A person’s final visual impression will stay with those who attend his or her funeral, and a good way to capture that lasting image is through the clothes chosen for the occasion. Traditionally, men are dressed in suits and women wear gowns, but people can also choose other outfits to honor their personality and interests. Often, a funeral director will provide the surviving family with a selection of burial clothes or gowns to choose from. This can be particularly helpful if the deceased recently lost or gained weight and does not have clothes to choose from that fit.
Many cultures use shrouds or other clothing to cover the body of the deceased while in the grave or at a memorial service. These clothing items are typically made of light or soft fabrics to be easy for the funeral director to dress a corpse in, and they may feature religious symbols for those who prefer that. These clothing items can be purchased in a variety of styles and colors from specialty funeral supply stores.
For some people, choosing a favorite outfit to be buried in is a symbolic act of rebirth. Younger people may opt to be buried in their school uniforms or other clothing they had worn in life. Some families even have a favorite piece of jewelry they would like to be buried with their loved one. If the deceased is to be cremated, the clothing they are buried in will also need to be appropriate for that type of disposition.
When deciding on an outfit to be buried in, it is important to remember that the clothing must be comfortable and will not restrict the deceased’s movements. In addition, it should be suitable for the age and lifestyle of the person who passed away. For example, elderly people who did not usually wear dresses or suits might be buried in their nightgowns.
Those who are to be buried in a green or natural funeral ground must choose clothing that is biodegradable and will not pollute the soil. Luckily, there are designers who specialize in creating burial clothing that is eco-friendly and looks very similar to vintage garments from the 18th-19th century. Some of these burial clothes are designed with false shirt fronts and other embellishments to resemble day wear or evening clothing.
There are even burial gowns available for infants who will be buried in a green or natural casket. Many of these garments are crafted from fabrics that decompose easily in the earth, and some feature special pockets and other features for tiny infants. Volunteers and charities also sew handmade infant burial outfits, such as gowns and caps, to meet the needs of grieving parents who are struggling in the aftermath of losing a child. Beverly Duckett of Whittle Springs, Tennessee, is one such volunteer who sews burial gowns for infants who will be cremated or buried in a natural casket. Her sewing room is full of adorable outfits for these tiny clients, which she calls “Angel Gowns.”