The last visual image of a deceased loved one is a powerful moment, and it’s important to present them in an outfit that honors their character. A good rule of thumb is to dress a person in what they would have worn themselves, but recent funeral trends are trending away from tradition. Many people choose casual t-shirts, sports jerseys or work or military uniforms. Others may choose lounging pajamas and slippers or a negligee, or even wedding dresses.
A funeral director can help a family find the right clothes to bring their loved one to their final rest. Traditionally, men wear suits and women wear dresses for viewings and open casket funerals, but today, people often want to express their personality in what they choose.
If your loved one wanted to be buried with specific clothing, it’s a good idea to ask their doctor for advice before you make any purchases. If they’ve recently undergone a serious surgery or accident, you’ll want to consider whether the neckline will be too low or their arms will show scars after the body has been autopsied and embalmed.
You can also ask a close friend or family member to assist with the shopping process. Many people are happy to do this, and it gives them a meaningful task that will help them process the loss of their loved one. They can text you photos of choices and ask your input, or you can take them to a local store that carries clothes for burial or cremation.
Many funeral homes have a selection of burial clothes that can be purchased or borrowed. This can be convenient if your loved one lost weight or their favorite clothes don’t fit anymore. Rigor mortis can stiffen the body and make it difficult to move the clothes, so funeral directors are willing to cut the back of an outfit so that it’s easier to dress the body.
If your loved one wants to be buried with personal items or jewelry, your funeral home can advise you about this. They will likely ask that anything of value be left to the side, and it can then be given to the family after the service. If your loved one is being cremated, the jewelry will need to be removed, and it will probably be donated to charity or given to someone else to wear.
If your loved one has been buried in a natural or green cemetery, they will need to be dressed in clothes made of biodegradable materials. This can be an issue if you were planning to use clothes that your loved one already owns, but it’s possible to rent or buy burial clothes specifically for green and natural funerals. These clothes are usually made from untreated, natural fibers and do not have any synthetic linings, plastic threads or metal zippers. In some cases, the clothing must be hand washed and air dried before it’s ready for burial.