Preceding the loss of a loved one, many questions arise. One such question may be what should be worn to their funeral to portray dignity and respect for the life they lived and legacy they left behind. Let this article alleviate some of your stress by providing some tips on what to wear to such an event.
A funeral is the time to honor the life of the deceased, and dress respectfully to reflect that. When it comes to attire, you want to dress appropriately: as expected, you probably know that most people wear black to funerals, but there are other important things to consider. For women, avoid short skirts and dresses. A simple dress that covers your shoulders and knees is perfect. Strongly consider waterproof mascara or none at all. Aim for tops with a high neckline. Not a dress fan? That’s fine too - find appropriate dress pants (not jeans!) and a classy top blouse or sweater. No need to get fancy, go with your instinct as to what’s appropriate- if you wouldn’t wear it to an interview, don’t wear it to a funeral.
For men, a conventional suit with collared shirt and tie would be considered fitting for the event- if you don’t have a suit, you could also consider dark colored dress slacks with a collared shirt or subdued sweater. Always wear dress shoes or loafers - not sneakers!
When it comes to basics, you can never go wrong with black. In fact; it is black clothes that have been traditionally worn for the mourners of a funeral service. If you don’t readily have a piece of clothing that is black, that’s ok - just stick with dark colors and avoid loud colors or busy patterns. A funeral is not the time to stand out or make a fashion statement; it is the time to show respect. If you are not able to procure an appropriate black outfit, dark blue, grey, or brown would be adequate as well.
Other considerations to take in figuring out your outfit is accessories. For both women, and men, don’t wear too much jewelry to a service; a classy watch, understated necklace or wedding jewelry would be fine, but you want to avoid anything flashy. Also for those that carry a purse, try to bring one that is in a dark color as well- remember the purpose of an outfit for a funeral is to not stand out, and just be respectful and modest.
Children can loosely follow these suggestions as well. Have them wear dark, subdued colors, but at the same time make sure they are comfortable and dressed appropriately for the weather.
In a time where you will be experiencing a wide range of emotions, it is best to dress comfortably, while still being conservative. A funeral involves a lot of walking, standing, and sitting, thus comfortable shoes would be beneficial. Try to aim for closed toe low heels, flats or shoes - high heels may get stuck in the ground during burial, or other activities that could take place outside.
Also consider the weather when planning your outfit. If the burial is taking place right after the ceremony , try to plan what you will need- if it’s cold bring a dark colored jacket, hat, or gloves; you can never go wrong with a dark, classic wool coat. If it’s summer, and the weather is forecast to be warm, bring sunglasses and wear sunscreen.
Consider the Service
Due to the type of service, you may need to make adjustments to your outfit. If you will be attending a military funeral, and are a member of the armed forces, by all means, wear your uniform. If you will be attending the funeral of a different culture, it may be appropriate to wear something specific - don’t be afraid to reach out to a family spokesperson to see what is expected.
Don’t put too much worry into what you need to wear. As long as you are respectful, with attention to being considerate, you’ll be just fine. Also don’t stress about running out and spending a bunch of money to get a new outfit - buying one or two items is fine, but you won’t need a whole new wardrobe. Consider thrift stores, or borrowing items from a friend to keep your costs down. And please don’t hesitate to contact us - we would be more than happy to offer suggestions about what to wear, or answer questions about general funeral etiquette.