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Dressing for the occasion is always the right move. There are few events in life that are as important as funerals, and the way you present yourself is particularly important here. You’re not trying to draw attention to yourself; the point of the funeral is, of course, to honour the deceased. How do you know what to wear?
First, you should take cues from the funeral announcement. While for some time Western funerals have been black tie events with very formal requirements, this attitude has changed (for some) in recent years. In the funeral announcement, you may find a dress code, and it may be casual. That doesn’t mean you should bust out your floral print shirts, however. Dress modestly, even if it’s in nothing more than a button up and breathable pants or a skirt.
The second thing to keep in mind are cultural cues - these are particularly important if there are no obvious dress code requirements in the funeral announcement. People around the world honour their dead in very different ways; even the appropriate colours to mourn in vary from culture to culture. Do a bit of research on the religious and cultural beliefs of the deceased if you’re not sure what to wear.
You may find yourself unsure what to wear even after having pursued the first two options. The third option, then, is to contact a friend or family member of the deceased who is involved in the funeral planning and ask them what you should wear. This option is best reserved for last, however. The funeral planning process can be emotionally intense and filled with queries - the person you contact may be quite drained. The advantage of this option, however, is that you’ll be absolutely certain of the appropriateness of your attire.
Now, you may find that none of these options suit your needs. When you find yourself unsure as to what attire you should wear, follow this simple principle: it’s better to overdress than it is to underdress. When you overdress, you may be noticed, but you’ll be noticed for having presented yourself with an abundance of respect. On the flip side, when you’re noticed for underdressing, you may be seen as having shown disrespect - the last thing you want at a funeral.
The fact that you’re even reading this post right now is an excellent sign - it means you are deeply concerned with being respectful of the deceased’s wishes. Our Catholic funeral home in Winnipegespouses the same values - respect, decency, care, and compassion. When you choose to take the time and energy to dress appropriately for a funeral, you’re showing all of these values. The act is a simple one, but one that carries importance. Thank you for taking the time to learn.