What Would You Wear To A Funeral?

A soldier who kept his promise

A soldier who kept his promise

16th Sept- Barry Delaney wears a dress to his best friend’s funeral, a pact the two men made years ago.

It made me wonder about the outfits that people wear to funerals. Based on our cognitive schemata (something that i learnt during class 😀 ) , we have a mental framework that is developed over time. In this case, the classic colours to wear at funerals are… BLACK and WHITE.  Both of which represent a solemn tone to respect those who have passed on. During funerals, we look back and give tribute to those who have left this world and we tend to hear lines such as ‘ He/She loved char siew bao’ and a plate of char siew baos would be placed before the coffin, ‘ He/She loved ballads’ and you’d hear a whole playlist of favourites being played.

‘He/She loved colours…’

Would everyone come dressed in a myriad of colours then?

During Victorian times, women came dress in huge hats and black veils while men wore black tuxedos. Such loud and extravagent dressing was also observed during upper eastern cocktail parties. When it is a celebration event, we dress as such, when it is a solemn event, we dress as such as well! What i’m trying to say is,personally, there probably isn’t a need to follow the norm as the ‘departured’ would have wanted to see his/her loved ones in their best colours for the ‘last time’.

Usually, when someone dresses inappropriately(something not close to the usual dull) for a funeral, we tend to deem them disrespectful and insincere about the loss. Our behaviour are based on perceptions which are at times deceptive. Look in the case of Barry Delaney, he was heartbroken despite wearing a ‘silly’ outfit.



Photos from www.zimbio.com

www.news.bbc.co.uk reported:

“Kev was like my brother – we would have done anything for each other,” he told the Daily Record newspaper.

“We said that whoever died first, the other one had to wear a pink dress with green spots to the funeral – and we shook on it.

I think Delaney showed respect for his best friend as well as he did keep to his promise. I feel that respect not only comes from the outer appearance but more importantly from within.

Back to the topic, in the current era, there are cultural groups where traditions still stay firmly rooted amongst people who believe in them. No problem, I give credits to them for that. But if we take a look at the big picture, from east to west..

Is it culture or cognitive schemata that affects the way we dress at funerals?

Possibly a bit of both? Sometimes before we head to the funeral parlour,we’d still go through the thinking process about respecting the families and loved ones involved. Sometimes we comb our hair back or pin them up neatly, more so put on really dark shades to fit the whole mood. I think media plays a part as well. You know we watch Infernal Affairs or The Godfather, they look really sleek during funerals yes? Thereby, I feel sometimes these visual effects play with our mind and we execute our behaviours as such.

On a final note, if you’d ask me what I would wear at a funeral? It really depends who the passing is and I’d wear something He/She would like to see me in. If the party is someone I’m not really close to, I think I’d stick to the darker colour tones..


Photo from www.yourdeathwish.com funeral-Dress-Code-2


11 Responses to “What Would You Wear To A Funeral?”

  1. jj Says:

    i guess that as long as your actions show that you are respectful, there should be leeway with your dressing。 of course, one shouldnt turn up in their underwear or a clown suit but a different color should be ok。

  2. charlenetan Says:

    It is just what I would term it as appropriate dressing. Many would say that the usual funeral dressing is the way to show respect to the dead. Perhaps it is just what was being passed down from the past, thus, it seems more like a tradition which people simply follow. Moreover, why get ourselves into trouble if others will eventually criticise our dressing even if we think that the dead will not mind at all.

    I believe that this is all just to please everyone and let the funeral proceed as per normal. Doing the unusual will do no good to anyone, unless it is like this case where there was a pact involved.

  3. Dylon Says:

    I reckon that in whichever scenario, doing what the other party like best is most important. Its not so much of social stigma, in fact, on such occasions, i think we should all put aside our pride and ego and do what the other likes best.

    And for the courage the guy had to do such a thing, really showed how much his friend meant to him.

  4. Zhenz Says:

    Perhaps taking a step back, you can look deeper into how social norms greatly affect peoples behaviour.

    This incident is only a little drop in the ocean IMHO.

    What Barry did was simply an act of keeping the promise that he had made to his best friend. But it made headlines because it challenged social norms and what is perceived as the ‘correct’ behaviour or attitude towards certain events.


    Perhaps you will think twice before wearing that dress next time.

  5. jia yu Says:

    twinoo. hmm i think, most people would prefer to stick to the safe side by dressing in dark/dull colours because thats usually how people dress to funerals. they maybe afraid if they wear anything too bright that it’ll show disrespect to the familly members. ya, i do agree that it definitely depends on the party that has passed away and the character of the person. i do know some people would not like to see their funeral as something really sad but instead a celebration of their life, hence family members would like friends and relative to dress in he or she’s fave colour, which can also be seen as a mark of respect. but if there is no stated dresscode, it will definitely to stick to the safe side and dress in darker colours when attending a funeral.

  6. s33 Says:

    It is really strongly related to the social norms in society. If the society believes that passing of a person is a joyous one, a colourful funeral should be more apt. However, most people mourn during funerals and generally treat funerals as a solemn ritual. Culture also plays a big role, for example chinese will never ever wear red to a funeral. so with all this coming into play, it really all depends. But if i did pass on i would really love everyone to come in coloured clothes!

  7. jun Says:

    I guess it really depends on what the deceased like best. Of course, in our society wearing bright colors during funerals will not be easily accepted especially for the Asians. For families that are more traditional, they might not even accept the reasons given. However, if it’s something that the deceased wanted to see his/her loved one wear on his/her funeral, then one should just ignore what others say and go along with it. At the end of the day, we should still respect the deceased wishes.

    BUT. only black white grey during my funeral okay! hahaha

  8. Weiyu Says:

    You should just look your best! As if you were attending a very special moment of his/her life. Or appear as how you usually are rather than something else. But i suppose we still do have to spare a thought for and respect his/her family members’ wishes as well and not go against that, just to prove something. Anything’s fine, just not too freaky, last thing you’d want is to scare the family of the deceased, or the Deceased himself!

  9. emm Says:

    we’re definitely socialized to think as such, as such the norm is to wear dull and sombre colours to fit the mood. bright colours would tend to evoke a more happy, cheerful connotation. so i think its the culture we’re in. colours play an important part. like how blue is for boys and pink is for girls. i know in the victorian times, it was the other way around because they think that pink is closer to red signifying agressiveness so the boys should take pink. And blue, signifies calm and peaceful, which the girls should be. from my pov, i think that anything is fine as long as it does not displease the family members, i agree with weiyu and s33. but the barry guy super steady. i like.

  10. jEss Says:

    I guess at the end of the day, whatever pact that was made between you and the deceased that was to be done at the funeral, it would be good to let the family know before any execution, especially in our asian society where respect for the dead is greatly emphasized.

    If the family are agreeable with whatever the action to be done, it should
    done in a tasteful and respectable manner, not only as respect for the dead but to a friend as well.

    Personally, I won’t mind if my friends were to turn up in brightly coloured clothes during my funeral. I think it will help lighten up the atmosphere then. >.<

  11. Mreg Says:

    The last time I attended a funeral was 5 years ago and I was in my school uniform. To set it in context, it was my principal’s funeral.
    It was an easy choice of clothing, to put on a symbol of what she dedicated her life to.
    I haven’t attended any other funerals since (thank God), but if it is one that is held for someone dear to me, I forsee that I might be too shaken to ponder over what would be deemed appropriate for the solemn affair. Having said that, maybe we should make pacts with our friends on what to wear to our funeral. That’ll dismiss this cumbersome issue of ‘what is appropriate at a funeral’ and allow us to grieve our loss.

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