When we die, there’s no doubt that we want to have a great outfit on when we’re buried or cremated, we want to go out in style, after all.
For some people it’s more about fashion and looking suave, for others, it’s all about fancy dress and that one last laugh.
We spoke to Roger Jones, a funeral director at Laurence Jones Funeral Directors in Bebington, to get some insider knowledge on burial attire.
He said: “Most people tend to prefer to have their own clothes, but on occasions where they don’t have their own clothes, or circumstances where own clothes aren’t suitable, we can provide silk dressing gown robes for people.
“It can be a case that they have been poorly and lost weight so none of their clothes fit now, or their family might have thrown their clothes away, so we will provide the silk dressing gown robe.”
But how do you pick an outfit for your own funeral? Well, it’s safe to say that Roger has had a fair few bizarre requests during his 20 years as a funeral director.
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He continued: “It varies in terms of clothes, we’ve had people to be requested in their wedding dress, or even as if they’re going for a night out!”
Those examples aren’t quite as unusual as the request he had a couple of years ago though, as Roger recalls the time somebody requested to be buried dressed as Santa Claus.
“We once had someone who passed away in December and he looked just like Father Christmas, he went into a pub dressed as Santa and all the kids were coming up to him as they thought he was Father Christmas.
“From that he used to raise money dressed as him for children’s charities.
“When he died, he requested to be dressed in his Santa suit and we cremated him on Christmas Eve”
Even on his paperwork for the crematorium, his last occupation was ‘Santa Claus’ – they basically cremated Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
The question is, is it smart or casual for the deceased? Well, it can be either really, according to Roger.
He said: “Some people prefer the comfy option, like everyday average clothes, others prefer the full formal suit like military suits, but we do have to avoid certain things like metal objects, glass and even shoes during cremation.”
It’s not always smooth sailing for funeral directors when it comes to dressing the deceased, they often face certain obstacles like cashmere jumpers and weight gain.
Roger said: “We can get in trouble for things, something like a woollen cashmere jumper can set off emissions higher so that might not be wanted in the crematorium.
“It can also be really difficult when people are particularly heavy, if they give me a suit that someone wore for a wedding three years ago and they’ve put three stone on since then, it’s so difficult.”
In terms of the process of dressing the dead, it usually takes two people usually and they are dressed on the mortuary table before going into the coffin.
“The coffin is always silk lined and when we dress them we put something protective underneath the clothing.”
Don’t worry though, if you want to be buried nude, that’s possible too. Panic over.
Roger continued: “We’ve had people want to be buried in the nude once or twice.
“Someone even wanted to be placed facedown instead of the normal way, so the world could kiss their backside goodbye!”
Although this request might seem odd, nothing is considered strange for funeral directors, it’s all in a good day’s work.
Roger added: “We’ll always do our best to accommodate them and their final wishes. You do get to see a lot of different things and you really do never stop learning with this job.
“The minute you think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t. People are all different.”