Clothing the dead – it takes some unique tailoring to make garments look good on someone who’s lying down. Funeral directors and morticians also have the challenge of dressing someone who can’t move his or her body!
A.R.K. Garment Company has been in the business of manufacturing burial garments since 1928. The name comes from the last name initials of the three founders – Akerman, Rickman and Komer. Owner Tom Bearman’s grandfather bought out the other two partners, and it has been a family owned and managed business since.
The men’s suits are designed with stylish comfort in mind. They look like store-bought suits, but the jackets have larger than normal arm holes, to make it easier to slip it onto a man who is lying on his back (a supine position).
There are pants that go with the suit, although you don’t see them in this picture. The pants have a drawstring top, rather than a zipper.
“This suit wouldn’t look right on a man who’s standing or sitting,” explained Bearman. “It’s designed to lay flat and look good.”
The ladies dresses also have subtle differences to make it easier for the funeral director to dress the deceased.
If you turned these dresses around, you would notice while the skirt of the dress is intact, there’s a very long slit down the back. This allows the mortician to dress the dead by sliding the dress up over the legs, then gently slip each arm into the sleeves. The edges are tucked under the body and the dress hooks closed at the top. No one can see the opening up the back. Brilliant!
Funeral homes can offer to clothe the deceased with these types of garments, for a price, if the family doesn’t provide an outfit.
A.R.K. Garment Company is based in St. Louis, MO. They don’t yet have a website – they do business the old school way! Call them on the phone if you want to know more – 1-800-325-1007 (at least it’s a toll free number).