When most people think of funeral directors, fashion isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
But funeral directors often care a lot about what they wear, and rightfully so. Funeral director fashion means looking professional for the families you serve, while also wearing something practical — they are working, after all.
Here are a few tips for fashionable and functional funeral directors:
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For the Ladies
Don’t skimp on the pantyhose and tights.
If you’re a big fan of wearing skirts and dresses, you may want to invest in a solid pair of pantyhose. Pantyhose have a lot of great qualities — they can prevent chaffing on long, hot days; thicker brands can provide a bit of warmth on cooler days; they make most shoes just a bit more comfortable by preventing rubbing; and so much more.
You can buy cheap hose, but be prepared for the countless snags and runs that are bound to happen. Investing in a better brand can make all the difference.
Bonus Tip: Carry around clear nail polish with you, so that when you do get a snag you can dab a bit on your hose to prevent runs from spreading!
Avoid pencil skirts like the plague.
There are a lot of skirts on the market that look nice and professional, and the pencil skirt is one of the most common in suit sets for women. They look great — but aren’t exactly the most practical for female funeral directors.
Because of the restrictive nature of pencil skirts, it can be hard to walk quickly or bend over, which doesn’t always work out when you’re trying to get from one place to the next and setting up services for families. You just might end up like the unfortunate soul in #7 on this list of crazy funeral stories, who ripped her skirt clean up the middle.
For the Gentlemen
Get a suit that fits like a glove.
Tailoring isn’t cheap, that’s for sure. But in a job like funeral directing, where you move around a lot, having a suit that is too tight and restrictive or too baggy can be a big detriment. Taking your suit to a professional tailor not only means you get a great-looking suit — it also means you get a suit that’s more comfortable and more practical.
Consider an alternate suit for more labor-intensive days.
If your funeral home’s dress code requires suits, consider getting a cheaper suit for days when the work is more labor-intensive, like minor maintenance of the funeral home or first call pickups. It might seem counter-intuitive to get a cheap suit, but, if you aren’t attending a service, it’s unlikely many people will notice and you’ll be able to save your nicer suits from potential tears or stains.
Invest in a nice winter coat (unless you live in a warmer climate).
There will be plenty of times when you will find yourself out in the cold — responding to a first call in the middle of a snowstorm, attending a graveside service in January, you name it. Make sure you have a coat that keeps you warm while also looking professional.
A classic wool peacoat is always a good choice, but if you want to branch out you also can find a nice, sleek trenchcoat or puffer jacket. A nice belt or fur trim also can enhance the look of any professional coat, just be sure not to overdo it.
Don’t be afraid of color.
If you look at the wardrobe of most funeral directors, you’re bound to see a lot of black. And that’s okay — many choose to wear black out of respect for their families, who are mourning their losses. But that doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to nothing but black.
Instead, try other subdued tones like dark greens, blues, and grays to change things up a bit. If you’re spending most of your day doing paperwork, don’t be afraid to try something a little brighter.
If you want to add accessories to your outfit, go for it. There are plenty of ways to spruce up an outfit while still remaining subdued — smaller jewelry pieces; classy scarves, ties, and pocket squares; sharp and professional shoes; you name it.
Just don’t go overboard. For one thing, having too much going on can be a bit impractical. But also, when you’re around families who are there to mourn their loved ones, you don’t want them to feel as though you’re trying to make a fashion statement in a somber environment.
Get comfortable shoes.
You’re on your feet a lot as a funeral director, so unless you want sore feet and back problems all the time, you might want to invest in comfortable shoes. But comfortable doesn’t have to mean ugly — a gel insole can go a long way for dressier shoes.
Bonus Tip: For ladies who love heels, you don’t necessarily have to give them up! Find heels that are a bit shorter or that have a wide heel to improve stability, invest in gel insoles, or even consider heading to a shoemaker who can widen your shoes, add a thicker heel or rubber soles, take boots in, and all sorts of things.
What are some fashion tips you have for staying professional and practical? Let us know in the comments below.