Unfortunately with our parents' health status, it's much closer than it used to be FIL didn't want to do anything when MIL passed earlier this year, but we will scatter their ashes together when FIL passes. DH and I aren't obviously aging, but watching our parents decline is Awful. No one talks about that bit of middle age.

I definitely have things I could wear, like my RL wrap dresses, but I'd rather not wear them for a funeral. There are always black dresses available on consignment- so I'd just buy something there.

The more that I think about it, in practical ways, the less I feel the need to have something "appropriate " in my wardrobe. My parents have both pre-planned and paid for their final arrangements. Neither will have a funeral. My mom has told us just to go out for a nice dinner, instead. I have a very small family. The only people I am likely to have to go to a funeral for are SoonToBeMrCS's family. I don't keep a lot of darks or basics in my wardrobe, so maybe I will consider adding a few pieces that could work for job interviews and the like moving forward, but definitely not a funeral dress.
Thanks for all of the perspectives and experiences you have shared!

I think having something simple and subdued ready to go is a good idea, and it certainly doesn’t have to be dark/black. I have separates as opposed to a dedicated funeral dress because I live in a 4-season climate and the world seems to be getting more and more casual anyways. Like others, I gave away the dress I wore to my father’s funeral (it was never meant to be a funeral dress…I just couldn’t bring myself to wear it again).

It’s not just our parents’ funerals we have to worry about. Accidents and illness can happen to anyone of any age, and running out to purchase something appropriate for a wake/funeral is stressful or even impossible.

Nodding with gryffin - it might be good to be prepared, regardless of the type of occasion. Especially these days when B&M shopping can be a challenge and online shopping can have unreliable delivery windows.

I haven't been to a regular funeral in quite a while, though several memorials for friends. But I remember wearing a just-below-knee straight black skirt to my grandmother's funeral, with a black button down shirt. My godfather (very religious Catholic) told me I was the only one there dressed correctly. This was in my awkward 20s phase of never feeling like I had the right grownup clothes, so that startled me.

I wish I'd kept that skirt. I went down a few sizes and got rid of it, but it would probably fit now. It was such a useful, boring, but flattering skirt... linen blend from Banana Republic. Of course my whole wardrobe is black, and I have plenty of black slacks and blazers and a few shirt dresses, but nothing quite that proper.

Chewy, thanks for starting this thread! The many helpful comments helped me think through a difficult issue.

Yesterday, I browsed through black dresses on several sites again and checked out sheath dresses (I like that cut on me) https://corporette.com/stylish.....-for-work/ As usual, thinking about the results on me was bad. Sally and others here do a great job with black dresses, and living in Berlin makes me much more open to wearing black than I would otherwise be but still, an all-black dress for me just seems ghastly. Scarves, cardis, whatever—I can’t imagine they’d overcome the effect of full black with my pale skin and dark allergic circles. Also, Idk if sheaths can be separated from the work connotation. The other options seem to be knit/ponte/jersey (too casual), shirt dresses, which I really don’t enjoy wearing, and wrap dresses, which look hilarious on me.

I think what I want to do is find a black suit, either a 3-piece suit or the kind where the jacket is the top & you don’t need a shirt underneath. As much as I seek to avoid the “ladies who lunch” look in general, I think that, not a business suit, is what I want here. When I wear all the pieces together, I don’t want to look like I stopped off to my dad’s funeral on my way to a meeting that’s somehow more important. Also, I can’t imagine a black business suit for any other occasion in my life, but the pieces from a non-businessy suit, particularly if the fabric is slubby silk or jacquard or otherwise interesting, do sound like useful things in the rest of my life. Whether or not I’ll be emotionally able to wear them again afterwards remains to be seen, of course.

I’m really bad at suits. I’m envisioning a skirt suit with a cropped jacket, but then these popped up. I like the Roma and Kana options, but can’t see the difference between the jackets. https://www.tigerofsweden.com/.....v2=Schwarz When I’m ready to buy one, hopefully in a few weeks, I’ll start a thread.

Thanks again for moving me forward on this.

PS on the “be prepared, you don’t know what’s coming” front, I can think of a couple possibilities (including a sister who has a 10-12 hour surgery coming up) where I might suddenly need to go, and then of course there are the surprises that do pop up.

I don't have a special "funeral dress." However, I have several dresses, skirts, blazers, tops, etc. in styles (i.e. midi length, decent neckline, covered shoulders) and colours (i.e. deep purple, grey-blue, teal, grey, deep blue, black) that I consider appropriate for funerals.

Actually, when travelling for a week or longer, I usually bring a couple of those items (plus closed-toe neat footwear and moderate silver or pearl jewellery), just in case ... Luckily, I have seldom had to use them for funerals, but they have often saved my day (or night) when I suddenly got an invitation to an elegant restaurant or needed to attend an important meeting.

A simple short sleeved A line dress - black with white polka dots was my outfit for funerals in the past, and I wore a sleeveless black midi tank dress with a dark blue jean jacket over top to a funeral on a sweltering hot day with really cold a/c at the funeral home (had 24 hours notice and it was a rural setting so the jacket was not out of place.) The funerals I’ve attended in the past 15 years have been in the summer. I’m contemplating an important winter coat purchase and waffling over colours (camel vs black) specifically because of the funeral question - would camel be inappropriate? Should I get the black?

I do have options for funeral outfits in my closet, so wouldn’t be caught flat footed unless there was a special request. DH went to a memorial for a golfing friend last year. Attendees were asked to wear Hawaiian style print shirts. He was able to source a top from his closet.

Carla, I absolutely would wear a camel coat to a funeral. Over a column of dark colors, I think it would be elegant and less harsh than an all-black ensemble.

Carla, I agree with Aquamarine regarding a camel coat. And the colour would be really great with your colouring!

I have a plain black dress in a medium fabric that I have worn to a few funerals.

I went to a Celebration of Life recently where the instructions were "wear your comfiest clothes in your happiest colors," so I wore my fun Free People red dress and it was perfect.

I wore a navy dress to my mom's service because she loved blue, and somehow I never felt like wearing it again so I passed it on to a good home!

My funeral attire is like this-wear black if it is family menber, or someone close. If not anything dark and somber. Always make sure to not wear anything that would stand out, or call attention to yourself.

Come to think of it it would be a bit tricky to pull something appropriate together right now. I have more options in my fall/winter wardrobe simply due to darker, fuller coverage clothing being more dominant for that time of year. In my twenties/early thirties I had a suit my mother bought me that wasn’t black but worked for job interviews, funerals and even a wedding in a pinch - and once I got to that wedding and saw the simply & modestly dressed bride and other guests I was glad I hadn’t worn the red dress I had planned on and learned a lesson about sticking to something neutral and ‘appropriate’ when you don’t know the crowd! The other lesson being that it’s always good to have that neutral back up suit or dress in your closet. However, once in my later thirties and now late 40s I haven’t had or really needed the backup outfit. I live an informal life, have had very few such events to attend and now having a larger and more grown up wardrobe I have been able to pull together appropriate outfits from essential separates.

@ Carla If a somber occasion arises in winter, I will absolutely wear my camel/caramel coat - not black.

Based on my experience, the last thing you will want to do is deal with ANY of this out of necessity. Especially if you end up paying full price for a frumpy ill-fitting outfit.

I think a lot depends on where you live and whether it will be a traditional religious service.

For years I kept a black "funeral skirt" on hand. I wore it to my Dad's funeral with a dark jacket. Can't remember it exactly, but it was one my SIL designed. When my Mom died we had a graveside service because by then almost all her friends and family were gone. I told my sisters I was wearing a pants outfit (black pinstripe as I recall) and one sis was quiet for a moment and then said Great. We all wore pants. It was a cold blustery March day, so it was the right thing.

I posted about my recent memorial service experience. I had the black skirt but no appropriate shoes that fit. I ended up with black pants and a dark subtle patterned cardigan.

I long ago decided for my own funeral I want a champagne brunch with everyone wearing bright colors. I'd better get the word out to those likely to be my survivors.

Other funerals I've worn black on top and a subtle print longish skirt.

I never want to wear pantyhose again, so that will affect what I wear.

I have been to quite a few funerals in the last 10 years but don't have specific funeral outfits and have seen anything from suits to jeans being worn by others. Personally I want to be respectful and for me that is a dark neutral outfit, maybe a print but not too crazy (not that I really wear crazy prints anyway).

When my mom recently passed away, her favorite color was red so we invited guests to wear it in her honor. I was happy that many did, although I don't have red myself and stuck with a red bracelet. It was wonderful to see all the brightly dressed guests and would have made my mom happy.

I’ve concluded that to be in any way prepared for funerals, I must rely on pants outfits and “ what will my feet let me wear ?” for shoes. This approach is reasonable for me since I still have use for dark neutral tailored pants because I mostly wear darker- colored bottoms , love “ real pants” and can dress them down for other wear, and dark shoes for bookending. But, since now retired, I don’t need very many, and can’t rely on items moldering in the closet and not fitting when needed. With dark pants there’s a greater chance that I’ll have SOME kind of good- quality, dark neutral, non- sneaker footwear option my feet will allow- - a loafer , an ankle strap flat, low bootie, or even a plain ballet flat- though not necessarily all the choices at once.
Tops like a few blouses and knitwear tops in dark neutrals and fluid fits have some longevity and having a few doesn’t take up too much room. Toppers may get harder since I don’t need workwear jackets anymore and am moving to more casual in face- flattering colors , but again, a cardigan here or there can work.
Like Janet, I find it hard to wear the same pieces and fabrics year- round in my climate -say July vs January- but pants outfits allow some underlayering.

Wedding attire seems much harder to me because I like dresses ( or skirts/ top combos) for that but find it extremely hard to find them, find it much harder to create happy feet that look how I WANT to look with dresses, and fit in with various seasonal and theme/ venue issues. I would happily wear a dressy pants outfit but it seems harder to create those that look right in different seasons. I may try to give that some more attention, as to how accessories and/ or targeted new purchase ( with weddings one at least usually has months or weeks notice) can work with existing pieces.