A final viewing is an important time to remember your loved one, but it’s also a unique opportunity to present them in their best light. This includes how they’re dressed. Traditionally, deceased men are dressed in suits and women in funeral gowns, which often have high necklines and long sleeves. But these days, many people choose to dress their deceased loved ones in more casual outfits that reflect their personalities and interests. Some examples include casual t-shirts, sports jerseys, work or military uniforms, and wedding gowns.
When deciding on clothing for your loved one, it is important to keep in mind their religion and method of death. Some religions have strict rules about what kind of attire is appropriate for their deceased. For instance, Orthodox Jews are buried in shrouds that cover the entire body. In addition, a woman’s dress should have three panels with a veil placed in the middle. Jehovah’s Witnesses usually opt for a semi-formal outfit, and men should wear a yarmulke on their head.
If your loved one requested a cremation after a viewing or open-casket funeral, their outfit may need to be returned as part of the cremation process. That’s why it’s helpful to have friends or family members assist with the task of choosing burial clothes for your loved one. Many times, they’re happy to have a project they can do to help you during this difficult time.
For stillborn and premature infants, clothing can be more of a challenge. There are several non-profit agencies and shops that create handmade baby burial outfits. These can be used for a home ceremony or in a casket. They can also be donated to hospitals for use in their NICUs.
The style of clothing your loved one is dressed in will have a significant impact on how they are perceived during a viewing or funeral service. For example, if they passed away after a surgery or accident, the outfit you choose could highlight their scars. Clothing with a higher neckline or long sleeves can help hide scarring, and lace can also be a beautiful choice for a memorial gown.
It’s also important to consider what type of shoes are worn with a burial outfit. During an open casket viewing, the feet will not be visible and shoes can make it more difficult to bend or sit down. That’s why some families decide to forgo wearing footwear altogether. For babies, however, shoes are sometimes necessary for comfort and safety. If you are unsure what kind of shoes to wear with a memorial outfit, check with the funeral director to learn more about your options.