Don’t Wear Flip Flops to a Funeral

16 Mar Don’t Wear Flip Flops to a Funeral


Today was the first time I read a blog advising what to wear to a funeral. Because I design cremation urns (, I receive mail from blogs dedicated to the topic of dying. UrnsOnline is giving tips on how to dress for a funeral. Reading that it was focusing on “contemporary Western culture,” I  expected to read about cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats, but the distinction was between Western and Eastern countries, not the Wild West. I already knew, “At a more formal, traditional funeral, you may be expected to wear black dress clothes (buttoned suit for men, dress for women).” Living in New York, we wear black to everything so that’s not a problem. That’s why groups of New Yorkers most closely resemble a community of penguins.

Though the blog concedes there are quirky funerals, where guests are invited to dress in costumes, the guidelines suggest it’s important to communicate sympathy and mourning, advising against wearing flip-flops, shorts and baseball caps. I’m wondering who needs to be told these aren’t appropriate.

They also say not to wear anything brightly colored, which brought back the memory of going into my closet to choose what to wear to my mother’s funeral. At the time, my husband and I were living in Los Angeles and pretty much everything I owned was colorful, the reason being when we got serious, he went through my clothes and pointed out that drab colors aren’t great for people who have sallow skin. I’m not sure that’s the word he used, but I certainly knew what he meant. No amount of blush conceals that my skin tone lacks something. Trusting what he said, I took much of what I owned to a thrift shop and replaced it with more flattering, bright colors. It wasn’t a problem until that morning, when I tried to assemble something that wouldn’t seem inappropriately festive.

Once we moved back to New York, I again replaced my wardrobe, this time with black so I’m funeral-ready.