5 Things to Do With Funeral Clothes (After the Funeral)

After the funeral is over, now what? That's a big question, but let's start with one simple thing: what you wore, and what to do with it.

You put great thought into your funeral or memorial attire, wanting to show the appropriate level of mourning and respect, but you may not wish to continue wearing something that commemorates one of the saddest days of your life. So instead of holding onto something that you may not want to wear or see again, turn it into art, into an act of kindness, or into a new memory.

Donate them to your local shelter

Funerals and wakes tend to be more formal occasions, themselves to conservative style choices. While these styles are a thoughtful way to honor someone we respect, they are often also exactly the kinds of items needed by vulnerable men and women re-entering the workforce. Whether it's your LBD, suiting or blazers, or even just a simple cardigan, these pieces can help someone who needs clean and professional attire for an interview or new job - and can help turn your heartbreak into something positive.

 

PAY THEM FORWARD

Grief skips no one. Your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances may all eventually have their own funerals to attend, and may be scrambling to figure out what to wear. One simple way to help is to gift them your funeral garb. It will give new purpose to something you may no longer want to wear, and will be one less decision they will need to think about. A personalized letter or a favorite book, quote, or song are thoughtful items to include with your gift.

 

MAKE ART

Grief is often about finding - or creating - beauty out of darkness, and art is one of the ways we can do this. Inspired by Spencer Merolla's Funeral Clothes Project, you can create your own expression or quilt or meaningful piece. And if you're not finding your own inspiration, you can send her your funeral clothes to be transformed into a unique piece of art. 

 

CREATE A PLEASANT MEMORY

It may not be practical or even desirable to dispose of your wardrobe, so instead you can simply re-brand it. Whatever you wore to the funeral, make a point to wear it somewhere special, somewhere fun, or somewhere meaningful. Plan a trip or experience you've always wanted to do, or choose to wear it to your happier events. Do it piece by piece or all together. Fill these items with wonderful new memories, turning the funeral into just one small piece woven into the story of your clothing.

 

CREATE A capsule

Funerals can often mark a defining moment in a tangible way: there is the before, and the after. Who you are and what your life is like on either side can be drastically different. You may want to create a special box or storage space for the things you want to save: memorabilia, mementos, pictures, letters, and even your funeral clothes. Revisit when you are ready (maybe in a year, maybe five, maybe never), and then decide if you are ready to reintegrate them back into your closet or pass them along (and you may not be ready for either, and that's okay). 

 

What did you do with your funeral clothes or memorial attire?