Clothes let us express ourselves and also help define us in other people’s eyes. Choosing your clothing to be buried or cremated in is a really simple way of personalising your funeral. We look at some of the finer details to help you style your send-off. “The joy of dressing is an art.” - John Galliano, fashion designer.
Who is this guide for?
What – or what not – to wear at your funeral
There is one caveat: some materials can be harmful to the earth when buried and harmful to the atmosphere when cremated. Crematoria do have filtration systems to cope with emissions, but if cremation is the way you want to go it is worth asking your preferred crematorium if you’re unsure. As a rule of thumb, don’t plan on wearing anything you wouldn’t want to put on a bonfire in your own back garden.
Choose clothing made from natural fibres. Avoid synthetics. Natural woodland and meadow burial grounds are very strict about this requirement.
If you wear glasses, plastic or otherwise, you can keep those on even if you plan on being cremated. The harm from such a small amount of plastic is negligible. However, you may want to think about donating your glasses to charity instead.
A few ideas
You could choose your Sunday best, a cosy nightie or set of pyjamas, football top, military uniform, a themed costume, or any other attire you can imagine. Don’t forget your shoes, accessories and underwear (unless you’re going commando). Shoes may have to be removed before you leave for the crematorium, depending upon the material used in their manufacture – such as rubber-soles.
Maybe you’d prefer to keep things simple and wear a funeral gown supplied by the funeral director? A funeral gown is unisex; it looks like a satin nightdress and comes with a choice of plain, frilled or lace fronts, and is typically available in shades of white, pink, blue and yellow.
It’s worth noting that if you decide on a direct cremation or direct burial (that’s a cremation or burial service with no ceremony and no mourners present), you will be cremated or buried in whatever clothes you died in. This isn’t because of any legislative requirement. This is purely down to the way funeral directors differentiate their services and the pricing of those services. And, after all, the ethos of a direct cremation or burial is to be the simplest of all funeral services with as few processes as possible.