A Practical Guide to Selecting Burial Clothes with Love and Reverence

Monday, March 11, 2024

Choosing burial clothes for a loved one can be a tender act of remembrance and profound significance.

Navigating loss is a challenging experience on many levels. Despite the weight of grief, numerous practical decisions must be made, such as the choice of burial clothes. While this task may seem daunting, it can actually be a wonderful opportunity to honor your loved one's memory.

In this guide, we will explore seven prudent tips to help you through the delicate process of choosing burial clothes for the departed.

1.     Consider their style and personality.

When selecting burial clothes, take a moment to reflect on your loved one's uniqueness. Were they someone who preferred formal dress, or did they take a more relaxed and casual approach? Choose clothing that symbolizes their style choices, whether a tailored suit, a favorite dress, or a cozy sweater.

2.     Provide a complete ensemble.

It can be easy to overlook important burial clothing elements amid grief. Here is a list of items you may want to include, as appropriate:

  • Long-sleeved shirt, blouse, or dress 
  • Pants or skirt
  • Undergarments (e.g. underwear, undershirt, bra, stockings or socks, slips)
  • Preferred cosmetics, such as lipstick or nail polish
  • A photo as a reference for hair and makeup
  • Wig, hat, or hairpiece
  • Scarf or tie
  • Glasses, if worn
  • Jewelry or watch
  • Other special items to be placed in the casket 

Funeral professionals advise against shoes. They usually cannot be seen as only the top half of the casket is open for the viewing. In addition, it can be very hard to get shoes on, as the body becomes very rigid by the time of dressing.

3.     Coordinate with funeral customs.

If your loved one followed specific cultural or religious customs, consider incorporating these into their burial attire. Traditional garments or symbols can add a deep layer of meaning and respect to the proceedings.

4.     Seek input from others.

Don't hesitate to ask family members and friends for their input when choosing burial clothes. They may have valuable insights or suggestions that can help you make decisions with confidence and clarity.

5.     The details matter.

Paying extra attention to the particulars can make a big difference. Ensure that the burial attire is clean, neatly pressed, and free of any stains or damage. Take care with accessories such as jewelry or favorite keepsakes, adding them thoughtfully to enhance their appearance.

6.     When in doubt, use your best judgment.

You might not have any information about what your loved one wanted to wear at their viewing or have any religious guidelines to follow. In these situations, let your instincts and common sense be your guide. If the departed never wore formal attire, don’t feel compelled to choose this type of clothing for their viewing and burial. Instead, select an outfit that best represents who they were in life.

7.     Lean on your support system.

Finally, it is important to remember that you don't have to go through this process alone. Lean on the support of family members, friends, and funeral professionals. The caring, experienced funeral directors at Vaughn Greene Funeral Services are here to offer compassionate guidance and understanding during this difficult time.

Choosing burial clothes for a loved one is a final gesture of love and respect. By following these tips and approaching the task with great care, you can ensure that your loved one is dressed with dignity as they embark on their final journey.

For more comprehensive resources about selecting burial clothes or planning a loved one’s funeral, our caring staff is here to help. If we can be of assistance to you in any way, please contact us anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For over 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African-American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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