Burial Gowns and Suits – How to Choose the Right Outfit for a Funeral

burial gowns

When someone close to you passes away, your thoughts turn to them and what they’d want most at their final viewing. It’s natural to want to present your loved one in the best possible light, and what they wear is a significant factor in this.

The outfit your loved ones are dressed in will leave a lasting impression on those who attend the funeral or memorial service. This is why it is important to choose the right clothing to represent them. Traditionally, men are dressed in suits and women in funeral gowns or dresses, with both having long sleeves and high necklines. These garments are typically made from a soft, easily adjustable fabric. This is so that the garments will drape over any bodily imperfections and can cover arms that may be thin, heavy or scarred from medical procedures.

It is also important to consider your loved one’s religion and how their body will be treated after death when choosing their burial clothing. Certain religions have specific dress and hairstyle requirements, and these should be respected. It is a good idea to check with the clergy or religious leaders to find out what the guidelines are for your particular faith tradition when it comes to burial attire.

During the planning stages of a funeral or memorial service, families often choose an outfit for their loved ones that captures who they were as a person and what they meant to them. For example, a woman who loved to garden might be dressed in her favorite floral dress at their funeral. Or, an individual who was a proud military veteran might be honored in their uniform. Those who want to keep their loved ones’ memory alive are able to add accessories to their outfit to help create a more complete picture.

These pieces might include a military or police badge, a photo of their loved one with their children, a favorite piece of jewelry or a military cap or medallion. Often, these items are placed on the coffin or casket during the funeral ceremony to help honor the deceased.

In addition, it is a good idea to plan for the weather at the time of the funerary event. If the funeral will take place in a cold climate, it is best to have an outfit that can be layered so your loved one stays comfortable. In warmer months, a simple short-sleeve dress or shirt with a light cardigan or shawl will be appropriate.

Many non-profit agencies offer angel gowns for stillborn or preemie infants that don’t make it home from the NICU. For example, the nonprofit agency Real Imprints accepts donated wedding dresses and sews them into burial garments for infants who are lost before their first birthday. Across the country and the world, there are many other angel gown projects that serve similar purposes.