Author Topic: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition  (Read 13276 times)

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magicdomino

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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

ladyknight1

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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.

ladyknight1

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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.

ladyknight1

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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.

Redneck Gravy

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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!   

DavidH

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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."

rashea

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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.
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Vermont

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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.
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ladyknight1

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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.

VorFemme

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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.....
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*inviteseller

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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. 

stargazer159

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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.

VorFemme

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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....
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baglady

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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.
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onikenbai

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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.