Why we look smart
The dress code across many professions has certainly become more casual over the years and, since lockdown, a lot of people have abandoned their suits and smart attire for more comfortable clothes.
However, a profession that has remained smart is the funeral one; here at Tester & Jones we make sure that our bearers and anyone from our team attending a service is dressed smartly and we tend to be smart in the office too. While there are some funeral directors who have taken a more casual approach, we feel that it remains respectful to be well turned out. Generally, families still expect it – even if they have requested that guests dress casually.
Look deeper and there is a psychology behind dressing well, according to an article on the ‘Working Frocks’ website, people are judged on what they wear. As Oscar Wilde said: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”
The article says: Succinctly he [Oscar Wilde] highlighted that how you present yourself says more about you than your title or your job description. The psychology of dressing well is a two-part process. Firstly, it is personal, how we dress is a general indication of how we feel about ourselves. Secondly in its broader context it is a way in which others evaluate us.
We would agree that it isn’t just about how we look to mourners. When we put on our ‘funeral attire’ we feel a little more confident and comfortable in our role – it is part of our ‘becoming a funeral director’. It is unlikely that any of our team would feel ‘right’ conducting a funeral wearing more casual attire.
On the other hand, we know that seeing our team ‘properly dressed’ usually puts mourners at ease to a certain extent and assured that somebody is there to ‘direct proceedings’.
The tradition of smart dress dates back to Victorian times, when funeral processions could be extremely grand, accompanied by horses wearing huge plumes. That said, here at Tester & Jones, we don’t wear the top hats which our predecessors would most possibly have done in the past.