What to Wear to a Funeral

What to Wear to a Funeral

If you're getting ready to attend a funeral, you might be wondering about proper etiquette for sending flowers, what to say and how to say it, and how to dress. It's essential to choose clothes that respect the occasion. The most important thing to remember is that you should never call attention to yourself with your attire. The whole focus should be on what you're there for.

What Women Should Not Wear to a Funeral
Women have a list of things to think about before dressing for a funeral. From makeup to shoes and everything in between, there are some respectful rules to follow:

  • It's recommended that hems remain at knee-length or below the knee.
  • Pair a sleeveless dress with a tailored jacket, sweater, or shawl to drape over your exposed arms.
  • Keep your footwear simple, closed-toe, and with flat or small heels. You may find yourself walking in the grass or on uneven ground, so high heels may feel uncomfortable.
  • Wear a sensible hat that isn't so large or floppy that it blocks someone's view of the officiant.
  • Leave noisy bangle bracelets and necklaces at home.
  • Keep your makeup to a minimum and waterproof mascara helps if you're likely to shed tears.

Dress Conservatively
Because a funeral is a somber occasion, it is best to dress in conservative colors and styles in semi-formal attire. Black is still the safest colour for funeral attire, but you don’t have to wear solid black. 


  • Resist wearing bright colors or wild prints.
  • Avoid dressing in casual clothing, such as athletic wear, tank tops, or shorts.
  • Skip the flip-flops, tennis shoes, sneakers, or boat shoes.
  • Remove the neon necktie, purse, or accessory.

There are exceptions to the above. It is acceptable to dress in a military uniform for the funeral of a veteran. If your religion or the religion of the deceased calls for a specific style of dress, follow the rules.

Many people consider funerals a celebration of life rather than a sad end-of-life occasion. If this is the case, the family of the deceased may ask people to dress in a more upbeat or festive manner or wear something in the deceased's favorite color. At times, the family may hold a service away from a place of worship and at a casual location, and they may request that you wear less formal attire. It is proper etiquette to heed their request. If you're unsure about what to wear, don't be afraid to ask. That's better than showing up in inappropriate attire.


More Things to Consider When Dressing for a Funeral

As you choose something to wear to a funeral, there are several more things you need to take into account. The following tips and manners apply to both men and women:

  • Do not wear anything that requires constant adjusting because you may feel uncomfortable.
  • Follow the dress code for a place of worship if the funeral service is being held in the sanctuary.
  • If you are unsure how to dress, wear what you would wear to an office job interview.
  • A pantsuit or dress pants and a jacket are now acceptable for funerals.
  • You don't have to buy a new outfit. Look in your closet and put pieces together to make an appropriate ensemble; A nice jacket can complete an outfit for a funeral.
  • Wear plain, simple, unembellished sunglasses for outdoor services.
  • Keep your hairstyle as simple and natural as possible.
  • Do not wear strong perfume or scented body lotions that may cause allergic reactions, sneezing, or coughing during the services.
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