What to Wear to a Funeral: Dressing Your Kids for a Funeral
Although not everyone believes that taking your kids to a funeral is a good idea, there are times and places when it is entirely appropriate. Funerals for family members, for young friends, and for people you knew well often find children in attendance. While kids at funerals come with their own etiquette guidelines (including sitting near the back so you can make a quick exit if they become disruptive and talking about appropriate behavior ahead of time), the concern of this post is to determine what kids should wear to a funeral.
Black clothes for kids aren’t necessary—and they can often be difficult to find. And because the likelihood of them wearing anything you purchase again before they outgrow it is slim, it’s not worthwhile to spend your money on formal funeral attire. Instead, look through their closets to find:
- Suits, slacks, and other wedding or church-friendly attire. If your son has a suit he wears for formal events, by all means, use it for the funeral. However, if you’re like most parents, the most you can hope for is a presentable pair of khakis and a button-up shirt. These are perfectly fine. Dress it up with a clip-on tie if you want to, but don’t worry about the colors unless they’re loud or distracting.
- Dresses that don’t dazzle. Girls often have holiday-like dresses or other sparkly gowns in their closets. Avoid these if you can. It’s better to put a girl in a sensible (and understated) skirt and blouse than to bring out the full party dress. A funeral is less about showing off how formal you can be and more about being quietly respectful in the background.
- Shoes with closed toes and minimal wear. If you purchase anything for your child to wear to a funeral, let it be new shoes. The color doesn’t matter so much as the style of shoes. Avoid scuffed sneakers and worn school shoes, opting instead for something more formal.
- Cardigans and sweaters. Cover up shirts with distracting prints or logos with a sweater or other type of jacket. Because kids should be comfortable, you might find it works best to layer on a jacket or cardigan to present a more put-together appearance.
- Private school attire. Private schools tend to follow a strict dress code of pants (or skirts) in navy or khaki, a button-up or polo shirt, and close-toed shoes. This is a perfect funeral outfit for kids. If your children attend private school, it may be easiest just to pull out these items.
- Clothes that cover their bodies. Shorts, skirts without tights underneath, and t-shirts should be avoided unless the weather is extremely warm. One of the easiest ways to make kids look more formal is to put them in clothes that would be worn to school.
Your child’s behavior will speak much more loudly at the funeral than his or her attire. While what a kid wears to a funeral is important, the focus of your attention should be primarily on ensuring they behave respectfully toward the other mourners.