Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Appropriate Attire for a Memorial Service

Dear She She:
My father-in-law passed away and we are having a memorial/celebration of his life service. Since this is not a maudlin “event” I’m not sure what I should wear! I’m in dire need of some direction. Any assistance you can give would be appreciated! Tracy

P.S. it’s cold here where I live!

Dearest Tracy,

First of all, condolences on the passing of a loved family member, and what a wonderful way to commemorate your father-in-law, with a celebration of his life. In that vein, I would strongly suggest NOT wearing black. In fact, I have recently attended two memorial services for friends and noticed a very definite movement away from black attire.

While the wearing of black is often a traditional or even religious symbol, it is no longer deemed necessary to attire oneself in black from head to toe. At the same time, it is inappropriate to don bright colors. I would suggest keeping things neutral and conservative. Shades of brown, charcoal, navy blue, maroon, deep purple, and even a deeper dusky blue would all be good choices.

Personally, I think a dress or skirt is the appropriate choice for a funeral. Call me old-fashioned, but I firmly believe there are two places a lady never wears trousers: weddings and funerals. I would choose a knee length or just-below knee length dress, paired with warm tights and knee length boots (you said it was cold there). A sweaterdress would be a good choice too, especially if you are going to be outdoors at all. You could also go with a knee-length skirt and sweater or jacket, again paired with boots. Watch the heels on the boots - stay away from stiletto heels or anything that might sink into the ground if you are going to be outdoors during any part of the service. Wedge heels would be great.

Top with a warm stylish coat and accent with a toasty cashmere scarf and gloves in a muted color. Keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum, and keep them understated. Same goes for your handbag.

Keep smiling and cherish your memories!

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