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Funeral Services, Writing a Eulogy  

What to Wear to a Funeral

Written By Lastly.com
Wondering what to wear to a funeral?
What should you avoid wearing?
Need to find a few funeral outfit ideas?


Not sure what to wear to a funeral? Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been to a funeral. Fortunately, most people don’t have to attend a funeral, memorial service or burial very often. But when you do, you’ll want to be dressed appropriately and respectfully in order to pay your respects.

We do acknowledge that there may be some differences in what to wear to a funeral depending on the region or religious faith. For example, some Asian cultures prefer white attire and in some African cultures request mourners to wear red and black.

Depending on culture and beliefs, there may also be some differences in behavior or tradition that is expected at a funeral or memorial service. For example, you may be asked to wear a Yarmulke at a Jewish funeral (typically provided for those who may not have one) or remove your shoes when entering a mosque for a Muslim funeral.


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For the purposes of this article, our suggestions should cover the necessary attire for most traditional funerals. If you are not sure about what to wear due to the deceased’s faith or for any other reason, you may want to contact the funeral director, family member or friend to be sure you meet the appropriate dress code or funeral etiquette.


Best Men’s Outfits for a Funeral

Men, it’s best to keep it simple for traditional funeral attire. For most funerals, black and white men’s attire is the most appropriate color combination. Unless you have been notified of specific clothing preferences to honor the deceased, it’s best to wear a suit in a color of morning: black, gray or dark blue. Stick with a white, collared, button-down shirt (buttoned up); a solid, dark-colored necktie or bowtie; dress socks that match your suit color; and a nice belt and pair of dress shoes—either black (preferred) or brown. If you don’t own a suit, then a nice pair of dark-colored dress pants with a dark sweater over a collared shirt may also be acceptable—and accessorized sparingly.


Best Women’s Outfits for a Funeral

When it comes to funeral attire for women, you have a few more choices. You can opt for a professional-looking, solid-colored dress, a skirt and blouse (with or without a blazer) or a pant suit (with or without a jacket). Select clothing in dark shades. (Again, black, gray, and navy blue are preferred.) A dark suit/skirt with a neutral-colored blouse is also acceptable. A dark-colored skirt or dress with a small, understated pattern (such as pinstripes) can also be acceptable.

We also recommend wearing comfortable shoes. You’ll be sitting, standing, and walking, so you’ll want to be comfortable. And if you are attending a graveside service and will be walking in the grass, you’ll want to avoid wearing heels.


Funeral Attire for Children

Appropriate funeral clothes or memorial service attire can be a little more relaxed for children. Boys should wear a suit and girls should wear a dress. Dark colors or combinations of dark and neutral are acceptable.


How NOT to Dress at a Funeral or Memorial Service

We’ve covered what you should wear when attending a funeral. But what about clothing to avoid wearing to a memorial service or funeral? The biggest rule of thumb is not to underdress. If you’re not sure, you’ll always feel more comfortable having overdressed than wearing jeans when everyone else is wearing suits. The clothing you wear to a funeral or memorial service should be a way of showing respect and expressing grief.  The exception here would be a Celebration of Life where guests might be expected to dress a certain way in order to honour the wishes of the deceased.  An example would be dressing casually to meet at the favorite pub of the deceased in order to raise a toast to the wonderful life of a close friend.

Guys, if you have an aversion to dressing up, it’s probably best to save any casual wear for another occasion. That means, wearing your “nice” jeans or khaki pants is probably not the best choice. Unless everyone else is wearing jeans, you’ll probably look and feel out of place. It’s also not the time to wear a flashy or trendy tie, socks or shoes. The attention should be on the deceased and his/her grieving loved ones—not on you.

Remember to keep your look simple and tailored, neat and tidy. Avoid wearing a short-sleeved shirt (even in summer), anything with writing on it, and a sports cap. If it’s been a while since you’ve worn that suit hanging in the back of your closet, try it on right away. It may need to be altered (taken in our out) depending on if you’ve gained or lost weight. If your suit needs some adjusting, bring it to a local tailor as soon as possible so that you can have it back in time for the funeral. You’ll want to look your best on that day, and you’ll also want your suit to fit comfortably.

Ladies, it’s best to wear conservative clothing and not anything that’s too revealing. Remember, you are most likely entering a place of worship. So, avoid wearing short skirts and dresses, anything low cut or sleeveless, bold makeup, spandex, tight clothing, and stilettos. Even in the heat of summer, it’s best to keep your shoulders covered. Don’t wear anything that you would wear to a cocktail party. So, avoid bright colors or prints, flashy or noisy jewelry, glittery fabrics, jeans or leggings.


A Few Other Pointers for Men and/or Women

In addition to choosing your wardrobe, you’ll want to take a few extra steps to maintain a polished look during what most are considering a difficult time.

  • Be sure your attire fits you properly well in advance.
  • Anything appropriate for a business meeting or job interview would most likely be appropriate for a funeral.
  • Ensure your clothing is stain free.
  • Iron or steam press all clothing the night before.
  • Shine your shoes the day before.
  • Wear waterproof mascara.
  • Choose plain (non-flashy or non-colorful) sunglasses for outdoor services.
  • Avoid wearing perfumes or scented lotions. (Others may have allergies or sensitivities.)
  • Wear a simple hairstyle.
  • Cover any potentially offensive tattoos.
  • No flipflops, shorts or athletic shoes.
  • Some regions or religions may require ladies to wear a hat.

Repurposing Your Clothes After a Funeral

Wondering what to do with your clothes after a funeral? For both ladies and men, even though your funeral clothes were worn for a somber event, most can be repurposed to wear for a business meeting or job interview. Men, your suits and shoes can be worn again at a wedding celebration as well. You can also mix and match your funeral clothes with other items in your wardrobe to create new, professional looks.


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