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Thread: Appropriate attire for memorial service

  1. #1
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    Question Appropriate attire for memorial service

    What is the appropriate attire for a woman to wear to a funeral or memorial service?

    My mother died in February; we are finally having a memorial service in our hometown church in August. I was under the impression that a conservative, dark colored dress/skirt/suit would be the thing to wear.

    So far the only dress I have found that I like is dark brown, sleeveless (but not strappy) with small cream colored flowers embroidered here and there on it. DH thinks it's not somber enough. I'm going to poll some friends but wanted your advice as well.

    TIA. Martha

  2. #2
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    I think it sounds perfectly appropriate (if I'm imagining it correctly). And I'm very sorry about your mother.

    Life goes on... you need to be respectful, but still yourself and comfortable. Do you have a piece of her jewlerly that you could add to the dress?
    ~ I used to be undecided, but now I'm not so sure ~ Boscoe Pertwee

  3. #3
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    I'm sorry for your loss. I believe that the dress you've described would be just fine. Go and mourn your mother, don't worry about what you are wearing.

  4. #4
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    I'm sorry to hear about your mother. The dress you described sounds fine to me. I think anything that is nice, but not real cheery would be appropriate. It's difficult to find something dark-colored, but cool enough to wear in the summer.
    Positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time. - Inception

  5. #5
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    I'm sorry for your loss. It does sound like the dress would be fine, especially for a summer memorial.
    Grab the guns. I'll make pancakes. ~Sarah Conner

  6. #6
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    I wore a dress very similar to the one you are describing to my mom's memorial service (it was dark brown with larger cream colored flowers); it was the last dress she had bought for me. I know that none of my sisters wore black. Peace to you during this difficult time; I know that your mom died earlier this year, but this time can be difficult as well.

    Laura

  7. #7
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    If it were a strappy, sundressy sort of thing, I would probably avoid it, but what I am imagining from your description sounds fine. I also think that in summer and several months after her passing, respectful is more important that looking like your are in deep mourning.

  8. #8
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    Thank you so much for your feedback. My gut says that this dress will be OK. And I was thinking about wearing a brown/marbelized bead necklace that was my mother's. I talked to a friend and she also said it sounds fine. I would swelter in a suit, unfortunately, as that would be my preferred outfit. So the brown dress it is.

  9. #9
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    Sorry for your loss -- my mother died in 1998 and I still miss being able to have a conversation with her.

    Regarding the dress, I think it depends on the church/community you live in. If people are VERY formal, it might be viewed as a tad informal. Aren't women supposed to wear sleeves or a jacket in church.

    I think the issue is not about you showing respect to your mother since that has nothing to do with clothing but how you might be perceived by her friends/others in her church etc. Not knowing how conservative those people are, it's difficult to give advice.

    Is it the style? flowers? sleevelessnesss? that makes your spouse uncomfortable?

  10. #10
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    Would your mother like it? I wore a red suit to my mother's funeral because my mother liked me in red and I was just too d@mn broken up to care what other people thought. I think the dress sounds fine.
    Linda

    When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say “I used everything you gave me.”

    Erma Bombeck

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by HejazSunKat
    Would your mother like it? I wore a red suit to my mother's funeral because my mother liked me in red and I was just too d@mn broken up to care what other people thought. I think the dress sounds fine.
    I think that's entirely appropriate.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by HejazSunKat
    Would your mother like it? I wore a red suit to my mother's funeral because my mother liked me in red and I was just too d@mn broken up to care what other people thought. I think the dress sounds fine.
    Completely agree. My dearest aunt died in late March and people actually dressed in red or purple, her favorite colors, to pay tribute to her.

    I am sorry for your loss.

  13. #13
    I wore a red jacket to my aunt's funeral because she *loved* all things red. It was my tribute to her.

    Trust your judgement--the dress sounds exactly right, and I'd definitely opt for your Mom's necklace.

    Shar

  14. #14
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    Martha--

    This kind of loss can be very tough. I'm sorry!

    In my experience, appropriate attire is really regional. If you feel that, in your area, bare arms may not work, a simple bolero or longer jacket in a light and cool fabric may be in order.

    Kay

  15. #15
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    I am so sorry for your loss. I think the dress that you described will be entirely appropriate. I have seen really cute bolero bolero/style jackets in a couple of stores.

    I hope that your day will be a very special day of remembrances for you.
    Joyce
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  16. #16
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    Arg... I woke up in the middle of the night plagued by this... and the realization that DS has nothing to wear.

    I think I will inquire around with my friends in that area of the country... I do think things are a bit less formal in my corner of New England than they are back home.

  17. #17
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    My mother had made it very clear that she wanted everyone to celebrate her life, not mourn her when she died. I wore a royal blue suit to her memorial service.

    I think the dress you described is fine.

    Leigh
    "Mommy, Can we Please, Please, Please have spinach for dinner?" DD2(age 6)

  18. #18
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    I'm sorry for your loss. My mother died two weeks ago, so I feel your pain. With her illness then death, I had no time (nor interest) in shopping (plus I'd gained significant "stress" weight since she became ill), so I had limited options. I wore a black pantsuit with white and turquoise blocking on the tunic for the wake; and a dark green, short sleeved skirt suit for the funeral.

    Wear something in which you'll feel comfortable. What you described sounds appropriate to me, but what's important is if you feel it's appropriate. And, as someone else said, if your mom would have liked it, so much the better.

    Again, sorry for your loss.

  19. #19
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    I would suggest relaxing -- I know it's hard -- but I think you are doing what I often do, stressing over a small fairly inconsequential matter as a way of coping with the larger overwhelming stress -- people in the US expect people to "heal" from grief much more quickly than we really do -- HUGS.

    That said, I do think you should call somebody in your mom's community/church and find out what is appropriate and then do it -- your mother was probably not out of step with her friends/church members in terms of how she felt about things, so whatever others are wearing should work. You are her representative at this final social event so you want to make sure you are doing it right for her if that makes sense.

    Your DS is much easier -- you didn't state his age but I would think nice khakis, blue shirt, tie and perhaps a blue blazer would be appropriate -- you could ask one of your mother's friends if boys his age generally wear blazers to church/memorial services.

    I personally believe that respect and love is shown when a person is living but I also think in this instance you are going back to your mother's hometown with her friends and acquaintances and the point is to represent her in the manner she would have wanted - if she was a free spirit so be it - but somehow I sense that she was more of a traditionalist.

  20. #20
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    Belatedly, sorry for your loss. Your dress sounds fine to me. From the male point of view, I'd second having DS go in something like a blue blazer and khaki slacks. Considering you're from Metrowest Boston I'd even have him put on a tie - something muted but definitely nothing black. If he has a nice paisley purple or blue that would be good. If he doesn't have a colored tie then something that isn't too bright would be appropriate.

    I hope the memorial service goes as well as can be expected and you celebrate your mother's life and all she did for people.

    Peace,
    Les
    Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deut. 31:6 (NIV)

    Reflections on life and spirituality can be found at https://revles.wordpress.com

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  21. #21
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    Barbara L, I'm very sorry for your loss.

    Blazedog, I think you hit the nail on the head re: my stressing over this, and my mother being very traditional, and the fact that what I really want is to "represent her in the manner she would have wanted." Very intuitive and wise advice. Thank you.

    Les, thanks for your suggestions and kind words.

    I did speak to my best friend from that area; she thinks the dress is fine, but I asked her to please check with her mother, who is my mother's age and always dressed correctly for every occasion.

  22. #22
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    I'm so sorry for your loss. Your dress sounds perfect; my grandmother's memorial service is in two weeks, and I'm wearing a navy blue dress. I don't think black is really expected anymore.
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