Funerals are (obviously) awful for many reasons, so the added stress of having to pick out an outfit isn’t exactly the best feeling. From not really knowing what’s appropriate, to whether or not you should wear black, dressing for a funeral isn’t fun. What do you wear to a more formal funeral? What about a casual funeral? What should men wear? So many questions! Below, we try and answer a few of them.
So, what do I wear to a funeral?
- Do be respectful
Regardless of how well you knew the deceased, dressing in a respectful manner is paramount. Even if the hosts or the deceased have instructed not to wear black, it’s best to still dress in a conservative manner — especially if you don’t know the family well. Think of what you might wear to an important meeting and go from there.
- Black is the rule of thumb
Unless stated otherwise, black is a good place to start your funeral outfit quest. A classic pair of pants and a dressy black top or shirt is a good starting point, as is a simple black dress. Don’t fret about making sure your accessories are black — no one will wonder why you’re wearing cream coloured shoes or a red bag.
- Think about whose funeral you’re going to
Your outfit should be considered depending on whose funeral you’re attending. Were they a conservative, elderly member of the community who you didn’t know well? Were they a close friend of yours, whose wishes you know yourself? Tailor your outfit depending on the culture and the vibe of the funeral. Just like you wouldn’t show up to a party in a ballgown, don’t go wearing a suit when the dress code is beachy.
- Think about where the funeral is
Consider your outfit in relation to the location of the funeral. Many funerals happen on or near beaches, with the intention of walking along the sand or in the water. If so, make sure you wear easy to remove shoes and a shorter hemline. On the other hand, if the funeral is held at a place of worship, make sure you’re dressed a little more conservatively.
Three Graces London dress, $890; netaporter.com
The Line By K dress, $417; netaporter.com
Do I have to wear black to a funeral?
Not necessarily. There might be a note on the invite that says otherwise, but if you don’t hear an alternative, it’s a good idea to wear black as default. That being said, if the deceased was close to you and you’re organising the funeral, you have some more freedom to wear what you want. If you know the deceased would have loved to have seen you in that pink dress, then go for it. It’s a day to celebrate their life, not worry about clothes.
What to wear to a funeral in winter
It’s easier to dress for winter funerals, mostly because darker clothes are often wintery clothes. Opt for a black suit top and pants, or a dress with a coat. Don’t stress if your coat isn’t black — once you’re inside you can remove it. Plus, a pop of colour on a dreary winter day never did any harm!
Alexander McQueen wool blazer, $3,290; matchesfashion.com
Alexander McQueen trousers, $1,515; matchesfashion.com
What to wear to a funeral in summer
It’s harder to find a good black summer dress, but it’s worth investing in one that you can wear to funerals. A lightweight cotton dress or loose fitted pants and a shirt will work, but ensure you stay conservative and dressy and avoid thin straps or short hemlines. A mid-length cotton sundress is probably your best bet.
What should men wear to a funeral?
Depending on the vibe of the funeral (beach, place of worship etc), men should opt for a business shirt and pants. Add on a dark coloured suit jacket (in grey or black) and you’re done. Alternatively, a casual collared shirt with slacks can be a more casual option.
Remember, if all else fails: black is always a good idea.