While I was attending a memorial service this weekend I walked in behind a woman who I fervently hoped was headed to the bathroom and not into the service. Instead she clomped in and sat down. Clomped? Yes, she was wearing chunky clogs, jeans, a t- shirt adorned with a trendy image and a slouchy back pack. When did funeral services get teen casual? At my mother's own service last year, I saw some astonishing outfits. One woman was wearing camo shorts and a t shirt. Her husband echoed her choice. She wore those trendy velcro excercize shoes. I know that the camo-velcro pair pretty much sticks to couture, and flies in a private jet, so I knew it wasn't because she DIDN'T have a choice. I was irritated by the lack of, yes, class, in the true sense of the word. It shows a lack of respect when you do not dress well for weddings, funerals, Bat Mitzvahs, etc. Another woman had on fishnets, a thigh high dress and sky high stilletos. Really? Was she going clubbing afterwards? Many of the men did not have ties on. I was flabbergasted. One of my dearest friends called me the next day and said: what happened to the dress code? I was reassured, at least that someone besides myself noticed this horrifying spectacle. Would you please give your gracious readers guidance on this.....I keep my funeral garb up prepped and ready with the dedicated heels--it doesn't take too much of an effort.
Oh, dear. Grace and Jackie are doubtless rolling in their graves. Reading your epistle required a deep, cleansing breath followed by a strong, bracing cocktail. I now feel ready to tackle this alarming trend. What are we coming to? Here are some Gracious Guidelines on dressing for ceremonial events:
- Funerals are somber occasions and attire should reflect that. Stick with black, navy, brown, charcoal gray. You can get away with a very dark green, burgundy or deep plum if the overall look is staid as opposed to fanciful (think Laura Bush, not Britney Spears.)
- Any ceremonial event that honors someone else, be it a funeral, wedding, or christening, should focus primarily on the honoree. On such occasions, your attire should not scream "Look at me!". This is not to say that you must fade into the woodwork, but scene-stealing get-ups are out of place when the spotlight should be elsewhere.
- I abhor athletic shoes worn anywhere but a gym, or while actually engaged in, or en route to, the fitness location. (If the camo/velcro couple stopped at the funeral to pay respects to the dear departed on the way out to hunt and hike this does not qualify as "en route". That is a topic for another day.) There is no place for such garb in civilian (and civilized) society.
- Your appearance conveys your respect for the occasion; if you can't summon up the will to don an appropriately formal outfit then your attendance is questionable at best. If such is the case, stay home and send a cordial note instead.
Just for giggles, I thought I'd share this list of Oscar's worst--even people who have staffs of stylists misstep occasionally.....