Last Updated on 2023-09-18 by Linda
A question near and dear to my heart this year. 2023 has seen three funerals already and sadly one more looming. What to wear to a Funeral is often the burning question. In all seriousness it is not about RULES, there are none. It is about dressing to show respect to the family and the occasion.
Fully disclaimer most will tell you dark not bright is a practical approach and NOT casual. BUT and there is a big but it all actually depends. True story my Mom just passed away unexpectedly in June and I wore my Emerald Green suit. It was not dark or dreary but my Mom would have loved it. She never got to see it in person so it was my way of making sure she saw it.
What To Wear to a Funeral
Funerals are personal and you truly have to understand the Family and/or audience if I can be so bold. While there are no rules, you do not want to be the only person wearing the wrong item at such a solemn occasion. Basically what I am getting at it, do you really want to stand out or is the intent to blend in while paying your respects.
Three basic tips to follow when staring at your closet;
- Dress like you’ll be giving a speech to a work or church event or going for an important job interview in a non creative field;
- If you feel your outfit is too festive or casual, it probably is.
- Dress modestly. You’re not going to a party or nightclub, you are not looking for the spotlight.
This simple grey blazer and skirt paired with navy accessories is a great choice for a more formal funeral.
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Options for Funeral Attire
There are three basic ” uniforms” that will always be appropriate, depending on the shading, colour and patterns.
- Dress: A classic dress such as a sheath style, fit and flare, or simple and low-key shift dress is perfect for a funeral. Normally a Navy, Grey or dark Brown or green is perfectly acceptable.
- Classic Shirt paired with Pants or a skirt: You can also wear a classic blouse or sweater with a skirt or dress pants. add a suitable heel or a bootie.
- Suit: A pantsuit or skirt and jacket show respect and are perfect too. Many people will tell you keep it somber but a subtle print is also OK
Again please remember these are general guidelines and your closet and/or situation may not fit this mold.
The look of a navy business pant suit with brown accessories will never be a bad option.
What not to Wear
Getting back to the first tip of importance, you don’t want to be the worst dressed or out of place. Better to be slightly overdressed than totally underdressed. In all seriousness with today’s rules anything is ok but and it’s a big but:
- No rips or tears
- make sure there are no spots/stains or dirt
- no cleavage nor bodycon/skintight dresses
What to try and avoid Wearing for a Funeral
While I do not want to appear too judgemental there are a few items I would recommend not wearing;
- Jeans even if they are black
- Athleisure items
My list is not meant to make one feel inappropriate and honestly if this is all you own then wear it ( and wear it proudly) Just make sure everything is neat and clean. Showing up at a funeral is not about a fashion show it is about showing respect. So while I may tell you there are some items that may be more appropriate, I will also tell you I don’t know what you wore when you came to pay your respects.
The family is not looking at what you have on, they are just so appreciative that you cared enough to pay your respects.
Dark Green in a dress with neutral accessories is a great option.
Is Memorial Service Different?
Memorial Services are typically the same as a funeral just a different location. I would recommend you would wear the same thing. tTypically staying on the more conservative side, opting for clothing in dark colors. However, memorial services are deeply personal, and there may be a request for you to wear more joyful colors or something that reflects the personality of the deceased.
That is what we preferred for my mom, she would have wanted it to be more of a celebration of life than a mourning. Ultimately what I remember is family coming together, friends and colleagues supporting my family, not what we wore. BUT in saying that I did wear a bright coat to another service and felt very uncomfortable and I don’t want you to have to feel that way.
What about a Wake
For a wake, guage where it is but normally I would go respectful casual. Now that’s a whole new trend right?
Wear the denim but still stay clean and tidy. Avoid rips and tears, stains and inappropriate slogans.
Your funeral/Memorial/Wake outfit should not be bright or flashy.
If your regular style is to wear colorful clothes, like me, well maybe tone them down for a funeral. No solid bright colors, especially red, orange, or yellow, which, in some colors cultures, signifies a celebration. Some color on a dark background is o.k. but only a little.
Remember make it comfortable and and tidy. Look in the mirror and remind yourself, am I comfortable wearing this? Would my mom/nana/gram have something to say about this? Listen to that little voice in your head. We want to be supporting players not the stars.
Hope this helps just a bit, but I am curious where you live is funeral attire relaxing at all?