A Labor of Love: How to Choose Burial Clothes for the Departed

By: Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services
Monday, March 11, 2024

When preparing for a loved one’s final goodbye, the choice of burial clothing becomes a heartfelt expression of reverence.

The loss of a loved one is often a deeply emotional time. Amid grief, many decisions require attention, such as the choice of burial attire. While it may seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of things, selecting the right clothing for your departed loved one can be a meaningful way to honor their memory and legacy.

In this guide, we offer some practical advice on how to approach the task of choosing burial clothes with love and respect.

Consider Their Wishes

First and foremost, consider any wishes or preferences the departed may have expressed regarding their final attire. If they left behind specific instructions or had a favorite outfit, honoring their wishes can bring comfort to you and your loved ones.

Reflect on Their Special Qualities

Think about the style and personality of your loved one. Were they formal and traditional, or more casual and laid-back? Choose clothing that reflects who they were in life, whether it's a sharp suit, cocktail dress, or comfy pair of slacks.

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 profound layer of meaning and respect to the proceedings.

Be Practical

Mortuary professionals offer these suggestions:

  • Choose loose-fitting items: The body, particularly if it is not embalmed, can be quite stiff and skin sloughing may occur upon contact. In addition, the abdominal region may be swollen if an autopsy was performed.
  • Prolonged illness can change the shape of a body: Consider if the departed will still be able to fit in the items in their wardrobe. If extensive weight loss has occurred, you may want to purchase a new ensemble.
  • Consider complementary colors: You may wish to coordinate the garments with the color of the casket and floral arrangements.
  • Choose long-sleeved tops:  Embalming fluid can cause the skin on the arms to appear blotchy.
  • Forego shoes: They usually cannot be seen as only the top half of the casket is open during the viewing. In addition, it can be difficult to put shoes on, as the body becomes very rigid by the time of dressing.

Keep it Simple

While burial attire should be respectful, simplicity is often best. Avoid excessive embellishments and flashy accessories that can draw attention away from the solemnity of the occasion. Instead, opt for simple, understated elegance.

Include Personal Touches

Consider incorporating meaningful touches, such as a favorite piece of jewelry, a cherished accessory, or a sentimental item of clothing. These personal touches can offer comfort to grieving loved ones and honor the departed's memory.

Do Seek Support

Making decisions about burial clothes can be emotionally taxing. Don't hesitate to reach out to your family members and friends for support. They can offer helpful input and understanding during this difficult time.

Consult with Your Funeral Provider

Your chosen funeral home, burial service provider, or funeral director can offer valuable guidance regarding appropriate attire. Rely on their experience and insights to help you select suitable garments for the burial ceremony.

Choosing burial clothes for a loved one is a solemn and deeply personal task. By approaching it with great care, you can honor their memory in a meaningful way. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to dress your loved one for their final journey—what matters most is the love and respect with which you make these decisions.

For more comprehensive resources about selecting burial attire 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 Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization, Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to thousands of grieving families. We promise to provide our highest level of distinguished service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. With two convenient locations serving North and West Philadelphia, it is always our pleasure to be of service. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please visit batchelorbrothers.com.

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