General Etiquette > Family and Children

Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition

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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!

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.

shhh its me:
   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. 

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.

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.   


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