Should I wear fragrance to a funeral?
A question was sent to Fragrantica on, “Should I wear fragrance to a funeral?”. This is what they said.
Judging solely on Western, European traditions, a funeral is the formal occasion for our final goodbyes to our loved ones, of paying our respects to those who’ve departed this world – their lives, their achievements – and to those who are left behind in grief and despair. Etiquette usually asks for simple dress and dark colors in quiet designs. Fashion addicts, as well as fragrance addicts alike, may feel robbed of their right to express themselves, but a funeral is about the deceased, not you, or your impeccable sense of style or taste in fragrance.
So don’t – for the sake of occasion.
Memories and fragrances have a way of ingraining into each other. For better, or for worse that is. So are you ready to maybe say goodbye to your lovely bottle of [insert name of expensive-fragrant-unicorn here], because now, every time you smell it, you remember a graveyard, weeping, and grief?
So don’t – for your own fragrance loving sake.
It’s a tough day for family and friends. They are probably going through emotional hell, and trying to muster up all their bravery to not fall apart. Lots of people. Lots of handshakes, lots of hugging. Lots of tears. This situation doesn’t improve any by smelling Coco Mademoiselle, or Sauvage on every other attendee.
So don’t – for the sake of everyone else.
Now that I’ve made my point as to why you shouldn’t wear fragrance to a funeral, let me tell you why one time, I actually did.
The 21st of October marks the passing of my late Grandmother. After bravely facing a battle against cancer, she lost her fight in the early hours of a Tuesday. The birds continued singing like nothing had happened while my world was in chaos, upside down.
No matter how much you think you are prepared for a loved one’s passing, you never are.
Another ten days later I had to attend her funeral. It was a sunny Friday, cranes were circling in the sky, and I was wearing Stella McCartney Stella – not for me, but for my grandmother, because it held a significant and symbolic meaning.
You know how strange and hard it can be to reconnect with someone who used to be very important to you, but then, for whatever reason, you end up estranged? My close-knit family had broken up over a matter of ridiculous unimportance. We didn’t talk to each other for fourteen years.
When I decided to reconcile I didn’t know what to talk about, neither did my grandmother – after fourteen years. I knew how much she loved roses, so I engaged her in small talk about roses, and how new breeds no longer smell like roses.
On my next visit, I brought her several samples of rose fragrances, among them Les Parfums de Rosine Ballerina No 1, Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme, and Stella. Smalltalk turned into conversations, some about fragrances, as well as her extensive travels all over the globe – how she visited Grasse, the smells, the roses, her visits to the labs of Galimard and Molinard (I had never had even the faintest clue that she’d been there). She shared memories with me of her husband, whom she had lost too early, and how she survived the war by mere luck. We delved into her life, far beyond the role of a grandmother, and revealed 86 years of ups and downs, merits and mistakes. Each visit I brought new fragrances for her to smell, and each time she encouraged me to enjoy my love for fragrances and embrace life: “If you like it, if it brings you joy, and you can afford it, go for it, girl!“
We smelled our way through a lot of fragrances, but Stella remained her favourite on me. “It smells like the old English ones I smelled when I was in Great Britain,“ she used to say with a smile every time I wore it. She recollected how all her travel companions used to say, “If you’re looking for Edith, follow the smell of the roses; she is probably sticking her nose into a rose bush.“
The day of the funeral, all the reasons I named for not wearing fragrance prove true. I wore only one spray of Stella, but I perceived it as a lot to handle. Constantly between freezing, and sweating, Stella suddenly bloomed into such an unknown dimension. Nonetheless, I wore it with pride, because my grans had loved it so much. Two weeks later I gave the bottle to a dear friend’s mom, who loves roses as much as my grans did. The good memories attached to it were now overtaken by the sad ones, even to the point where so much as looking at it was sufficient for a bad feeling.
Now, three years later, I think might get another bottle of it, and follow again the rosy footsteps of my grandmother.
If it was you, what would have been your response?. Please share comments below, in the comments section. Thank you