Who's Wearing the Hat?

January 18, 2024

Keep Your Hat On Ladies!

Have you ever noticed why male funeral directors remove their top hat when they enter a building and the female funeral director doesnt? Its all about hat etiquette.

In our latest article we look at funeral director traditions whilst we acknowledge its National Hat Day!

Hat Etiquette for Ladies

Women have worn hats or head coverings since our early history. Whether having to wear a veil to cover their head and face, then during the 18th and 19th century a hat becoming an outfit accessory - although more into the 20th century, hats become less commonplace.

Why Do Funeral Directors Wear a Top Hat?

Hats have been a mark of elegance and from a funeral perspective, its a sign of respect towards the person who has died and a sign of mourning. The funeral director role is steeped in tradition and history, so many of those aspects still remain today. And wearing a top hat is one of them - it's one of the signs to mourners who the funeral director is. You will see some funeral directors wear them whilst sitting in the hearse, or certainly have it with them at the church or at the crematorium and when they are paging in front of the hearse.

Why Do Male Funeral Directors Remove Their Hat and Female Funeral Directors Keep Them On?

This has come up recently as we are seeing more lady funeral directors nowadays.

The guidance I was given by the experts Lyn Oakes Ltd, a quality tailoring company in the UK (where I had my own funeral director attire handmade and designed as a one off) when I started out as a Funeral Director) that as traditionally ladies would always keep their hats on (as it was part of their outfit rather than an accessory) when in church or during formal occasions -v- the men would always remove their hat, so this tradition remains the same for female and male funeral directors. So I continue with the heritage to women by keeping my top hat on and as a sign of my respect to the deceased- Amanda-Louise Funeral Director
Amanda-Louise Funeral Director Attire designed by Lyn Oakes Ltd for the Traditional Funeral Vibe With a Softer Approach in Navy with Paisley Additions

National Day Hat

We understand this "day" is commemorated as back in 1797 a gentleman kept his top hat on whilst in court and the judge made comment that it was prominent.

What Is Paging the Hearse

This term involves the Funeral Director walking in front of the hearse during the procession into the church grounds (or crematorium grounds) for example or cortege route. They will usually do this when they leave the house (or funeral home) and if they stop during the route ie at an agreed significant place. This is another sign of respect to the deceased, and in Victorian days people would come out to witness the funeral procession, so the funeral director would be there to ensure the onlookers moved to the side to allow the hearse to go by.

When Ive been paging in front of the hearse, it enables me to see ahead of traffic so that I can attempt to control that the procession can keep together -Amanda-Louise Funeral Director

Why Do Funeral Directors Carry A Cane?

As you would expect another element steeped in history and tradition. Its a symbol that shows who is in charge of the proceedings. In Victorian days the funeral director would not only use the cane as part of the etiquette of their "uniform" but as a way to make people to move out of the way for the coffin to be conveyed. Its also known that in the 19th century, a person who was 'mute' would look very mournful and stand guard holding a stick at the deceased's house to show that a death had taken place.

Today, its less common to see a funeral director with a cane, unless it is a traditional funeral.

Changing Face of Funerals

Today funerals can be seen as a way to express the very essence of the person who has died in their last passage in life, and for some, its to view this as a "celebration of their life". Compared to years ago, people have so much choice in how they want a funeral to look and feel from music and visual tributes, what colour preference to wear and even what location of the funeral.

But for the funeral director, their role prominently remains the same so does their attire. As to hats on or off, its likely to be a personal preference.

Amanda-Louise Funeral Director Christy's Top Hat With a Christmas Addition

Here at Amanda-Louise Funeral Director Services our approach appeals to all funeral types including traditional, modern, contemporary and natural. That means we adjust our attire to match the tone and style that our families want from their funeral; so whether that's full traditional to our smart dresses.

Here at Amanda-Louise Funeral Directors, we adapt our attire to the tone and style of the funeral. From traditional funeral director attire to the more relaxed smart dress

Our emotional wellbeing, support and grief counseling can give you the help and counselling you need to deal with the loss of loved one. Our focus is on helping you every step of the way providing wrap around care before, during and after the funeral.

Emotional support & councilling

We offer emotional support & grief counseling as part of our service

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