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  #1  
Old 08-12-2007, 02:23 PM
Hazle Weatherfield Hazle Weatherfield is offline
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Visitation/Funeral Attire

I think this was done back in January, but it came up recently in my life and I just wondered if this is common or just a function of small midwestern towns. More and more, I find that I am dressed more formally than at least half of the other people at visitations.

We were attending the visitation of a good friend's mother. Three men were wearing jeans and ball caps. (I was taught that men just do not wear hats indoors, unless they're just at the store or something.) The mother of the widower was wearing fairly short white shorts and a black tank top (which, by the way, would've look fairly innapropriate in any setting due to her outfit not being large enough to accommodate her size.)

I know that visitations are typically less formal than funerals, but I've even seen people wearing sweatpants. IMHO, it is in poor taste and downright disrespectful (unless, as in the January thread, there's kind of a theme going based on what the individual was like in life.) To me, the only exception would be healthcare/nursing home workers dressed in their uniforms coming straight from work. Several women who had cared lovingly for my Grandpa came to his visitation dressed thusly and we were very touched.

What do you guys think? I really have no problems with nice jeans or slacks and a nice shirt for visitations, but faded blue jeans, t-shirs, caps and shorts just really rub me the wrong way!
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  #2  
Old 08-12-2007, 02:37 PM
Sarahfeena Sarahfeena is offline
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I think that at the very least, funeral/visitation attire should be the best clothes you have for wearing in everyday life (meaning, not formalwear). If the best item of clothing you own is a suit (for men)/nice pantsuit/dress (for women), you wear that. If the best item of clothing you have is khakis, a funeral calls for your nicest pair, with a collared shirt.

Personally, I believe everyone should have a suit/nice dress in their closet for wearing to funerals, even if the only place you will ever wear them is to funerals, but I know there are people who just don't feel comfortable in that level of "dress-up," no matter where they are going.
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  #3  
Old 08-12-2007, 03:00 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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I've also been surprised by this recently. I was amazed to see my own relatives dressed rather down at a visitation -- I'm pointing out they're my relatives so that it's clear that I know this isn't a regional difference or something, I know how we were raised to dress for a visitation. Apparently it didn't take.

I don't even know if I think people need to dress up for the visitation -- many people are coming from work (or on their lunch hour) and I appreciate that they are taking the time to attend. So I would say work clothes are okay, provided that they are clean and neat. I would even go as far as to say jeans, paired with a nicer shirt, if that is what someone normally wears to work, and has the kind of job where it would be unacceptable to wear something dressier (like if the person works in a stockroom, I wouldn't expect him to wear a suit to work just so that he could have it on for the visitation). I don't think it's asking too much to take off the baseball cap, and if at all possible, exchange sneakers/sandals for shoes.
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  #4  
Old 08-12-2007, 03:43 PM
gfloyd gfloyd is offline
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I was at a wake and funeral last week and I was appalled by the way people where dressed. My immediate family was all in suits. But there were people at the funeral mass in shorts and tee shirts, which in my personal opinion is never appropriate in a house of worship.
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  #5  
Old 08-12-2007, 03:59 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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I agree - it's shocking how many people have been raised by wolves lately. I mean, the phrase is pay your respects.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2007, 04:16 PM
Soul Soul is offline
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Having been to two funerals in the past three weeks, I find that this is a new, very strong, pet peeve of mine. It is a god damn funeral. There is a dead person and their grieving family there. Show a little bit of respect by either learning how to tie a tie or hoist up a pair of pantyhose. When I went to my grandmother-in-law's funeral and saw someone at the viewing in a halter top, I nearly bit through my tongue. When I saw someone at my father's funeral in cutoff jeans and a polo shirt, I didn't have to -- the shock and anger rendered me speechless.

If you're coming to a funeral or viewing, you are coming to pay respect. You are not going to the damn Dollar Tree to pick up some bargain shampoo and aluminum foil. Dress like it.
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  #7  
Old 08-12-2007, 04:21 PM
StuffLikeThatThere StuffLikeThatThere is offline
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I live in a fairly conservative pocket in the Midwest, and visitation and funeral attire is roughly equivalent to "church clothes." As someone else noted, the concept of "church clothes" has taken a hit of late, but it's still going strong here.

I know/am related to far too many people, so I probably attend a visitation or funeral every couple of months on average. Mostly I see subdued (not necessarily black or very dark) skirts of an appropriate length on the women, although some wear pants. The men often wear suits and ties. Some men wear long sleeved shirts and ties, no jacket. Occasionally, you get a guy in khakis and a polo shirt. It's less formal than the others, but no one minds as long as it's not a shirt advertising beer.

I did attend a visitation in which one friend of the deceased showed up in overalls, a plaid shirt, and work boots. He apologized to the widow for his attire, and she graciously told him not to think of it again. I did not see one snide look or comment about him. It's a small community, and we're aware that they're the absolute best clothes he has. He was clean and neat, and he removed his hat upon entering the funeral home.

In my opinion, his clothes and behavior were perfectly appropriate. He simply does not have "church clothes" or their equivalent, but wanted very much to pay his respects to his friend and the widow.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't mind if someone doesn't dress to the hilt for a funeral if they're being respectful and have the right intentions. It does irk me when someone is inappropriately dressed because they a) want to shock people or b) simply don't bother.
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  #8  
Old 08-12-2007, 05:19 PM
Millit the Frail Millit the Frail is offline
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I come from small-town Ohio, and yes, there are people who show up like this for funerals and weddings. Having, by now, lived in both Chicago and New York, I find it really odd. I shouldn't have been surprised to see people at my wedding in jeans and polo shirts, but I kind of was.

Now, some people don't have a whole lot of money, and I know that. I'm pretty sensitive to that. It's very hard for a family with three kids to always have a nice outfit for each kid at any given time--kids grow out of stuff quickly and ruin nice clothes easily. So I'll give kids a pass. But for adults, honestly, I don't get it. It's pretty cheap to buy some slacks or khakis and a button-down at Wal-Mart or Target. Or a skirt/nice pants and a blouse for a woman. Hit the sale racks and you can buy a whole outfit for well under $50. (My stepdad is a pastor and has a closet full of $10 Wal-Mart button-down shirts.) One outfit like this, if only worn a few times a year, will last a few years at least. It's worth it, IMHO. Maybe some people just don't realize how easy it would be to have one church-appropriate outfit in their wardrobes.

I don't intend for this to be personal. The gentleman in the post just above mine was being respectful, which is what really counts. He wasn't just clueless, like most of the under-dressed people I see. Even if I could only afford a small wardrobe, I'd make sure to squeeze in one outfit that I could wear for those "dress up" occasions.
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2007, 05:30 PM
Scarlett67 Scarlett67 is offline
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Hell, I keep a "funeral outfit" in my closet -- a conservative dress with conservative matching jewelry, but still something that I would wear otherwise -- JUST to wear to funerals, because nothing else in my closet is conservative or dressy enough for such a somber occasion; my wardrobe is pretty crazy, and so is most of my jewelry. When an outfit has "made the rounds" of various-social-circle funerals -- this side of the family, that group of friends -- I buy another one. I'm on my second one in maybe fifteen years. Mr. S always wears a suit, though he rarely wears one otherwise.

I agree that barring financial problems, there's no excuse for being a slob at a funeral.
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  #10  
Old 08-12-2007, 05:48 PM
Zoe Zoe is offline
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Biblical clothing only at my memorial service please.

Absolutely no bathrobes or sheets allowed, so plan ahead.

Veils on women permitted. Limit of 7.

Coin headdresses are tacky, tacky, tacky.

Footwear optional.

No casting of lots inside the main church building or the parish hall.

Gentlemen, gird your loins.
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  #11  
Old 08-12-2007, 08:04 PM
TroubleAgain TroubleAgain is offline
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Nice dresses or slacks for women, and slacks w/dress shirt for men is the least I expect at a viewing or funeral. This being the rural (redneck) South, though, what I *see* is jeans, "dress shorts" on older women, young girls with muffin-tops and tanks or halters, flip-flops, guys with baggy, saggy shorts, sneakers, cow-boy boots, and all sorts of lovely things.
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  #12  
Old 08-12-2007, 09:09 PM
eleanorigby eleanorigby is offline
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FYI: there are some nurses who think that going to a funeral or wake in "dress whites" (we have no official uniform, like the military, but white is our traditional color) and not scrubs is a sign of respect. I think that if a group of nurses or health care people did so, the response would be appropriate and appreciative (even if they came in scrubs). Or if the deceased was a plumber, so all the other plumbers came with tool belts and butt cleavage (I'm kidding).... Seriously, I can see something like lab coats being ok, but not beach wear (unless the dearly departed was a surfer or similar), not pj's not grunge wear.


Everyone has some type of "better" clothing in their closet. To not wear it to show your respect to the family etc is just wrong.
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  #13  
Old 08-12-2007, 09:29 PM
UntouchedTakeaway UntouchedTakeaway is offline
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Huge pet peeve of mine, too. Ugh.

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  #14  
Old 08-12-2007, 11:31 PM
Ruby Ruby is offline
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I guess I'll be the dissenting opinion. I was very grateful for those friends and family members who took the time out of their busy day to visit me at each of my parent's wakes. I didn't care one iota what they were wearing. It wasn't a sign of disrespect to me at all.
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  #15  
Old 08-12-2007, 11:56 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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What happens if you fly in to visit a sick relative and the visit turns out to involve a funeral? Can you rent a dark men's suit suitable for a funeral? (Once I was told I should fly in just in case, although the relative ended up surviving. But as I was packing to leave, I stood in my closet wondering if I should take a suit just in case. I wondered how I'd handle it if the person passed after I flew in and I hadn't brought a suit.)
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  #16  
Old 08-12-2007, 11:59 PM
MissTake MissTake is offline
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When Dad died Mom told us to wear whatever we wanted. Dad wasn't buried in a suit, he hadn't owned one in years, and made us promise to bury him in his work pants, button up shirt and sweater he wore for all "special" events.

We did dress up anyways - just our "Sunday Go To Meetin'" clothes.

However, his sister in law appeared in a purple velour track suit. One of my cousins had a raggedy sweatshirt on. Many people in jeans, which was fine if they were clean and they had on a decent shirt. A few people wore hats inside, but that didn't last long. My Dad [i]hated[i] it when people wore hats inside. So if any of us saw someone attempt to wear a hat in to pay respects we told them to remove it.

The best dressed people, IMO, were the guys from his old employer. He worked for a certain company for over 50 years. Every guy, employed or retired, had on the company shirt.

And the pallbearers all wore their hunting gear.

It went with his wishes, but yet we were tsked a few times for not wearing dresses (It was 7F!) by some of the older folks.
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  #17  
Old 08-13-2007, 01:12 AM
missred missred is offline
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Does it sometimes make you wonder what those same people wear for a job interview?
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  #18  
Old 08-13-2007, 02:10 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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My father's funeral was over 10 years ago. I remember the friends who came to grieve with our family. But I don't remember anything about how anybody was dressed.

Worrying about the clothes people wore seems incredibly shallow.
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  #19  
Old 08-13-2007, 06:47 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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When anyone on my mother's side dies, I dress very nicely - I have number of appropriate dresses and slacks (in Minnesota its often slacks, particularly if there is any chance you'll be standing graveside in March). But they are practical, non-judging people and chances are good a funeral on that side will have a few people show up in jeans.

When anyone on my father's side dies, I make a special effort to dress VERY nicely. I take extra time with my hair. I make sure that my nails are painted and I have the complete set of makeup on. That my purse matches my shoes and that my coat also matches. This is not effort I make in every day life, but my father's side notices these sorts of things - and finds it rude and disrespectful if you don't make that effort for a funeral. (Hey, they want matching flip flops if you go to a pool party - yeah, they are shallow people, but you don't pick your relatives. And I understand their code and am not going to push it at a funeral or a wedding).
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  #20  
Old 08-13-2007, 07:03 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarahfeena
I think that at the very least, funeral/visitation attire should be the best clothes you have for wearing in everyday life (meaning, not formalwear). If the best item of clothing you own is a suit (for men)/nice pantsuit/dress (for women), you wear that. If the best item of clothing you have is khakis, a funeral calls for your nicest pair, with a collared shirt.

Personally, I believe everyone should have a suit/nice dress in their closet for wearing to funerals, even if the only place you will ever wear them is to funerals, but I know there are people who just don't feel comfortable in that level of "dress-up," no matter where they are going.
I absolutely agree. My husband is the scruffiest looking guy around (and yes, he's always wearing that fucking cap). Even HE has a (very nice!) suit to wear to weddings and funerals. And these are the only occasions where he ditches the cap. I'm turned off by the ultra-casual look at funerals, but times have changed. I don't think the rules count anymore.

Last edited by Kalhoun; 08-13-2007 at 07:05 AM..
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  #21  
Old 08-13-2007, 07:12 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa
When anyone on my mother's side dies, I dress very nicely - I have number of appropriate dresses and slacks (in Minnesota its often slacks, particularly if there is any chance you'll be standing graveside in March). But they are practical, non-judging people and chances are good a funeral on that side will have a few people show up in jeans.

When anyone on my father's side dies, I make a special effort to dress VERY nicely. I take extra time with my hair. I make sure that my nails are painted and I have the complete set of makeup on. That my purse matches my shoes and that my coat also matches. This is not effort I make in every day life, but my father's side notices these sorts of things - and finds it rude and disrespectful if you don't make that effort for a funeral. (Hey, they want matching flip flops if you go to a pool party - yeah, they are shallow people, but you don't pick your relatives. And I understand their code and am not going to push it at a funeral or a wedding).
We've had a couple inclement weather deaths in the family, and I do cut people a little slack when they have to slog through the snow, rain, mud to do the graveside part. But I don't care if the person was a marathon runner (and my nephew was)...I really hate the ripped cut-offs and dirty running shoes look. But that's me.
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  #22  
Old 08-13-2007, 07:41 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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Formal occasions seem to be less and less formal. I was at a wedding in July and some guy had a leather vest over top of a T-shirt, with blue jeans.
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  #23  
Old 08-13-2007, 07:56 AM
Suse Suse is offline
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When my husband's grandmother died, her family decided that "Mom was a casual person" and so they all dressed casually for the visitation. Most of the grandchildren were in shorts and t-shirts and the older generation wore casual slacks and shirts. They neglected to tell us of the family consensus, so my husband and I and our kids were dressed formally.

For the funeral, the immediate family dressed formally, but some cousins showed up in dirty, ripped sweats and t-shirts. Their behavior was as inappropriate as their dress, and I was relieved to learn that these were the cousins no one wanted to claim.

Another story:
Recently, our town was shaken by a horrible accident in which three of our volunteer EMTs were killed, along with the two patients they were transporting to the hospital. The visitation and funerals were both held at the gymnasium of our local high school and fire and EMS departments from across the country attended. I was only able to attend the visitation and noticed that most visitors were dressed formally, although some were in jeans. At the funeral service the next day, the gym was packed with families, friends, and fire/EMS representatives. Most local people who were not close to the families opted to watch the funeral procession as it wound its way through the town to the cemetery.

My sister and her husband went uptown to watch the procession and ran into a local couple they knew who had gone out to the service (they didn't know the EMTS or their families well but wanted to see the spectacle), where she got too hot, so they went to the cemetery to wait, and she got too hot again, so they just went uptown to wait. They were dressed in cut-off jean shorts, he in a t-shirt, she in a tank top with no bra. My sister was appalled and I couldn't blame her. The entire event was ultra-formal as evidenced by the many people who who traveled hundreds of miles to pay their respects to their comrades and were dressed in full uniform on a sweltering day and this woman couldn't even bother to put on a bra before she drove the .2 miles she had to travel?

Personally, I've attended visitations in work clothes, sometimes even in jeans if running out during my lunch hour at work, and have always apologized for my clothes, although I've always been reassured by the family that it was not a problem. When members of my family have died, I never really noticed what any visitor was wearing as long as they behaved appropriately. But in the situation described above, that couple was too much about their own comfort and too little about appropriate behavior and attire.
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  #24  
Old 08-13-2007, 08:59 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn
What happens if you fly in to visit a sick relative and the visit turns out to involve a funeral? Can you rent a dark men's suit suitable for a funeral? (Once I was told I should fly in just in case, although the relative ended up surviving. But as I was packing to leave, I stood in my closet wondering if I should take a suit just in case. I wondered how I'd handle it if the person passed after I flew in and I hadn't brought a suit.)
Before my grandfather died, even though he was in pretty decent health, every time we went up to see him (often, of course, when he was in the hospital for something) my dad would say, "I wonder if I should bring a suit?" and I'd say "Would you rather have to buy an emergency suit?" and of course he'd bring a suit. We haven't been up to see Grandma since Grandpa died, but she turns 92 on Wednesday and next time I go up there, even if she isn't dead, I'll make sure I have something I can wear to a funeral just in case.
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  #25  
Old 08-13-2007, 12:22 PM
Nightingale Nightingale is offline
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Funerals and visitations call for "sunday go to meeting clothes". Period. Unless the family requests something different ("Daddy was a cowboy, everybody wear your Wranglers and boots please!") then it's simply a matter of respect to dress neatly. Exceptions also can be made for those who are leaving/going to work; when a coworker died in December, several of us wore scrubs to the visitation simply because we were either just leaving or just on our way to the hospital. Otherwise, dress nicely, leave your ball caps, tennis shoes and cutoffs at home, and wear a bra.
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  #26  
Old 08-13-2007, 02:41 PM
UntouchedTakeaway UntouchedTakeaway is offline
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I think the difference between "coming from work" and "braless and cutoffs" is something worth repeating. No one should be criticized for paying respects in the their honest workin' duds, but come on, folks - harness the boobage for the love of Pete.

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  #27  
Old 08-13-2007, 02:50 PM
TroubleAgain TroubleAgain is offline
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Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net
My father's funeral was over 10 years ago. I remember the friends who came to grieve with our family. But I don't remember anything about how anybody was dressed.

Worrying about the clothes people wore seems incredibly shallow.
I agree that those who are grieving deeply probably won't notice. But don't you think that respect is still owed to the deceased and their family? I mean, would you personally show up in shorts and flip-flops?

I think that a person should wear the best they have available in the way of nice clothes, and that anyone who isn't completely impoverished should have one set of funeral/wedding/court appropriate clothing. Clean. Pressed. Non-beachwear. Work attire for those going to/coming from work is acceptible, as well, of course.

Which isn't to say I wouldn't be grateful that they showed up and never notice how they were dressed if I were the bereaved, but as a friend or family member coming to a wake or funeral (or wedding or trial or any other solemn* occasion), I feel we owe that respect.

*Solemn meaning serious, not sad, obviously, as weddings aren't supposed to be sad, but they should be serious.


[eta] I have a dress I've worn to several funerals. It's calf-length, black with small white polka-dots, and has a modest neckline. I've started thinking of it as my "funeral dress".

Last edited by TroubleAgain; 08-13-2007 at 02:55 PM.. Reason: eta
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  #28  
Old 08-13-2007, 03:09 PM
Zebra Zebra is offline
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Last year, my mother passed away, and yes, some people came to the visitation or the service sort of dressed down.

But, I hold nothing against them, and was moved at how they were affected by my mother's passing and I was comforted by their pressence. Other than the dress, they all behaved in a respectful manner. That's what counts.
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  #29  
Old 08-13-2007, 03:11 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfloyd
But there were people at the funeral mass in shorts and tee shirts, which in my personal opinion is never appropriate in a house of worship.
Guilty of wearing tee shirts to Mass, here. They're clean and logoless, but they are tee shirts, and are worn with jeans. Maybe I should grow up.
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  #30  
Old 08-13-2007, 03:23 PM
The Chao Goes Mu The Chao Goes Mu is offline
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Suse, We must be in relative proximity, I know the accident you are referring to.


I've been to way to many funerals and they span the socio-economic spectrum.
In my experience, one's financial situation has little to do with how they dress. It's about respect or just being alarmingly clueless as to how to prestent oneself when calling on the deceased's family.
Old slacks and and ill-fitting button down may not be the prettiest oufit (I can't believe I just used the word "slacks") but is shows an attempt to present oneself in a respectful manner in honor of the dead and in honor of the family.
Showing up in baggy, hanging-off-the-ass jeans and a stained muscle shirt is just lazy and disrespectful.

Now, I, personally, don't have a problem with someone being a little dressed down for a visitation because people are coming from work and may not have time to change into a suit but for Og's sake, if you're going to the actual funeral, put a little effort into your appearance.


When my Nana died, a very, very poor and mentally unglued cousin showed up unshowered and wearing white shoes that she painted black with a permanent marker. Ah well, at least the outfit matched.


ETA: I have a "funeral outfit" too. After my friend's grandfather died, and my presence was requested at every Catholic doing the had in preparation, I had to scamper to the mall to find appropriate attire. I wore that oufit to several funerals and now have a new, updated outfit. I don't want to be left unprepared like that again.
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Last edited by The Chao Goes Mu; 08-13-2007 at 03:26 PM..
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  #31  
Old 08-13-2007, 03:33 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zebra
Last year, my mother passed away, and yes, some people came to the visitation or the service sort of dressed down.

But, I hold nothing against them, and was moved at how they were affected by my mother's passing and I was comforted by their pressence. Other than the dress, they all behaved in a respectful manner. That's what counts.
Is there a line? - I don't mean to pick on you - this is more hypothetical than actual - I'm picking on you because the statement "other than dress" seems to recognize that their dress was not respectful.

"Other than showing up drunk, they behaved in a respectful manner."

"Other than playing Texas Holdem in the back of the room, they behaved in a respectful manner."

"Other than loudly talking about their latest surgery while the Knights of Columbus said the rosary, they behaved in a respectful manner."

Do you get three strikes - you can show up tackily dressed as long as you don't bring obnoxious kids? You can bring obnoxious kids if you dress well.? Is a t-shirt and jeans ok, but a cami top and short shorts pushing it? Can you really take all the good cookies from the cookie tray and sing offkey over the soloist doing Amazing Grace and get a pass? Is there some sort of code in the obituary section that lets you know if this is a "give a pass" family like my mother's family, or if you'll be forever the black sheep for showing up at a funeral in a skirt without nylons like my father's - to be gossiped about at visitations for the next twenty years?

Is it just the intent that counts, as as long as the intentions were good, all can be forgiven?

I guess I'm willing to give most things a pass if the intentions were good. All the same, I have to look at people at a funeral in jeans and wonder "are we raising more and more people in barns? Did their mothers never teach them any manners? Or do I need to pity them not for lack of manners, but because they are so poor that they lack the 'funeral and wedding' outfit."

Last edited by Dangerosa; 08-13-2007 at 03:36 PM..
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  #32  
Old 08-13-2007, 03:54 PM
lobstermobster lobstermobster is offline
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the behavior in the OP is UNACCEPTABLE. I agree that if I were at a funeral of someone that was really close to me I may not notice but I've been to a lot of funerals of my parents friends and I'm more sad that they are sad. This gives me a little more time and energy to sneer at people's clothing choices.

I can't stand it when people do not dress appropriately. Its never too much to expect (ESPECIALLY if someone has died) everyone show up in clean, pressed, age-appropriate, event-appropriate clothing. Sometimes you'll get the first three of those but not the last one. I was recently at a wedding where someone was wearing a short strapless dress in the church. I'm not even christian but I'm not so arrogant that I won't cover up my no-no's in what millions of people consider to be god's house.

Does anyone remember that commercial where there is a funeral and the message is something like "stand out" or "be different" and there is this woman in this bright red dress among all the mourners in black. I couldn't BELIEVE they were encouraging that.

Anyways, inappropriate dress at funerals/weddings are definately on my list of fashion related pet peevs. Right up there with the old classics man sandals, visible panty lines, and grown up clothes on children (whoever came up with the little boy sized tuxedo should be put in jail)
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  #33  
Old 08-13-2007, 05:43 PM
gfloyd gfloyd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigi
Guilty of wearing tee shirts to Mass, here. They're clean and logoless, but they are tee shirts, and are worn with jeans. Maybe I should grow up.
Fitted women's tee shirts that are plain need another name. I've worn them with suits. I meant tee shirts like I wear to work on my car or in a chem lab.
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  #34  
Old 08-13-2007, 07:12 PM
phouka phouka is offline
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My second year of teaching, the step-father of one of my students died unexpectedly. The memorial service was held nearly six weeks after. At the time, my parents were fostering a former student of mine who knew the girl. As I was going to the memorial service, I offered to take my parent's foster daughter, and I explained what was expected of us while we were there.

We were to dress in nice clothes in dark colors - nothing flashy or designed to catch the attention of others. We were to speak softly. We were to offer our condolences and support but not take the family's time.

When we got there, I had to wonder what planet I'd landed on. The mother of my student, wife of the man who died was wearing a cheap, thin, white cotton short and blouse set that you could clearly see bra and panty lines through. With the exception of her daughter, my student, she was the best dressed of the family and other attendees.

I would have chalked it up to different cultures, but the mother sent her daughter to sit in the back row and operate the CD player during the service. The poor girl sat back there and cried and cried, because the man who'd died was the only father she'd ever known. A third of the way into the service, when it was obvious the mother, her mother, and her sister, weren't going to move from the front row where they were arguing over whether heaven had ponies to ride (I shit you not. Ponies.), I picked up and moved to the back row and held that 14 year old girl while she sobbed.

I don't have a problem with people who genuinely can't afford nicer clothes. I don't have a problem with people who are come just before, during, or just after their work shift and are wearing work clothes. I have a very large problem with people so addled by their own selfishness, they could be stuffed into a clue cannon and shot into low Earth orbit before they realized the pain their complete disrespect caused others.
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  #35  
Old 08-13-2007, 08:39 PM
Zebra Zebra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa
Is there a line? - I don't mean to pick on you - this is more hypothetical than actual - I'm picking on you because the statement "other than dress" seems to recognize that their dress was not respectful.

"Other than showing up drunk, they behaved in a respectful manner."

"Other than playing Texas Holdem in the back of the room, they behaved in a respectful manner."

"Other than loudly talking about their latest surgery while the Knights of Columbus said the rosary, they behaved in a respectful manner."

Do you get three strikes - you can show up tackily dressed as long as you don't bring obnoxious kids? You can bring obnoxious kids if you dress well.? Is a t-shirt and jeans ok, but a cami top and short shorts pushing it? Can you really take all the good cookies from the cookie tray and sing offkey over the soloist doing Amazing Grace and get a pass? Is there some sort of code in the obituary section that lets you know if this is a "give a pass" family like my mother's family, or if you'll be forever the black sheep for showing up at a funeral in a skirt without nylons like my father's - to be gossiped about at visitations for the next twenty years?

Is it just the intent that counts, as as long as the intentions were good, all can be forgiven?

I guess I'm willing to give most things a pass if the intentions were good. All the same, I have to look at people at a funeral in jeans and wonder "are we raising more and more people in barns? Did their mothers never teach them any manners? Or do I need to pity them not for lack of manners, but because they are so poor that they lack the 'funeral and wedding' outfit."
All the things you mention, being drunk, playing cards, talking loudly during service, are behaviours, or actions, while how they are dressed is something different. If a person in a nice suit was drunk off they ass, would the suit make it OK? If the lady talking during church was in a nice dress, would that be OK?


How someone is dressed is a first impression and yes it can be negative, but it doesn't make anyone irredeemable in my book. The actual behaviour, being respectful, expressing how they are sorry for my loss, sharing stories about the deceased. Those are behaviours that I personally look for when you come to the funeral of my family member.

Have you ever been under-dressed? Did you just realize it and slink away because you were unworthy to be there?

You say your own family has the give-a-pass mentality on you mother's side. So why don't you get my post?
You tell me which side you prefer, the give-a- pass side or the, never forget side?
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  #36  
Old 08-13-2007, 09:21 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zebra
All the things you mention, being drunk, playing cards, talking loudly during service, are behaviours, or actions, while how they are dressed is something different. If a person in a nice suit was drunk off they ass, would the suit make it OK? If the lady talking during church was in a nice dress, would that be OK?


How someone is dressed is a first impression and yes it can be negative, but it doesn't make anyone irredeemable in my book. The actual behaviour, being respectful, expressing how they are sorry for my loss, sharing stories about the deceased. Those are behaviours that I personally look for when you come to the funeral of my family member.

Have you ever been under-dressed? Did you just realize it and slink away because you were unworthy to be there?

You say your own family has the give-a-pass mentality on you mother's side. So why don't you get my post?
You tell me which side you prefer, the give-a- pass side or the, never forget side?
I'm just asking if there is a difference and why? It seems like there are lots of disrespectful actions at funerals, dressing poorly for them is one - perhaps one of the minor infractions along with eating all the good cookies - while showing up drunk is a major one. But it seems to me that both are disrespectful actions - its just how much of a pass are you willing to give folks.

I disagree that being underdressed isn't a behavior or action - its simply an action that takes place before the event. You are making a choice to show up dressed inappropriately to a funeral or wedding - just as you make the choice to behave inappropriately.

No, I've never gone anywhere underdressed - not that I recall. I've been overdressed on an occation or two. I'm not a very casual person. And with relations like my father's, I learned what proper shoes and jewelry for an occation was fairly early, even if the whole thing is sort of laughable - I can do it when called upon.

Last edited by Dangerosa; 08-13-2007 at 09:23 PM..
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  #37  
Old 08-13-2007, 09:46 PM
Bobotheoptimist Bobotheoptimist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khadaji
Formal occasions seem to be less and less formal. I was at a wedding in July and some guy had a leather vest over top of a T-shirt, with blue jeans.
I ministered a wedding in July wearing shorts, Crocs, and a Hawaiian shirt <shudder> By request of the bride and groom.

I'm also offended by people dressing the same for a funeral (or wedding) as a trip to Piggly-Wiggly.
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  #38  
Old 08-13-2007, 09:56 PM
Zebra Zebra is offline
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Well, I would rather have a full church with half the people under dressed, but otherwise behaving respectfully then an half empty church.

I'm not speaking hypothetically, I'm speaking from expierence. I guess I'm just not a snob about dress. I would prefer them to be dressed properly, and I may go as far to quietly point out that the men should doff their hats, unless they are Jews who always cover their heads as a sign of respect.

Yes, the act of dressing is a behavior, but as pointed out, not everyone owns those clothes. For them, buying a suit is like you, or your husband, buying a tux. Maybe he wears a tux once or twice a year. Should he buy one? Not worth it.


So the difference is that, not dressed up enough is, to me, a very minor infraction. Much less of an infraction than not showing up at all. I don't see why you're not getting this. It really isn't that complicated.

I'm not a member of your father's family.


So In My Humble Opinion, while proper dress is desirable, I wouldn't want anyone to stay away, or even feel uncomfortable, because they are not as dressed as others. This goes for any social gathering, wedding, funeral, whatever. I'm just laid back about that sort of thing.
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  #39  
Old 08-13-2007, 10:15 PM
ParentalAdvisory ParentalAdvisory is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia
I agree - it's shocking how many people have been raised by wolves lately. I mean, the phrase is pay your respects.
I'd say it depends on the person who passed. If it were a biker guy, it would be a goofy get together with kahkis and suits.
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  #40  
Old 08-14-2007, 12:16 AM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is offline
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Japanese are more formal, in general, as even more so at funerals. I was really surprised at my cousin's funeral (in Salt Lake) where people showed in in jeans and tee shirts.
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  #41  
Old 08-14-2007, 06:46 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zebra
Well, I would rather have a full church with half the people under dressed, but otherwise behaving respectfully then an half empty church.

I'm not speaking hypothetically, I'm speaking from expierence. I guess I'm just not a snob about dress. I would prefer them to be dressed properly, and I may go as far to quietly point out that the men should doff their hats, unless they are Jews who always cover their heads as a sign of respect.

Yes, the act of dressing is a behavior, but as pointed out, not everyone owns those clothes. For them, buying a suit is like you, or your husband, buying a tux. Maybe he wears a tux once or twice a year. Should he buy one? Not worth it.


So the difference is that, not dressed up enough is, to me, a very minor infraction. Much less of an infraction than not showing up at all. I don't see why you're not getting this. It really isn't that complicated.

I'm not a member of your father's family.


So In My Humble Opinion, while proper dress is desirable, I wouldn't want anyone to stay away, or even feel uncomfortable, because they are not as dressed as others. This goes for any social gathering, wedding, funeral, whatever. I'm just laid back about that sort of thing.
Here is the next question. Let's say you DID know my father's family and needed to attend a funeral. And you knew that they expected people to "dress" for weddings and funerals Would you dress up or would you show up in jeans anyway?

There are two sides here. There is the side that says "oh, how I can judge people that show up to these events in jeans." But there is also the side that says "I don't care what is expected, I'm comfortable in jeans." You'd have to be darn poor not to be able to go buy a pair of black Dockers at Goodwill to keep around for such occasions.

Yeah, the first side are snobs. The second side is just as inconsiderate - unless they KNOW that the solemn event will be casual. The first side at least has etiquette in their corner.
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  #42  
Old 08-14-2007, 06:49 AM
calm kiwi calm kiwi is offline
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My dad died on the 24 of July (the day of his 65th birthday), the funeral home asked us how many people we expected to come, we guessed 100 or less. On the day more then 200 showed up MANY came straight from work. There were a FEW in suits and many in workgear.

I could not give the tiniest shit what anyone wore, I cared that they came to say goodbye to my dad. It was not AT ALL a religous service (the G bloke was not mentioned as per dad's wishes....nor was their a coffin because he gave his body to the medical department at Auckland uni) but it was a lovely service in memory of my dad.

I went and bought my son some clothes, a black jumper and some cargo pants because all he normally wears is trackies or jeans and a hoodie but I wouldn't care for a single moment what anyone else was wearing...nor did I notice!

Don't be disrespectful at a funeral but don't be anal about others clothes either!
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  #43  
Old 08-14-2007, 06:54 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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In Spain there tends to be less of a divide between "work" and "weekend" clothes than in the US, in my experience. But still... someone going to a wake in gym clothes*? Not even if the deceased was an aerobics instructor!

* Some of the stuff described here would be seen only at the beach or the gym, in Spain.

Last edited by Nava; 08-14-2007 at 06:55 AM..
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  #44  
Old 08-14-2007, 06:58 AM
calm kiwi calm kiwi is offline
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I also bought myself a black cardigan to wear with the grey pants I have had for YEARS. I could now call this my funeral outfit I suppose but I honestly believe the closer you are to the deceased the less you even think about clothes...or should have too! When you are not as close those who are won't notice what you are wearing (unless they are anal about such things).

When my huisband died I wore jeans and a ratty old jumper and left half way through. He was dead...I had to get through the rest of the day/life!
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  #45  
Old 08-14-2007, 07:05 AM
calm kiwi calm kiwi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa
Yeah, the first side are snobs. The second side is just as inconsiderate - unless they KNOW that the solemn event will be casual. The first side at least has etiquette in their corner.
But isn't a funeral about the dead person rather then some social gathering with correct clothing? I know my Dad would have been moved that some people cut their work day short and came to see his service in their work clothes rather then went home and put a suit on before arriving. They paid their respects in the way they knew him.
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  #46  
Old 08-14-2007, 07:10 AM
calm kiwi calm kiwi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calm kiwi
When my huisband died I wore jeans and a ratty old jumper and left half way through. He was dead...I had to get through the rest of the day/life!
That sounds awful! He commited suicide and I just was not up to getting dressed let alone dressed up. I didn't last the whole service because it was too hard.

I'm not always some badly dressed, funeral leaving, uncaring person!
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  #47  
Old 08-14-2007, 07:10 AM
Zebra Zebra is offline
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Yes, I am agreeing that the proper etiquette is to dress appropriately.

Would you rather have people who, for what ever reason are not able to 'dressed properly' but otherwise would behave properly, not come to a funeral?

See, in my way of thinking, you have to attend a funeral. The family does not send out invitations. You hear about it, you go. Come hell or high water, Aint no mountain high enough, yadda yadda yadda, you get your ass there and you 'be there' for your living friend who has lost someone. ALL of my friends, wouldn't give a damn if I were in jeans or in a suit, but then again, I'm not friends with a bunch of pretentious snobs. Remember, I'm talking from experience. I'm talking about people who showed up at my mother's funeral, not properly attired, and ultimately, I didn't care. I had bigger things to care about that day.

I'm not sure what the proper etiquette on the part of the family of the deceased, but I'm pretty sure that whispering behind the backs of their quests, and rolling your eyes at the clothing of others is not proper.


OH and Dangerosa, just out of curiousity, are you trying to piss me off?
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  #48  
Old 08-14-2007, 07:34 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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I think the closer you are to the immediate family, the more difference it makes to them how you're dressed (be it "up" or "down"). When my ex died, his mother (the snob...in all facets of her life) bought his impoverished widow a nice black dress for the funeral. She chose to wear jeans because that's what he wanted. Now...we all wore jeans because it was expressed by him before his death that that's what he wanted. However, if I were his widow, I think I would have tossed the MIL a bone in that case.
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  #49  
Old 08-14-2007, 07:44 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa
I disagree that being underdressed isn't a behavior or action - its simply an action that takes place before the event. You are making a choice to show up dressed inappropriately to a funeral or wedding - just as you make the choice to behave inappropriately.
I agree with this. If you know you're attending a funeral after your ultra-casual-dress job, you can bring clothes with you. It takes 10 min or less to throw on a pair of slacks and a blazer or what have you. I would be pretty pissed off if my construction worker friends came to a funeral with mud caked to their boots and their jeans all torn up, just because they're coming straight from work. It doesn't take that much effort to make yourself presentable.
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  #50  
Old 08-14-2007, 07:59 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zebra
Yes, I am agreeing that the proper etiquette is to dress appropriately.

Would you rather have people who, for what ever reason are not able to 'dressed properly' but otherwise would behave properly, not come to a funeral?

See, in my way of thinking, you have to attend a funeral. The family does not send out invitations. You hear about it, you go. Come hell or high water, Aint no mountain high enough, yadda yadda yadda, you get your ass there and you 'be there' for your living friend who has lost someone. ALL of my friends, wouldn't give a damn if I were in jeans or in a suit, but then again, I'm not friends with a bunch of pretentious snobs. Remember, I'm talking from experience. I'm talking about people who showed up at my mother's funeral, not properly attired, and ultimately, I didn't care. I had bigger things to care about that day.

I'm not sure what the proper etiquette on the part of the family of the deceased, but I'm pretty sure that whispering behind the backs of their quests, and rolling your eyes at the clothing of others is not proper.


OH and Dangerosa, just out of curiousity, are you trying to piss me off?
No, as I said, I'm not picking on you. I'm just feeling out where lines are drawn. Since you said "other than dress, they behaved respectfully" you seem to have implied that their dress was not respectful.

I'd rather have people behave respectfully at funerals. If you can't show up dressed properly in my father's family, don't come at all because it will upset the grievers - they will see it as a sign of disrespect to the family. (My father's family has some Mafia in it two generations back - respect for the family is a big deal). On the other hand, with my mother's family, anyone who shows up is welcome, no matter what the attire.

If I'm the griever, I'm not sure. Honestly, I doubt I'd be in any shape to notice. And if I'm dead, I don't care.
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