Have You Planned Your Burial Outfit?
Tick tock ...
Following the recent death of a 96-year-old royal, certain members of the Gawker staff became fixated on the topic of burial clothing. Bras, in particular. We wondered, was the Queen buried in a bra?
She almost certainly was, and likely a more intense style of bra than any non-royal could imagine, with 24-karat gold pad inserts and jewel-encrusted clasps. It’s very dignified, of course, that the Queen’s earthly breasts will be held aloft into the afterlife, but who, if not her, deserves the freedom of being buried without such restriction? After a lifetime of hosiery and stiff skirt suits and brooches, maybe she would have liked a more relaxed ensemble. A tracksuit, perhaps, with no undergarments at all. Queenie, you’re free.
Personally, I’d rather die than be buried in a bra. Really, I’d like to be cremated, because I’m terrified of being buried alive, but I think an ideal burial outfit is still something “fun” to think about, as a prompt both for small talk and somber reflections on one’s time on earth. Part of me wants to buy a big, poofy Molly Goddard tutu dress now and justify the expense by saying it will also be my burial outfit, making the cost per wear effectively $0. But I think I’d most like to be buried in my black Entireworld sweatpants, my black Entireworld underwear, my white RE/DONE tank top, and the XL “NEW YORK” sweatshirt I bought at the airport once when I was cold. It’s my most comfortable outfit, and I’d like my corpse to exist in coziness while I’m having tea with Kurt Cobain in heaven.
But maybe that’s not your style. To help you think about your ideal burial outfit, here are some other ideas from a few members of the Gawker staff.
Jenny Zhang, features editor, said she would like to be buried in a “big, billowy, shapeless sort of sack dress, one which largely obscures the form of the wearer. I’m talking arms and legs and everything in between.” (This will also be perfect for when she returns as a ghost.) As she transcends her body, Zhang said she would like to also “transcend the notion of even having a body.”
“Under the sack,” she said, “it will not exist. And neither will I. Thank you.”
Leah Finnegan, editor-in-chief, would like to be buried in her pajamas. They are as follows: “Lululemon groove yoga shorts (retired model), old T-shirt with arms cut off.” ZzzzZzzz, I’m sleepy just thinking about it!
Fran Hoepfner, contributing writer, wants to be buried in “something expensive and comfortable,” like this outfit from The Row. “What better time to wear white than when you are literally dead?” she asks, and my only counter is “to a white party held by someone on a Real Housewives franchise.”
“If this outfit is maybe carrying me from one life to another,” Hoepfner said, “I’d like people in the next life to know that I have great taste, but also that I need to be able to stretch out. Also, just because I can’t ‘enjoy’ an outfit on me doesn’t mean my loved ones won’t enjoy seeing me in something out of my normal price point. They’ll say, ‘Oh, wow, she really could pull it off,’ and I think that’s a very hopeful note to die on.” I love that.
The Row Again
The question of what she would like to be buried in caused staff writer Olivia Craighead much emotional distress, and for that I do apologize. Out of respect, I will paste her response in full:
This question is hard for me to answer because I immediately have several other questions, all leading back to me having to really consider what will happen to my mind/body/soul when I die at the respectable age of 91. Is the outfit for other people to see while I am viewed by my loved ones in a nondenominational funeral home? Is it for the comfort of my body as it slowly decomposes six feet under? Is it so I can look good when I enter into the great beyond to be reunited with my loved ones and await the arrival of the ones still living? Do I want to be buried at all, or would I rather my bone dust sit on the mantle in my favorite child’s home, a cumbersome heirloom to be moved from place to place until someone finally gives up and scatters me into the Atlantic Ocean? Are these clothes I own or is the sky the limit? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, so I think the safest route is to say that I would like to be buried head-to-toe in cashmere from The Row, which is both comfortable and chic. If the budget does not allow for it, I’ll settle for Eileen Fisher.
If you put a dollar away every week towards a The Row cashmere burial fund, at your time of death you’ll probably have at least enough for two-thirds of a Ceren coat. Just a thought!
After some thinking, Darcie Wilder, senior social media editor, decided she doesn’t care. “I don’t care,” she said. “It’s not my business. It’s someone else's problem.” Great, agree.
“I’m Muslim, so it’s already decided,” Sarah Hagi, contributing writer, said. “Basically, we get shrouded in all-white cloth and put into a simple, no-frills coffin situation. It’s chill!” Damn, that does sound chill. In response to the prompt asking why she chose this particular burial outfit, Hagi said, “I didn’t choose it hun, Allah did.” And, well — who can argue?
Features writer Claire Carusillo wants her hair half-up and half-down in a claw clip, and she wants to wear a Doen Lovisa nightgown with “enormous high-rise gray underwear.”
“It’s like a sexy send-up of Emily Dickinson, I guess,” Carusillo said, “and I, too, was underappreciated artistically in my lifetime (probably, IDK, I’m 31 and I won’t peak until I’m 42). I don’t care that much about being sexy, especially in death, but the look does sound good, no?” Yes!
Regarding her hairstyle choice, Carusillo said, “I love having a clip in my hair too because of the versatility it brings throughout the day, but I guess I’ll be dead anyway so it doesn’t matter.” And regarding the underwear, “The underwear is because I love big underwear, especially all tucked in like that. I love comfort and luxury, and I won’t be wearing a bra,” she said. “Oh my god, I’m also realizing now this is the exact outfit I wore for all of deep quarantine…” Indeed, good practice for death.
Brandy Jensen, deputy editor, doesn’t care about post-death comfort. “Assuming an open casket, I would like to be buried in a completely extravagant, over-the-top gown,” she said. “The more uncomfortable the better seeing as I will no longer be able to feel anything pinch.” And you really can’t argue with her logic there. If it's a closed casket, she said, “just bury me naked I don't care.”
Goldie Hawn’s Red Dress From Death Becomes Her
In her little coffin, staff writer Tarpley Hitt would like to wear Goldie Hawn’s red dress from Death Becomes Her. Regarding her choice, Hitt said, “She looks fire and is immortal (ignore end of movie).” Talk about dead sexy!
Nude With Dirt and Foam Cowboy Hat
Art director Jack Koloskus wants to be naked (TMI) but “completely covered in dirt (inside the coffin).” He’d also like to be wearing “one of those giant foam cowboy hats.”
“I feel like if you choose to be buried in anything that’s actually meaningful to you, you’re depriving someone that loves you of being able to keep those items of clothing somewhere close so they can take a tearful moment of remembrance one those days when they really miss you,” Koloskus said. “So instead I will give everything important to me to people I love. Except for my giant foam cowboy hat, which is my prized possession, but it would be funny to watch them try to wrangle the hat/casket interaction.”
I agree that it will be funny, and I hope I get an invite.
Comedy Shirt/Regular Suit
“I recently came across a novelty T-shirt that said ‘DEATH IS UNNATURAL; LIVE FOREVER’ accompanied by a sort of crossed-out Grim Reaper,” senior editor George Civeris said. “That would definitely be a conversation starter.”
I agree. And why else? “Well it would be pretty funny,” Civeris said. “I mean, I’d be dead!” Haha, oh yes, it is so important to laugh and have fun. We can only love and support George (a comedian) in his decision to bring comedy to his audience, even in death. “My real answer is a suit,” he added. Oh.