Difference in how bodies are dressed


6 years, 9 months ago

I’m in the process of costuming a film where part of the action takes place in a funeral home where bodies are in caskets. I e-mailed a funeral director I’m acquainted with about how the bodies are dressed and he wrote this:

“There are two major trends in how people are dressed. First, older people are far more likely to be wearing formal outfits like suits or dresses than those who die before they’re about 40. Young people are generally buried wearing casual clothing. Second, shoes and other foot coverings are far more likely to be brought if the deceased is male. Most women are buried barefoot regardless of outfit, but very few men are. So a blouse, jeans, and bare feet would be realistic for a woman in her twenties and a suit with polished shoes for a man in his seventies.”

Does this seem accurate? I’ve never really given this much thought. I’m a girl, and I suppose I’d rather be barefoot if my family insisted on burying me in a ridiculous plush casket.

Jennifer Lane
6 years, 9 months ago

You got a pretty good answer from your funeral director friend, but the barefoot part is something people rarely think of because you don’t usually see the deceased person’s feet. For your film, I would guess you are showing half couch caskets (half the lid is open where the person is visible from the head to about waist or hips, while legs and feet are covered under the closed half of the lid.) Footwear or lack of wouldn’t matter in this case.

I would say it may also be regional and/or cultural as I’ve never heard of the “rule” that women are almost always barefoot. I do suppose that may be more the case with younger women. It may also be that women have more shoes to choose from and that complicates the family’s decision at a really bad time to be making decisions. The attire (suit vs. casual) is most definitely getting away from the old traditional suit/tie and dress. Since funerals are a celebration of life, the deceased really should be dressed to reflect their personality. That even means overalls for that 70 year old man who would never wear a suit.

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