Black is the colour most people associate with funeral clothing. According to tradition, black symbolises the dust and ashes of the earth to which we return.
Families do sometimes ask mourners to wear clothing or accessories of a specific colour to the service. If there has been no such request from the family then it is best to choose a funeral outfit that features dark or neutral tones and is conservative, classic and understated in style.
At Logan, many people ask us what they should wear to a funeral. In response, we have created this guide to help you decide what to wear to a funeral.
Funeral Outfits for Women
Keep it classic
Conservative funeral outfits, including a simple dress, or a skirt with a blouse, are perfect choices of respectful attire. Modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees is best for a funeral. You can bring a wrap, jacket or blazer to wear during the service if you need an extra layer.
It is usually best to dress in dark colours like black, grey, navy or taupe for a funeral. Try not to stand out and do your best to blend in with the other mourners. It is important to allow the focus of the day to be on the deceased, not your outfit!
Consider carefully the amount and style of jewellery and accessories you wear to a funeral. To avoid attracting too much attention, it might be best to keep it simple. Avoid anything too flashy and leave jangly bracelets at home.
Put comfort first
We know funerals can be emotionally challenging, but they can also be physically taxing. It is likely you will spend most of the day on your feet, especially if you are attending the graveside, and a wake, after the funeral service. Choose flat, or low-heeled shoes, and put your physical comfort first when attending a funeral.
Check the weather forecast and choose your outfit accordingly. Be prepared for seasonal weather by taking an umbrella and an extra jacket, or a hat and sunscreen. Remembering to pack extra tissues is always a good idea.
Funeral Outfits for Men
Funeral attire is typically classic in style and dark in colour. A navy, grey or black business suit couple with a white collared shirt and a subtle tie is perfect for funeral wear.
Try to limit your accessories and maintain an understated style when attending a funeral. Cufflinks, neck chains, wrist bands and earrings should be understated. If you are not sure, it might be best to leave the bling at home!
As well as thinking carefully about the clothes you will be wearing, allow yourself time to arrive groomed in a manner that is neat and tidy. You might like to consider having your hair trimmed or shining your shoes. Small gestures like these are a way of showing your respect for people who are experiencing a difficult time.
Don’t forget to check the weather forecast and wear clothing that is appropriate for the season. An umbrella and an extra jacket are helpful to have during the cooler months. Pack some extra tissues in case you need to comfort a distressed loved one or friend.
Things to Avoid Wearing to a Funeral
Most funerals are formal occasions. The following clothing and accessories might draw attention to you, and are therefore best avoided:
- Fluorescent colours, bright prints
- Short skirts, tight or low-cut clothing
- Overpowering perfume, heavy make up
- Noisy high heels
- Jingling bracelets and distracting jewellery
Your clothing choices for a funeral should reflect the respect you have for the occasion. It might be best to leave the following items at home:
- Peaked caps
- Silly ties
- Excessive aftershave
- Colourful T shirts
- Sports shoes
There are many things to think about when you are preparing to attend a funeral. For further advice regarding expectations for funeral guests, please refer to our article explaining Frequently Asked Funeral Etiquette Questions.