Author Topic: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition  (Read 14808 times)

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Gyburc

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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.

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Outdoor Girl

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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.
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Thipu1

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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. 

NestHolder

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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

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'. 

TootsNYC

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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.

magicdomino

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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.

hobish

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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.
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baglady

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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.
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Jocelyn

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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. ;)

hannahmollysmom

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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!

hannahmollysmom

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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?

courtsmad25

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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

VorFemme

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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"......?
« Last Edit: August 01, 2013, 11:28:25 AM by VorFemme »
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twiggy

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Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
« Reply #88 on: August 01, 2013, 12:51:02 AM »
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.
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LibraryLady

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Re: Funeral Dress Code Seems To Be Changing - "Dress Clothes" Definition
« Reply #89 on: August 05, 2013, 11:26:32 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