Funeral Attire Dos and Don’ts
Knowing what to wear to a funeral can be an added stress when you’re already grieving the loss of a loved one—especially if you don’t have the time or money to shop for a new outfit. For a quick and easy look at funeral attire tips, we’ve outlined some of the biggest dos and don’ts.
Funeral Attire DOs
- DO look for neutral colors. Blue, black, grey, beige, khaki, brown—the more neutrals you can find to wear, the better.
- DO stick to slightly upscale, formal attire. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie, but be sure you consider the overall appearance you present. If you wouldn’t wear it to a job interview or church, don’t wear it to a funeral.
- DO accessorize in keeping with your personality and the ceremony. Many people are afraid to wear jewelry or scarves to a funeral service, but don’t be so afraid of causing offense that you forget who you are. As long as your accessories aren’t causing a distraction or making excessive noise, they should be all right.
- DO dress for comfort. You most likely have a long day ahead of you—in addition to the emotional strain of the funeral, you might need to do some walking at the cemetery or be on your feet for hours afterward as you help the family clean up. Wear comfortable shoes and make sure you have breathable fabrics.
- DO consider layers. A great way to make your outfit more (or less) formal is to wear layers. A suit jacket or cardigan can quickly dress up an outfit, and you can take them off if things get too warm.
- DO take your personal relationship with the deceased into account. If you were very close to the deceased and there’s an item of clothing that has special meaning for you, feel free to wear it—and do so with pride. It’s less important to “get things right” than it is to grieve in a way that feels right for you.
- DO shop in your own closet. Buying new clothes for a funeral is fine if you’re willing to spend the money, but don’t feel like you have to. Most people can pull something together from what they currently have in their wardrobes.
Funeral Attire DON’Ts
- DON’T draw attention to yourself. The focus of the funeral is on the deceased and his/her immediate family. Don’t wear anything distracting or that makes you stand out from the crowd.
- DON’T wear all black unless specifically requested. These days, you’re much more likely to look out of place if you have to stretch to wear all black (as opposed to wearing something better suited to you and in a neutral color).
- DON’T fuss with your clothes. Anything that you have to regularly tug or adjust—or clothes that make you itch—is going to end up being more distracting, and is therefore better left at home.
- DON’T wear bright patterns or playful prints. Color is fine as long as it’s subdued and in keeping with the tone of the event, but leave the polka dots and bright paisley at home.
- DON’T forget where you’ll be walking. High heels can sink into the grass at a cemetery. Combat boots can make quite a bit of noise walking down a church aisle. Always keep your destination in mind when choosing footwear.
- DON’T stress too much about what to wear to a funeral. Presenting yourself appropriately is always important, but it’s not more important than the fact that you’re there and prepared to offer your support. Your lack of the “right” funeral clothes should never stop you from attending.