sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead in That! 9 Tips to Help You Pick Your Last Outfit

By Jane Duncan Rogers November 17, 2023 Lifestyle

“I wouldn’t be caught dead in that!” This is such a common phrase, even if we just think it to ourselves, rather than say it out loud.

Usually, it’s an invitation, if mentioned at all, to discuss what it is about someone else’s choice of clothes that is provoking such a strong reaction.

But I want to point you in another direction, by asking what WOULD you be caught dead in? In other words, what outfit would be your number one choice when you go to meet your maker?

All bodies have to be covered, regardless of whether they are going to be buried, cremated, or disposed of in another way. So even if it is going to go up in flames, why not choose to have your body go into the incinerator in style?

To help you contemplate what your deathstyle statement might be, here’s a few hints about how – and why – to make a dead good choice.

Decide You Are Going to Decide

Don’t leave the decision about your last outfit up to your family. Research has shown that 1 in 4 people wish they had known what their family member had wanted before they died.

When you think about it, would you leave it up to someone else to choose your clothes while you are alive? No! At least, not usually. So, why do it when you are dead?

Leave Clear Instructions

Knowing your wisheslessens the possibility of arguments. You may think that your family would be the last to argue about your burial clothes, but here’s what happened in Ken’s family:

“I was quite clear that our Mother had wanted to be buried in her nightdress, but my father assured me she had said to him in her last few days that she wanted her best dress to be put on her body. And my sister thought both were not right; according to her, our Mother had told her she wanted to be dressed in her artist overalls. We had a very tense time trying to reach an agreement that all were happy with.”

Familiar Clothes Help the Grieving

A dead body is not so often seen these days. If you wish to have an open coffin, however, or for someone in the family to dress the body, or just to imagine what the body is dressed in, even if the funeral director does that job, then you deciding in advance of your death really helps.

This applies to perfume or aftershave, as well as make-up.

Choose Something That Expresses Your Personality

Familiar items can bring comfort. President George W Bush apparently wore grey novelty socks, Marilyn Monroe wore a favourite dress in bright green, and Michael Jackson was in full stage costume, including a wig, make-up and the iconic white gloves.

You Can Choose a Funeral Gown

Indicate if you want a funeral gown supplied by a funeral director. Many have a choice of gowns or robes – this can be a way around possible family disagreements.

The Clothes Can Represent the Type of Service

Choose clothes that will reflect the service you want. This provides a sense of continuity, an extension of your personality, and further comfort to the bereaved.

Loose Clothing Is Much Easier to Put on

Frankly, whoever is dressing the body faces a challenge as it is lying down and is much more difficult to dress.

If it’s a member of your family who will do this, then make their life easier by choosing a loose-fitting garment. Don’t choose leggings or anything that might have been hard to put on even while you were alive!

Choose Something You Have Made, or Was Made for You

My husband told me he wanted to be buried in his dressing gown. Why? Because I had made it for him. I was very touched, and it made a huge difference to me when I told the funeral director what was to happen.

Have What YOU Want

If you can’t do something while you’re alive, your death just might allow for it. It’s not unknown for people to choose superhero costumes, bikers’ leathers, and even wedding dresses.

Whatever kind of death service you choose, it’s best to take things in your hands prior to the event. I hope you find the above dress tips helpful.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What outfit do you want to wear at your death service? Have you thought about it? Would you choose something meaningful or something convenient? Have you seen any outrageous death outfits during funerals? Please share with our community!

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Oh my. I never ever thought of my or husband’s burial clothes. If I am being cremated I don’t think they dress the deceased. Or I could be wrong. I better find out. Thank you for this thought provoking discussion.

Jane Duncan Rogers

Yes Jeannette – you will usually be asked what you want the body dressed in. So it’s a really good idea to know beforehand!

Ciara Roots

With more people choosing cremation, green burial, and other types of non-traditional end-of-life options, this won’t be a big challenge for many. I’m either going to be part of a forensic site, where scientists study the decomposition of bodies, or have a green burial, where I’ll be wrapped in something that decompose naturally. I am leaving explicit instructions that there is to be no visitation and no funeral–just get me in the ground ASAP and move on!

Diane Young

I am having a “green” burial. I will be wrapped in a shroud and put into the earth to become compost. A tree will be planted above me. So no funeral dress for me. I don’t like the idea of using a lot of fossil fuel for a cremation and the expense of a coffin is just too much. My burial is alread paid for so there will be no arguments when I’m gone.

Jane Duncan Rogers

Great you are so organised Diane! Your family/friends will be very grateful


I’m glad you brought this up…I’ve never thought about what I would choose to wear as my last outfit. I’m sure this would be an interesting discussion among a group of friends or family.
A friend of mine buried her husband in his overalls and flannel shirt with his glasses tucked in his front shirt pocket because she and her sons wanted to remember him as he looked every day of his over sixty years. They even tucked a bit of straw from the barn into his casket. He looked so peaceful and natural.

Jane Duncan Rogers

That sounds so lovely! And yes, to an interesting discussion! You might want to check out the app for an end of life planning party at our sister site, It will help with that kind of thing

The Author

Jane Duncan Rogers, author of Before I Go: The Essential Guide to Creating a Good End of Life Plan, is founder of not-for-profit They run an online Licensed End of Life Plan Facilitators training program, and provide products and courses to help people make a good end of life plan.

You Might Also Like