Mourning Attire

The way we choose what to wear has been flipped upside down, thanks to platforms like Instagram and Polyvore. It used to be that people had very limited options of style inspiration, coming from a few mainstream publications – you know the ones.

Not any more.

We are redefining what clothes belong in a gym through athleisure, office appropriate workwear, and soon – what we wear to a funeral.  It seems that there is a sort of uniform when attending funerals or memorial services in the western world.  Women are still following Jackie O's lead when it comes to funeral attire, wearing a black or navy blue dress with a high neckline, hat with a short veil and two-inch heels.  But, as the population has aged, so to has early adopters attitude about what is appropriate or expected to wear to a funeral.

Now, fashionistas in the 21st century, are demanding more out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to fashion.  And it’s not just for RTW (ready to wear).  

One designer who acted on this cultural zeitgeist is menswear designer, Thom Browne. Inspired by an exhibit at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, Browne designed a collection for mourning. From an interview with Vogue, Browne explains his creative direction:

‘I had a notion of how there is respect for people who have passed,’ [...] he came up with a scenario about a character named Michael, a self-contained individual who lives and dies in complete harmony with himself, and is then honored in death by his friends and relatives.”

  Kim Weston Arnold /

Kim Weston Arnold /

See the entire collection on Pinterest (with attributions!). Funerals and memorial services can be some of the most important days of a person’s life. We have all googled “What to wear to [insert event here],” and a funeral is no exception.

Will we see more designers take on the challenge of what to wear when remembering a loved one? We certainly hope so, especially womenswear designers. As the options for funeral and memorial services begin to go beyond cremation or internment, we predict we'll start seeing funeral attire more closely reflect the life of the deceased. We doubt that the Jackie O uniform will be left behind any time soon, but we do expect to see a growing interest in what else is possible.

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