Ever been asked to wear clothes that match others' attire at a funeral?

For the Rhymer clan, 2014 has been lousy with funerals: three so far. In all three cases there has been this odd (to me) pressure for people in the family to dress in matching ways. For one funeral, it was insisted that all the female Rhymers wear only cream-colored clothing, and all the males cream shirts and navy ties. For another it was insisted that everybody wear pink; my crazy sister went so far as to purchase pink ties for all the men and deliver them. For the third green was the theme.

I didn’t argue with the persons making this suggestions. But it seemed odd and pointless to me. No, more than pointless: missing the point. It was making the funerals more about spectacle than honoring the deceased, more about conformity than grieving the dead or comforting mourners.

Anyway: has anyone else encountered this phenomenon? Whether you have or not, what do you think about it?

That just sounds…weird.

Never encountered it, probably wouldn’t comply if I did.

People grieve in weird ways. If worrying more about spectacle gives someone something to cling to, whatever. It’s no weirder than cooking and cleaning for 3 days straight.

Well, haven’t you said your sisters are kind of strange? :o :slight_smile: Was this all their idea?

There’s nothing odd about it. Customs about dressing a certain way for mourning have been around forever.

I’ve never heard of it. In many a funeral thread here, we’ve had posters become indignant when it is suggested that the least one can do for a funeral is put on a suit. No, it’s shorts and flip-flops or nothing.

And I agree with you; it’s missing the point. You dress up to offer respect and comfort, the point being the family’s loss is acknowledge and the decedent is respected. I don’t know what matching clothing is supposed to accomplish.

If your family only gets together for funerals, then I could maybe see it for pictures. Or maybe it is to help other mourners identify who are family members?

Otherwise, yeah… weird.

Did you ask anyone what their motive was?

I think it’s an interesting way to demarcate the family members, myself.

It sounds a bit “us and them” to me. That is, if all the family dress alike it is easy for everyone to tell who are the privileged mourners (family) and who are the hangers-on (mere friends and others).

I have attended relatively few funerals in my life. Neither of my parents wanted a funeral, and I was way out of town when my uncle died, so the last one I remember was in 1986 for my grandmother. But I have never encountered this kind of thing in word or deed regarding any funeral that I have ever heard or read about.

That’s a bit cynical. If I am a friend of the guest of honor, I may not know who his mother or sister are, and I would like to extend my condolences.

This sounds like an excellent idea for a new reality show. Call it, “My Funeral from Hell.”

Which, of course, is what I did between my mother’s death & funeral.

I had a kind of Barney Stinson moment before the first of these funerals. I love suits and wear them five days out of seven; it’s no big thing for me to pull one out. But I was hesitant to put on one for this funeral because I knew whichever I chose I would always associate with this funeral and never want to wear it again. And, like Stinson, I thought, “Suits are a thing a joy. You shouldn’t wear one when you’re sad.”

I don’t see how that could work. The non-family mourners wouldn’t know about the, ah, sartorial code.

And I get together with at least some of my cousins regularly. My cousin Sam (brother to the last decedent) has a key to my apartment, and I to his. If he called me in the middle of the night and said, “Get up and get dressed, I’m coming over, I’ll explain when I get there,” I’d probably do it because I trust him to have a good reason (and vice versa).

No, Beatas do not coordinate sartorial congruity, but it probably would make for handsome family photos. I don’t see anything wrong with doing it as long as people have free choice in the matter.

Somehow people manage this at most funerals without matchy-matchy clothes to go by. Usually, I would think, by following the lead of the person they came with.

Having said that, I agree it does sound cynical. I’m just groping about in the dark for motivation without knowing any of the people involved except by description. Maybe it’s just a bid for emotional solidarity at a difficult time. OP asked what I thought, and that’s what I thought.

First, Skald, 2014 is young and so you have indeed had a difficult time. I am sorry for your losses.

The bereaved are assumed to be too grief-stricken to be concerned with coordinating outfits, as might not be quite as strange for a family reunion, christening, bar mitzvah, or wedding (although I’ve never heard of it for those either). Coordinating outfits creates an upbeat, celebratory note, not really a good fit for funerals. Some people have come to think of private events as show business, and so get the idea that their event is supposed to look like a big production number from a musical, complete with matching costumes and choreography. I suppose an exception might be for an eccentric deceased who would have loved it, but really, this is not the norm.

Why, yes, I am an old fart, but still.

Do you know where the suggestion originated/how the colors were chosen? My mother demanded that all her grandsons wear red shirts to my father’s funeral, because apparently that was his favorite color. Just her grandsons, not her granddaughters or daughters, not her son or sons-in-law. Crazy and illogical - yes. Caused a spectacle- maybe. But I wasn’t going to tell my newly widowed mother “No, I’m not buying my son a red shirt”

Never participated in such a custom, never even heard of it, but? People in mourning are weird, and color-coordinated ties are hardly the most extreme thing I’ve heard of. Maybe it’s just a matter of feeling in control of something, at a time when so much is so very out of control? Maybe it’s a mourner looking for something to do. (I tend to cook and/or clean. During the week between my sister’s death overseas and the funeral, I had literally cleaned my house with a toothbrush - twice - and cooked enough to feed my extended family and co-workers about three times over. Why? There was nothing else to DO, for heaven’s sake!) Maybe shopping is that thing to do for some people…

But I tend to go for the Southern thing: Keep a suitable black dress on hand for all seasons, and break out the casserole dishes, deviled egg tray, and banana pudding pan when I hear of a death. (And, if it’s a close friend/family member? Go help clean the house before visitors descend.)

Themed funerals are way beyond tacky…you’re into bat-shit crazy territory there.

The last two family funerals, this came up. All the men were asked to wear black suits and provided pink ties at my grandmother’s funeral years ago; black suits with black dress shirt and red/black ties at my uncle’s funeral last year (yep, that’s what the deceased was wearing). I complied, perhaps due to mellowing with age - on both occasions I was approached by surprised family members who thought I’d be the lone holdout on such shenanigans. I didn’t feel such antics were appropriate, but my feelings weren’t what was important at the time.

I’ve actually seen the matching clothing thing at a funeral. The whole family was in black and turquoise. At first I thought, “there’s something a little bit strange here,” but couldn’t quite put my finger on it, however. Then it dawned on me they were wearing matching outfits. Lots and lots and lots of matching outfits as this was a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiig family. I had a hard time paying attention to the service because I was torn between amused and perplexed over the matching outfits.

You were raised right! :smiley: