If you ever find yourself sadly having to go to a funeral, one of the last things you are probably thinking about is what to wear.
You’re likely going through a terrible experience right now, and you have a million other things running through your head.
Nevertheless, the clothes that you wear to the funeral are important as they signify your state of mourning, and it also demonstrates that you respect the traditions of the community that you are a part of.
Most of the time, the clothing you wear provides you the opportunity to demonstrate that you have an immaculate sense of fashion.
Even in settings with a stringent dress code, such as the workplace or a wedding, there is still an opportunity for you to exhibit your unique sense of style. When attending a funeral, however, this is very inappropriate to do.
You are not dressed to impress other people; rather, you are dressing to demonstrate respect to other people.
You may still wish to dress well out of respect for the event, but the aim here is not to stand out, but rather to blend in with everyone else.
Having said that, you should still put some work into your look to ensure that it is appropriate for the importance of the event and is in line with the expectations set by the host.
Therefore, if you properly consider what you will wear to a funeral to guarantee that your clothing is appropriate, you won’t attract unwanted attention to yourself.
Below is the ideal outfit for a funeral.
Keep in mind though that while it is the standard look for most funerals, different people from different cultures may dress differently for mourning, and so if the host tells you to wear something different from this on the day, then you should follow their guidelines.
Dark Two-Piece Suit
The most appropriate ensemble for a man to wear to a funeral is a two-piece black suit.
This is the most traditional choice. It needs to preferably be black, but any truly dark suit color is good in its stead if black is not available. The most viable options to take into consideration are the hues of charcoal grey and navy blue.
Your suit should be a classic style, much like the one you would put on for a meeting with a potential employer. It shouldn’t have any outlandish or noticeable decorations on it, and the cut shouldn’t be very unconventional either.
When attending a funeral, it is appropriate to wear a suit that is somber and simple so it does not draw attention to itself.
In addition to this, the fit of your suit must be just right. When you put on a suit that is either too big or too tiny for you, it gives the appearance that you didn’t put much effort into getting ready.
This is especially true if the suit is tailored for someone else. Not only would this be regarded as rude, but it would also serve to divert the attention of the others who were present.
Once more, this would take focus away from the things that are truly important on that specific day.
Ties And Dress Shirts
It is recommended that you wear a dress shirt underneath your suit, and you should make an effort to keep the remainder of your clothing as straightforward as possible.
For example, the sleeves of your dress shirt ought to be long, and while a collar is not essential, having one is recommended.
Because of the striking contrast they provide when worn with dark suits, white dress shirts are the typical shirt of choice when wearing a black suit. The only time this rule goes out the window is duing a funeral.
It is customary to wear a black shirt to a funeral because black is the color of mourning. In any scenario, you should ensure that the shirt is clean, free of creases, and a proper fit for you before wearing it.
Although a dark color is essential for your tie, it does not have to be black.
However, if you are going to wear a black suit, you need to ensure that the color does not contrast too strongly with the rest of your wardrobe by wearing other colors that complement black.
It may be completely blank, or it might have a very simple pattern on it.
Ties worn at funerals should never have bright colors or large designs, and they should always be understated and formal.
Funerals can happen at any time of the year, and the temperature is never guaranteed to be comfortable.
If you go to one that takes place during the winter, it is strongly suggested that you carry a substantial overcoat with you.
Keep in mind that you could be spending a large amount of time outside, and so despite the sad occasion you will still want to be comfortable.
While wearing an overcoat to a funeral is considered appropriate, like the rest of your outfit it needs to be dark.
If it is very cold outside on the day, your best option is to choose a wool coat, as there provides the greatest amount of warmth.
What If It’s Hot Out?
If it is warm outside, you will not need to take a coat with you to the event. If it is very hot though, there is not much that you can do to keep you cool sadly.
No matter what season it is, black is the traditional color for funerals. In the summertime, black colors soak up and trap the heat, meaning that you can become very warm very quickly.
If this happens, it is acceptable to take off your suit jacket, though it is traditional to wear a long sleeve shirt under the jacket so you may still get a bit warm.
While white is the best color for you to wear in this predicament since it will make it easier for you to keep your normal body temperature, you should not deviate from the traditional=onal mourning attire unless the host says that it is ok to do so.
Formal Dress Shoes
If you are wearing a suit that is quite dark, the most appropriate color for your shoes would be something very dark brown or black (with black being the ideal).
When worn with lighter shoes, a darker suit could give the impression of being too casual, and the two colors might even clash.
Dress shoes in an oxford style are the most suitable shoes to wear to a funeral because of their formal appearance. If you do not have any Oxfords, you may wear derbies or bluchers instead.
Before you even think about putting on your shoes, you need to make sure that they are completely clean and free of any scratches or scuffs. This is true regardless of the style that you choose to wear.
While some accessories are fine to wear at a funeral, like the rest of your outfit they must be understated and not too flashy.
Simple accessories include sunglasses. These will be very useful as it means that you won’t be squinting in the sunlight all day. Just remember to keep them a dark color.
Mirrored sunglasses are a big “No” though, as these can look too flashy for the event.
Keeping your mobile phone out of sight is vital, as constantly checking it can be seen as disrespectful. Keep your phone in your pocket and only check it once you are out of sight from others.
For checking the time, instead of looking at your phone, choose to wear a nice watch instead. The most suitable accessory for this situation would be a watch that is subtle and has a strap made of black leather.
If there is a possibility that it could rain, you will need to bring an umbrella with you. Carry a black umbrella rather than a bright and joyful one so as not to detract from the overall aspect of the dreary day.
Cut back on the number of pieces of jewelry you wear. If you do want to wear jewelry, however, it should not be in any way big, glitzy, or spectacular, and you should opt for a more understated appearance.
I Don’t Like Suits, What Can I Wear Instead?
Certain individuals just do not feel comfortable in a suit. While this is fine and can be worked around in professional or other formal settings, it can be very difficult to avoid wearing a suit to a funeral.
There are some instances when you may be able to get out of wearing a suit though, such as if the host wants guests to dress differently to represent the deceased culture, or if they say they want formal attire but suits are not required.
Since you will be dressed less professionally if you are not wearing a suit, you need to be certain that you will not stick out like a sore thumb among the other people in the room.
It would be very unfortunate if, as a result of the way you dressed, you generated a stir among the other mourners who attended the funeral, and they focused their attention on you rather than the deceased and their family.
The basis of the outfit below is the use of formal pants. You may be able to get away with wearing a suit jacket and dress shirt, but formal pants are a must.
Don’t be expecting to just be able to attend a funeral in your everyday jeans, this is an event that you must dress up for, even if it is not your style.
Button-Down, Dress Pants, And A Sweater
This is a wonderful option to consider if it’s chilly outside.
When it’s colder outside, layering your clothing is nearly always a smart idea, and if you do it correctly, it may give the impression that you are quite sophisticated.
You don’t want a sweater that is uncomfortably bulky and difficult to carry about all day. Find something that’s not too thick yet still manages to keep you toasty, like cashmere, for example.
Although a sweater with a V-neck could be acceptable in this circumstance, a crewneck seems to be the option that makes the most sense.
The most appropriate way to wear a sweater in a formal setting is to wear one that is solid in color, does not have any patterns on it, and does not have any decorations. Stay away from any branding as well.
If you want to look your very best when wearing an elegant sweater, a dress shirt in either black or white is the best choice to wear beneath it.
If you want to give the impression that you are sophisticated, you should always include a tie.
Vest, Dress Shirt, And Pants
If you wear a vest instead of a suit jacket, this can give you a similar formal appearance as weaning a three-piece would.
Be aware that a large chunk of your dress shirt will be on display if you choose to go for the vested look. This will be the case even if you wear a tie.
Your top must be buttoned up.
The traditional garments for a funeral are a black vest, a white shirt, and a black-tie.
To retain a degree of dressiness that is appropriate for the situation, do not roll up your sleeves. This can make you seem too relaxed and casual for the situation.
Vests are an excellent option for layering garments to wear during warm weather. Even if you are wearing layers that aren’t quite as heavy as before, you are nevertheless dressing with formality in mind.
Blazer, Button-Down, Pants
The majority of funeral services require attendees to wear black blazers and button-down shirts, which must be buttoned down.
Always keep in mind the importance of keeping things simple by selecting a color that is either dark or neutral.
Check to make sure that the blazer does not have any overly intricate embellishments or patterns that are too busy. Even the buttons on the blazer should be simple and understated, with black buttons being the ideal.
Your blazer must be coordinated with the formal pants you’re wearing.
While it is impossible to exactly color match the pants to the blazer (unless they are bought as part of a set of clothes) you must take special care to ensure that the two colors go well together.
Your blazer should be a solid color and have no patterns on it, as this can draw too much attention to you.
Polo Shirt And Khakis
This ensemble is only suitable in two situations. First, if the temperature is very high, and second if the family expressly encourages mourners to dress in a laid-back way.
Pants are always the more sensible choice of clothing to wear to a funeral, regardless of the specific circumstances.
Because of their more direct connection to business attire, slacks or dress pants are your best bet for an appropriate bottom garment to wear.
At a funeral, how you carry yourself and present yourself to the mourners while wearing this outfit is of the highest significance. Before you can put on your khakis, you will need to wash them and then iron them.
Because of their lighter color, khakis, unfortunately, tend to show creases more readily than other types of clothing, which is an unattractive trait to have.
Since it’s quite unlikely that your pants would be dark, the polo shirt you wear with them should be dark instead.
What Not To Wear
When preparing for a high-pressure situation, it is generally beneficial to have a firm understanding of the sorts of attire to avoid.
If you have never attended a funeral before, then you may feel even more pressure about your clothing, so here are the key things that you should avoid wearing.
Avoid wearing extremely casual clothing. Jeans are a bit no-no with funerals, as they are just far too casual for the importance of the event, even if they are black.
Anything that has been ripped for fashion purposes (think ripped jeans or something similar) is strictly forbidden as well. Similarly, anything with vibrant or striking colors should be avoided.
Additionally, it is essential to pay close attention to your footwear.
Casual footwear, such as sneakers, flip-flops, and sandals, is inappropriate attire for a funeral. Instead, you should concentrate on locating leather dress shoes with closed toes.
A funeral is not an ideal environment for items that attract a great deal of attention. If you choose to wear a gold chain or bracelet, ensure that it is subtle, or better yet, leave it at home.
If you feel compelled to wear a classy dark-felt hat, you can get away with it. What you can’t wear however are wool beanies and baseball caps.
What To Consider When Attending A Funeral
Because you and those around you are in sorrow, attending a funeral is one of the most challenging experiences we will ever have.
However, attendees of funerals must dress appropriately for the occasion. Even when you are feeling sad, you are still required to keep a certain amount of composure and dress accordingly.
Attending a funeral dressed to the nines is inappropriate.
However, when this sad occasion approaches, you must remember a few guidelines for appropriate behavior during funerals and memorial ceremonies.
In some situations, these are even more important than what you wear.
Here are a few things that you should do or consider when attending a funeral.
Send Your Condolences To The Deceased’s Family
Attending the funeral is the most respectable and genuine way to express condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
Remember that you should also send flowers to the church or funeral home in advance. To demonstrate your support, you may also choose to consider purchasing a symbol of compassion for the grieving.
The most important thing you can do if you did not know the dead but are attending the memorial ceremony out of respect for a friend or coworker is to show your support for the family.
The weather has a significant impact on what you should wear to a funeral, especially if you intend to attend a service that will be placed at the graveside.
Considering the weather while determining what to dress is a very practical consideration. Summer’s finest suit materials are lightweight, but winter’s finest suit fabrics include significant layers.
You don’t want to be too hot or too cold, so you should make sure that you are comfortable in your outfit.
For instance, if it is raining, you will want to take an umbrella and a hat to protect yourself from the weather.
People from many cultures grieve their departed loved ones in their distinctive manner.
Even among people who share the same culture, families may be vastly different and may observe practices that differ from your own.
Some families may likely choose a funeral ceremony with less pomp and grandeur than is often associated with such events.
Some people may choose to honor a specific aspect of their loved one’s life and may have specific instructions on how to do so.
In addition, the family may request that visitors bring a certain item or wear a certain item to show respect for the deceased. Make it a point to pay close attention to any requests of this sort.
Wearing a black suit to a funeral is the ideal outfit for this situation unless the family expressly states a different dress code.
Remember to not choose a flashy or bold outfit for the day, as you will not want to draw too much attention to yourself.
This is a day for the family and mourning, so the attention should be on them and not on what the guests are wearing. On this day, blending into the background is the best option.