Today marks what would have been the 97th birthday of Johh F. Kennedy had he not been assassinated. But he was assassinated, and an entire nation went into mourning.
During this sad time, there was one person everyone watched — one person who, in addition to setting the standard for how to grieve with grace, also had to set the standard for how to look while grieving. Naturally, that person was fashion icon and first lady, Jackie Kennedy.
In a black Halston pill box hat with a matching Oleg Cassini suit, she was understated yet still divine. And the veil added just the perfect touch of privacy while acting as a good shield for smudged make up.
Anyone who’s ever lost someone near and dear to them knows that looking good at a funeral is no easy feat. The waterproof mascara is the easy part. Finding the perfect little black dress or suit — one that communicates respect, dignity and reverence for the dearly departed — can be tricky.
And if you’re a celebrity, just imagine the pressure! Cameras pointed at your tear-streaked face; fashion-bloggers at the ready with their “who-wore-it-better” daggers sharpened. And, how much can you really do with a simple black frock? Just what’s a person to wear when the whole world is watching?
Check out Joan Collins, above, at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. That’s what I call mourning in style! Of course, they aren’t the only ones who have pulled off beauty and grace in the midst of grief. Below are some of our favorite celebrities — and even a couple fictional characters — who’ve managed to stay chic even during the most somber of times.
Amy Adams caused a big ruckus when she inadvertently advertised for Valentino by bringing along her favorite luxury handbag to Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s funeral earlier this year.
Film has also given us plenty of stunning examples of funeral garb. Who could forget Vivien Leigh’s beautiful, grieving Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind? That glorious Lux cameo brooch, that perfectly-coiffed up-do, that collar! How many women have aspired to look that lovely?
Cinema has not been skittish about portraying people in funeral garb. If you take your hint from Four Weddings And a Funeral, you would be reminded that even on a sad day, it’s OK to celebrate the person we’ve lost and let a little bit of our personality shine through!
Looking at all of the photos above, I’m kind of amazed just how different a simple black outfit can look, depending on the person who wears it.
So from now on, when you see that amazing black suit or dress on sale at your local store, or on your favorite website, remember: though no one wants to think about it, dying is part of life. And so are funerals. You gotta wear something! May as well make it something fab.
xo as always,