It’s funeral time.
The bad news has already been given to you. Needless to say, sorry for your loss. Since the funeral is coming up, you’re likely considering what to wear. Before determining what you want to wear, consider the venue, climate and culture of the funeral you’re attending as it will influence your outfit.
As a rule of thumb, it is always more appropriate to wear conservative clothing at a funeral. While it isn’t always necessary to wear black clothing at a funeral, dressing respectfully is a must. After all, you’re commemorating someone’s passing, you should honour that in the way you dress. This means not wearing apparel that is too revealing, bright, distracting or flashy.
After those general rules, it is really up to you to determine what the best clothes are based on the friends and family attending, climate of the funeral location and the venue. Some funerals are very laidback while others are extremely formal, dress to suit the culture.
To help you select an outfit, below is a list of funeral appropriate clothes you could wear to a funeral:
1. Business Clothes
Clothes that you would wear to a professional, serious business meeting or job interview are also appropriate for funerals, particularly if they will be more formal in nature. A suit, dress skirt, dress pants, blazer or dress shirt are a few articles of clothing that could work for this look.
Business clothes work for both men and women. Again, think of how you would dress for a serious business meeting or job interview and do the same for the funeral.
Be sure to wear dark or solid colour business clothes to be safe. Avoid colorful or patterned business clothes as they can be distracting and inappropriate to others at the funeral.
2. Casual Clothes
If the funeral you’re attending is going to be more casual, you likely could get away with wearing casual clothes instead of business clothes. Funeral appropriate clothes for women are skirts, trousers, blouses and sweaters. Women should avoid wearing mini skirts, low cut shirts or sweaters, jeans and leggings as these articles of clothing are too laid back for a funeral setting.
Men who want to dress casually for funerals can wear clothing such as slacks, trousers, collared shirts and sports jackets. Sweatpants, tank tops, short sleeve shirts and jeans should be avoided at funerals. In addition, shirts with writing should not be worn either. As with everything else, casual clothes should be neutral and dark in colour for the funeral.
For women, flats or pumps are the best option for shoes because they’re dressy yet not too showy. Sandals or open toed shoes may be acceptable depending on the climate, atmosphere and venue. Women shouldn’t wear stilettos or other shoes that are very high, these can appear to be too sexy and may draw attention to you.
As for men, dress shoes, loafers or any other casual dress shoe is appropriate. It is best to avoid wearing sneakers as they can appear to be too laid back for a funeral setting.
The appearance of your shoes, regardless of male or female, should be neutral and plain. Some colour is okay with shoes, so long as it is not too distracting or bold.
Some people choose to wear hats to funerals, although, it definitely depends on the culture of the funeral. Also, hats are more appropriate for outdoor funerals, especially if it will be sunny.
For men, baseball caps should not be worn as they are rarely acceptable at funerals. As for women, sun hats or formal headwear are appropriate, just be sure that your appearance doesn’t look overly casual or sporty.
5. Jewellery and Accessories
Wearing some jewelry to a funeral is okay, so long as it is not too glitzy or flashy. Big, statement jewelry pieces should be avoided but small, dainty jewelry is okay.
As for other accessories, sunglasses, scarves, gloves among other accessories are all okay. It is difficult to say what you can and can’t wear to a funeral in terms of accessories. Simply remember to use accessories that are suitable for the funeral’s venue, culture and climate.
There are some exceptions to the funeral wear discussed above. It is appropriate to wear a military uniform for a veteran’s funeral. Also, certain funerals are religious and require specific styles of dress. Whatever the religious funeral guidelines are, you should be sure to follow them so as not to offend anyone at the funeral.
Other than these exceptions, some funeral organizers request that you wear lively, upbeat clothing to celebrate life, as opposed to death. There may be other specific requests, whatever they are, you should abide by their wishes to be respectful.