't bother me, as long as the clothes aren't ripped, dirty, or skimpy. In today's busy world, just the fact that people take the time to show their respect, is what is important.

I see nothing wrong with what you wore. I have also seen a relaxation of funeral attire. So far I haven't seen anything that is OTT.

 I made a big typo, my daughter was actually 2 weeks old!
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: hannahmollysmom on July 31, 2013, 01:07:29 AM
I did see one not appropriate outfit a few years ago. A little baby that I watched once a week passed from SIDS. At the visitation, a friend of the Mom's showed up in short shorts and a flimsy halter top. Yes, it was in August, but it was still not appropriate for the somber occasion.

The Mom was young, and so was her friend, so maybe this was a first for her?
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: courtsmad25 on July 31, 2013, 11:50:35 AM
I am very "live and let live"a and open minded about most things in life, however, I personally feel that dressing somber for a funeral is a must unless it was specifically requested for a diffrent type of clothing be worn. I just find it disrespectful when you don't dress up (unless coming or going right back to work, that's cool).. And if someone could possibly mistake you for a "working girl" in your dress or skirt, its too short..no excuses.  :o
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: VorFemme on July 31, 2013, 10:47:28 PM
Two of the girls from last week's funeral showed up today at the funeral.

Dresses to knees (lucky that the cemetery area where we were had a cement pad - one of them had silver high heels on - at 14, I didn't have 3"+ heels - it is truly a different era today).  No strapless prom dresses - deceased had asked for a "celebration" of their life, so there was a lot less overall black and more colors with black in the print or some black & white outfits with prints or embroidery of black on white - some with other colors.

There were several women wearing high heels - the national cemetery had a permanent cement and brick ROOFED pavilion for the brief ceremony (scheduled at 15 minute intervals).  It was great - but a 45 minute drive from the church (near their home) to the cemetery and another 15 minutes back....

Glad I had enough gas in the van - I hadn't KNOWN ahead of time that the drive was going to be that far!  It was in Texas - maybe I "should have known"......?
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: twiggy on July 31, 2013, 11:51:02 PM
My grandpa passed 7 years ago. At the time I was working crazy hours (about 70+ per week, overnights). I managed to stumble into a store and pick up a knee length, 3/4 sleeve black dress.

I wore that same dress to my son's funeral about 6 months later. I remember that only because I was going through my closet and came across what I immediately dubbed "my funeral dress" and cried.

I don't know what my mom/dad/siblings/exH wore that day. I only remember that my boss came, and he wore a suit. And I only know that because when he offered me condolences, I was crying so hard I got snot on his suit and when I returned to work I insisted on paying for it to be dry cleaned.

So, from the POV of a fellow mourner, I would probably take note of any non-standard outfits. As a social convention, dress codes are important.
But, from the POV of the bereaved, it wouldn't impact me at all. Honestly I doubt I would have noticed if someone showed up to DS's funeral wearing those clear platform heels with live goldfish swimming in them.
Title: Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
Post by: LibraryLady on August 05, 2013, 10:26:32 AM
When daddy died, I was 6 hours away from home and he was in a hospital 1-1/2 hours from where he and mother lived.  The funeral home took him to be prepared and mother, sister and I stayed and shopped for me something to wear (I finally remembered, a blue pinstriped pantsuit) and mom had bob the hairdresser fix her hair for the funeral.

The church was crowded with farmers, ranchers and small town people and I really don't remember how they were dressed - I do remember seeing my sister's friends from San Antonio - they sort of stood out as they were dressed  a bit "nicer" - more makeup, dresses, etc. than most from the town of 4,000 that i grew up in.

No flashing shoes in a small central Texas town   ;D