How to choose burial clothing for a loved one’s funeral

When you’re planning a funeral service for a lost loved one, you may have many details to take care of. One aspect of the funeral that your loved one may have planned in advance is their funeral clothing.

However, if they did not make their wishes known, then you may need to choose their burial clothing. Here are some things to consider when choosing burial clothing for someone, or when carrying out their requests.

What was your loved one’s style?

 Your loved one’s style is a good place to start. Were they most comfortable in casual clothing? Or did they enjoy dressing more formally? Choosing what they will wear in death should reflect who they were in life.

The next step is to consider your loved one’s preferences. What garments did they like to wear? Was there anything that stood out about their style? Were there items that they always wore because they looked good on them? These are all things that can help guide your choices when selecting the clothing for their funeral or memorial service.

You will also need to consider your loved one’s religious beliefs, and how that may impact their burial clothing.

Consider the type of funeral service

Clothing should be appropriate for the funeral service and location, as well as in line with what you think your loved one would want. This can be casual or formal, but keep in mind that your loved one’s attire should match the type of service they had planned.

The funeral home can provide a funeral gown to be buried in. This garment typically resembles smart night gowns or pyjamas. If you have any questions regarding funeral gowns, speak to your local funeral director who will be able to guide you through the process.

You can place personal items with your loved one

It’s usually fine to place personal effects in the casket with your loved one. Whether that’s a favourite book or wedding ring – this can normally be accommodated.

Bear in mind that if you’re organising a cremation, there will be some limitations on what your loved one can have with them. For example, clothes with metal, rubber or plastic on them cannot be worn as these could cause damage to the cremation chamber. This is also true for glass, so spectacles are not permitted. If you still wish to dress your loved one in any of the above, you could choose to remove these items prior to cremation but keep them on for the viewing for example.

Items such as jewellery are also likely to be unsuitable, but you should consult your local funeral directors for guidance. In some instances, jewellery or mementos can be worn and then returned prior to the cremation. Again, it’s always best to check ahead with your funeral home.

What other practical considerations are there?

  • Generally, you do not need to choose shoes for your loved one as these will not be visible. Of course, if you wish your loved one to be wearing shoes, be them comfortable, smart or daily shoes, any option is fine.
  • You might consider co-ordinating the colour theme with the rest of the funeral service.
  • You may prefer to choose long sleeves as embalming can cause the arms to discolour.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing to accommodate any potential swelling. If you’re choosing a garment from earlier in their life, be sure it will be big enough.

Choosing burial clothing for a loved one is an important part of the whole funeral planning process

Remember, funeral clothing should be something that reflects your loved one’s personality and beliefs. If they loved bright colours and patterns, feel free to go with those. It’s okay if they don’t want anything too dark or neutral because it won’t necessarily be inappropriate for their funeral. The most important thing is making sure that the person’s life and attitude is reflected in their final outfit.

For more support following the death of a loved one, there are many organisations that can help. Find out more about bereavement support.

Step by step guide

There are several steps in the Funeral Planning process you will have to consider.

Types of funerals​

There are a number of different types of funerals available. Which type of funeral service is right for your loved one?

What happens at a cremation service?

Cremations are fast becoming the norm in Britain with over 70% of families choosing this type of

Further Reading: Cost of a funeral

Find out about funeral costs and what financial support could be available.