How to Wear Color to a Funeral
Not everybody loves the idea of a funeral filled with a sea of guests and loved ones in deep, dark black attire. Although black is the traditional color of mourning and shows your respect for the deceased, it also bestows a heavier tone to the proceedings. It can feel oppressive for everyone to show up all in one color, especially if the funeral is going to be non-traditional or is being held for someone who was young or especially vibrant in life.
Some families will request that guests wear a certain color in honor of the deceased. Others will follow etiquette and ask that you stick to traditional black. For the most part, the general rule is that you should stick to neutral tones that do not draw attention to yourself.
So, what should you do if you would like to add a dash of color to your outfit? Is it okay to flaunt tradition and show up in hot pink? Although every family (and funeral) is different, here are a few ways to incorporate color into a funeral outfit.
- Always respect the family first. As much as you might like to show your love of the deceased in a big, bold way, it is best to adhere to any requests or rules the family makes. A funeral is more for their sake than for the deceased’s, and to cause offense during this difficult time is not only rude—it’s cruel. If you must add color, wear it underneath your more traditional funeral clothes. For example, a playful pair of socks or an undershirt in neon green will go unnoticed but may still bring comfort to you.
- Wear layers. If the deceased loved purple, there is no need to walk into a funeral wearnig a monochrome suit of violet fabric. Instead, wear a more traditional pair of slacks and coat, and add a pop of color with your shirt or tie. Women can wear a bright floral dress but throw a darker cardigan over the top. By wearing layers, you can add color while still respecting the traditions.
- Consider color meanings. Red is a powerful, aggressive color. Yellow is bright and intellectual. Orange tends to be associated with friendliness and happiness. Before you choose any color to wear to a funeral, consider what sort of message or mood it conveys.
- Accessorize. One of the best (and easiest and cheapest) ways to incorporate color in your funeral attire is to add a colorful accessory. Brighten the mood of a somber black dress with a jewelled belt that catches the sunlight. Add a paisley pocket square or scarf. Pair red shoes with more traditional gray attire or put a butterfly clip in your hair. Consider wearing a flower in a color of your choosing. These small gestures won’t stand out in a crowd, but they will help you feel more like yourself, which will be important at a difficult time.
- Bring a change of clothes. If you cannot fathom the idea of wearing black all day, or if there will be a less formal gathering of friends after the funeral, simply pack a change clothes. Once the funeral and/or memorial service is over, you can slip into something more comfortable. This will allow you to respect the traditions while also mourning in your own way.