What to Wear to a Funeral

Family at a Funeral
When someone close to you dies, the last thing you want to consider is what you will wear. Funerals can be challenging times for many individuals, and the last thing you want to worry about is your attire. Here, we will provide a comprehensive guide on what to wear to a funeral. We will also offer tips on how to dress appropriately.

What is the Appropriate Clothing for a Funeral?

There is no single answer to this question because funerals vary significantly in their formality. In general, it is always advisable to err on prudence while determining what to dress.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outfit

  • The relationship that you had with the deceased. If you were close to them, you would likely want to dress in a way that shows respect for their memory, which might be more formal.
  • The location of the funeral. You should dress appropriately for that environment if it takes place in a church or another religious setting. You can be slightly less formal in your attire outdoors or in a more casual setting.
  • The weather. If it is hot outside, you will probably want to dress in lighter, more breathable fabrics. If it is cold, you should dress in layers to keep warm.
  • The season. If the funeral is in the summer, you should avoid wearing anything too heavy or hot, whereas, in the winter, you should dress warmly.
  • Your style. Ultimately, you should wear something that makes you feel comfortable and expresses your style. This will help you to feel more confident and at ease during what can be a difficult time.

What Should You Wear to a Funeral That Isn't Black?

While black is the traditional color for funeral attire, it is not always appropriate. If you're attending a funeral for someone close to you, or if the deceased person's family has requested that attendees wear a specific color or style of clothes, it's crucial to honor their desires. In these situations, wearing something other than black can be interpreted as a display of respect Dark shades like blue, grey, and green are also excellent colors to wear to a funeral. However, wearing white in conjunction with other dark tones is appropriate. Above all, remember that a funeral is a solemn occasion. That should be reflected in the way you dress. By following these guidelines, you may ensure that you commemorate the deceased in the most significant way possible.

What Do Men Wear to a Funeral?

Men usually wear dark-colored clothing to funerals, such as black, navy blue, or dark grey. They may also wear a white shirt if it is a traditional funeral. The dress code for men is usually less formal than for women, so that they may wear slacks with a button-down shirt or a sweater. They may also wear closed-toe shoes and avoid flashy jewelry. Men may also choose to wear a tie to a funeral. This is especially prevalent if the man is the deceased's close relative, such as a husband, father, or sibling.

What Do Children Wear to a Funeral?

If you are attending a funeral with young children, it is appropriate for them to wear clothing similar to what adults wear. For boys, this may mean slacks and a button-down shirt or sweater. This may mean a dress or skirt with a blouse or sweater for girls. As with adults, children should avoid wearing flashy jewelry or clothing with offensive images or words.

Types of Funerals and What to Wear

There are many types of funerals, and each one has different dress code requirements. Here is a breakdown of the most common types of funerals and what to wear to each:
  • Traditional Funeral: This is a sad occasion, and the dress code reflects that. Men should dress in a dark suit with a tie, while women should dress in a dark dress or skirt.
  • Non-traditional Funeral: This is less formal than a traditional one, so you have more leeway in what to wear. That said, avoiding anything too casual, like jeans or shorts, is still essential.
  • Cremation: This doesn't have a specific dress code; again, you should avoid anything too casual.
  • Green Funeral: This eco-friendly burial option is becoming increasingly popular. For this type of funeral, it's appropriate to dress in natural fibers like cotton or linen.

What Should I Avoid Wearing to a Funeral?

  • Overly casual clothing, such as jeans, t-shirts, or shorts.
  • Excessively exposed clothing, such as tank tops, mini skirts, or low-cut dresses.
  • Clothing bearing obscene imagery or words.
  • Eye-catching jewelry or apparel.
  • Hat (unless you are a close relative of the deceased)
In general, avoid wearing anything that might make you stand out or appear out of place during a funeral. The purpose is to show respect for the deceased and their family, so dress appropriately.

What if I Am Not Sure What to Wear?

You're not alone if you're unsure what to wear to a funeral. Many individuals are uncertain of funeral etiquette, and it can be challenging to determine what is suitable. Here are some tips to help you choose the appropriate funeral attire:
  • When in doubt, wear black: Black is the traditional funeral color and is always appropriate. If you don't know what else to wear, black is a safe bet.
  • Dress modestly: Funerals are often formal affairs, so dressing conservatively is essential. Stick to basic styles and avoid anything overly exposing or extravagant.
  • Pay attention to the dress code: If the funeral program or invitation specifies a dress code, follow it.
  • Comfort is key: You should ensure that you are comfortable in your clothing. Funerals can be emotional, and you don't want to be distracted by an uncomfortable outfit.
  • Simplicity: Select an outfit that is both simple and elegant. This is not the moment to make a fashion statement; instead, dress respectfully and subtly.
  • Bring a coat: Even if the funeral is happening in the summer, it's a good idea to bring a coat or jacket. Funeral homes can be cool, and you may want to have something to put on if you get cold.
  • Appropriate shoes: Wear shoes that are comfortable and appropriate for the occasion. Avoid flip-flops or other casual footwear, and make sure your shoes won't make too much noise if you need to walk in a quiet place.

What if I Am Not Able to Attend the Funeral?

If you cannot attend the funeral, it is still important to dress respectfully if you attend any related events such as a wake or visitation. This may mean wearing a black dress or skirt with a blouse or sweater for women. This may mean wearing slacks with a button-down shirt or sweater for men. Children should also dress respectfully in clothing similar to what adults wear.

What if I Am Attending a Funeral Outside of My Culture?

It is necessary to dress appropriately per the customs of that culture. For example, if you are attending a Muslim burial, women should wear loose-fitting attire that covers their arms and legs, while males should wear long pants and a shirt.

Conclusion

When determining what to wear to a funeral, it is critical to be courteous and conscious of the occasion. While black is still the traditional color to wear, navy blue or dark gray are also acceptable. Bright colors and patterns should be avoided because they can be distracting. However, wearing white in conjunction with other dark shades is appropriate. If you're unsure what to wear, it's wise to err on caution and dress conservatively.