By Marcie Everhart
I’m going to a funeral today for the husband of a beloved great-aunt. It’s a spectacular spring day, with a projected high temperature in the 90s, too beautiful for such sadness.
I once saw in the book Women in Clothes a fascinating map of discarded clothing on the floor as a woman was dressing for a funeral. It was quite a pile as her brain considered the subconscious messages sent by each piece and rejected them as too happy, too formal, too casual, too dramatic and attention-getting, too sexy, etc. There was soooo much mental gymnastics going on.
This task is very easy for me, however, since there isn’t much room or opportunity for creativity. This is pure function, factoring in occasion, weather, and physical need. A short-sleeve, black, simple blouse, a black skirt to hopefully catch a prairie breeze, no high heels that can sink into the grass at the cemetery as you stand for graveside ceremony and additional prayers and comments, and no big handbag. You need to keep your hands free to be ready to give plenty of random hugs, carry food, and help the elderly in and out of cars and pews.
I am planning one small spot of rebellious, outrageous color – a mid-heel sandal in a lime green and fuchsia floral print. The church and cemetery will be overflowing with flowers. I’ll be surrounded by these floral expressions of love and regard. It just feels right, and my family will be fine with it, even probably expect it. Actually, I’m reminded of one of the funniest anecdotes of comedic author Jill Conner Browne of Sweet Potato Queens fame, explaining funerals in the south. She wanted her own deceased body propped up with an audio recording of her voice on loop behind her that said “Cute shoes! How’s your mama? Thanks for coming, ya’ll!”
I recently attended the funeral of a woman who requested everyone wear her favorite color to her services – purple – instead of traditional black. It was glorious. Many of the women went together for purple pedicures and manicures the day before. It was a true testament to her joyous, unique spirit.
Would you wear floral shoes to a funeral? Rules for Dressing seem to have eroded in other areas, but we still do the best we can to uphold them for the serious intentions of funerals and weddings. I may be “eclectic,” but I would never dream of causing offense when the occasions are this important. I think when it comes to funerals, we all just want to get it right.
I’ve worn glasses since I was 3 years old, so I’ve worn every style you can imagine! I find selecting new frames to be one of the hardest things, and many times I flat-out get it wrong. But I think I managed to choose well this time. These are the Ray-Ban 5150, described as “timeless” and “classic.” A fashion headline caught my eye the other day – Tortoise Shell was in this spring! Did it go away for a while?
This lipstick is MAC’s Girl About Town. I think there is overwhelming consensus that MAC does the best lipsticks, period. And although, I don’t wear a lot of eye makeup now, I love lipstick and I love the NAMES of lipsticks even more, truly they’re a pure shot of happiness. For me, and my pale skin tone is pretty problematic, I have identified four basic lipsticks that work: My wine color is MAC’s Whirl, my hot pink is MAC’s Girl About Town, the nude/pale I can manage is MAC’s High Tea, and after much floundering, the bright red I’ve settled upon is Zuzu’s vegan, gluten-free Galaxy.
My small straw Kate Spade bag is a few years old, but this is very similar.
Straw Bag: Kate Spade, Cedar Street Straw Small Maise, $130
Shoe: JC Penney, Worthington Beckwith Heeled Sandals, $30
Blouse: JCPenney, Worthington Short-Sleeve Button-Front Oxford Shirt, in Black, $15
Skirt: Kohls, Apt. 9 Torie Pencil Skirt, $20
Lipstick: MAC, Girl About Town, described as a bright blue fuchsia, $17
Eyeglasses: Ray-Ban Model No. 5150, Tortoise Shell with Black inside (5608), $140
The Real-Real Behind the Scenes
I don’t have a Real-Real photo for this post, but I do have a Real-Real feeling. I love being folded up inside the hugs of my two great-aunts. It feels like…family. They radiate love and acceptance. I want to be just like them when I grow up.
A Little Background Music
The video accompanying this post is a sweet thing I found on youtube…Johnny Cash singing an old gospel tune with his elderly mother accompanying him on the piano. She’s a very tall woman, not surprisingly. You can tell how much he loved having her on stage with him.