A: What a wonderful idea to celebrate her at an obviously difficult time. I've never enjoyed black for funerals. I guess I look for any small way to express joy for the person's life. Sometimes dark clothing is the only appropriate option but in this case, where you've agreed as a family to strike out from the norm, I definitely see your dilemma. Sticking with an overall conservative ensemble will still be the most respectful of the occasion but here are a couple of options to complete your look.
1. Something that was her favorite. Is there a dress, blouse or skirt she always loved on you? If it's conservative, pair it with a neutral piece and a piece of jewelry she gifted you.
2. Something you bought together or matching. We're not talking those matching Tweedle-Dee/Tweedle-Dum t-shirts here, but maybe there's a nice dress, etc. that you both loved so much you each bought one.
3. Something in her favorite color or her favorite color on you. Maybe she always loved it when you wore yellow, even though it was a big fashion step for you.
4. Something she made you. Many people today make their own jewelry and other accessories nowadays. Do you have a piece or two she did for you? Choose a neutral ensemble that will really showcase that item.
5. If all else fails, choose a conservative outfit that flatters you, and accessorize with her favorite flower. And think outside the lapel! Flowers will look beautiful and elegant in your hair or on a simple ribbon choker around your neck. Even the retro wrist corsage is a chic option.
As a side note for those attending funerals but who aren't related to the deceased, take your cue for appropriate attire from the family. Start by researching the religious and cultural systems of the bereaved family. For example, Korean's wear white to funerals. Buddhists frown on red. Hindu's wear white if you're a member of the family, otherwise you should wear dark colors. Many customs, including Jewish, require women, men or both to cover their heads so bring a conservative scarf, just in case.
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Here's another great question we received!
Q: Help! I have a funeral to attend but I don't want to wear black. My sister passed away after a lifetime of battling illness. Our family wants to celebrate her many victories, instead of mourning in dark clothes. What in the world do I choose that will be appropriate?