What do you wear to a funeral in 2019? Times have changed, more and more families are now planning celebrations of life instead of a traditional funeral service. Even with these changes, knowing what to wear to a funeral can be difficult. After all, a funeral service is something you may go years before you have to attend another one.
While there is no specific dress code, wearing something that errs on the conservative side is always the safer bet. Remember, it’s never a bad thing to be overdressed, but you never want to be the guy who is underdressed. A funeral is a time to show your respect as you honor the life of the deceased, and your clothing should reflect that.
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve likely looked at your outfit and asked yourself “is this ok to wear to a funeral?”. As times have changed, the traditional funeral attire of years past is just that traditional. Today families are planning more modern and progressive services for their loved ones and the funeral outfit dos and don’ts of years past no longer apply.
Women’s funeral attire is no longer limited to long black dresses or a dark business suit. Today, women are wearing a more conservative selection of bright or lighter colored clothing. It has also become acceptable for women to wear business casual options, modest dresses, and a mix of skirts, blouses, and pants.
Mens funeral attire is no longer limited to just dark colored suits. Use your judgment and if something doesn’t feel like it’s acceptable, trust your instincts. In 2019, it’s generally acceptable for men to wear slacks in almost any color when it’s paired with a collared shirt like a dress shirt, golf shirt or polo. The color you wear should stay subdued and you’ll want to avoid wearing overly bright colors or vibrant patterns.
Even as men’s funeral outfits have become more relaxed, there are still things men shouldn’t wear to a funeral. You want to avoid wearing items like sneakers, flip flops, ripped jeans, shorts and baseball caps.
If you are unsure what to wear to a funeral, it’s best to stick to a more conservative outfit like we’ve outlined below.
Save the bright and vibrant colors for the golf course or a patio. Black, grey, or dark blue clothing is considered the standard for funeral attire.
A suit complete with an ironed white dress shirt and a dark tie to match is a classic look for the occasion. While a suit is the preferred choice, a nice pair of slacks and a shirt and tie are also acceptable. If you’re a member of the immediate family or have a part during the service (i.e. a pallbearer, a reading, delivering the eulogy) than you should try to look your best. For everyone else, think business casual as the bare minimum. A funeral should never be the place you wear your designer ripped jeans and a plain white t-shirt.
There is nothing wrong with wearing a nice simple watch. When the band matches your shoes and belt, it can bring the whole outfit together. Just don’t be over the top or have your jewelry be a distraction. Much like your clothing, try to be conservative with your choices. You’re attending the service to say goodbye and pay your respects. Your jewelry should not distract or take away from this.
Depending on the color of your suit or dress clothes, make sure you wear the appropriate colored shoes to match. Brown shoes go best with a blue, brown, or light grey suit. Black shoes match with a black suit, dark blue, or dark grey suit. Also, make sure to spend a few extra minutes cleaning and shining your shoes.
A funeral is a solemn event so make sure your clothing reflects that. This isn’t the time to break out a cocktail dress or something that’s loud and bright. A simple dress that covers the shoulders and knees or a business suit is all you need. Another popular look is to pair your outfit with a blazer or a nice sweater.
A funeral is not a time for your outfit to make a statement. Stick to subtle colors like black, grey, dark blue, or a red-violet. Try to make sure that your outfit features more solid or neutral colors and stays away from overly floral or patterned designs.
Many women to want to wear jewelry that makes them look stylish and elegant. It is ok to pair together some earrings, a necklace, and rings. Just don’t go overboard with it. Remember, your attending the funeral to mourn a loss so you might have to sacrifice your style. If you can, try wearing a piece of jewelry that the deceased owned or had given to you at some point in their life.
A funeral service involves a lot of sitting, standing, and walking (if you plan on attending the graveside service). Select shoes that you will be comfortable wearing all day. Shoes like high heels or strappy sandals will leave your feet aching and make an already uncomfortable day that much worse. If you know that a pair of shoes is incredibly uncomfortable, don’t even think about wearing them. No matter how “cute” they are.
Before attending a summer funeral, consider the location of the service. If you will be attending a graveside service outdoors, be prepared for the sun and the heat. Make sure that your clothing stays lightweight and avoid a ton of layers if possible. Fabrics like cotton or linens will breath easier and help you avoid trapping in sweat or heat.
Even as tempting as it can be to wear shorts or a short length dress, avoid this at all costs. Women should also avoid wearing a dress that shows too much of their shoulders or chest as well. Sandals are an acceptable choice for footwear as long as they are more professional looking. You also might want to wear a pair of sunglasses. Just make sure you avoid colorful and fun summer sunglasses. Stick to simple black ones if possible.
If the funeral will be in the winter, the funeral attire we’ve outlined above is acceptable. With winter funerals, you need to focus more on your outwear. If you will be outside, make sure to wear a nice coat and perhaps accessories like gloves, scarves, and hats. For women, avoid wearing open-toed shoes. Choose a nice pair of waterproof boots with good traction if you will need to walk across snow or ice. Men might want to wear a nice black or grey beanie which is considered acceptable. However, a classic fedora is another popular choice as well.
Honestly, you don’t really need to stress and fret about what you wear to the funeral. What really matters is that you are making an effort to be there and celebrate a life. This isn’t a time for other guests to be judgemental as they are also mourning a loss and dealing with their own grief. If you show up in anything besides a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, you’re probably ok.
Don’t break the bank either. This isn’t a time you need to go out and buy a brand-new suit or dress. If you need to buy one item, that’s ok. But don’t feel like you have to feel like you need to purchase an entire outfit for this one occasion. Wear clothes that are respectful and ones you feel comfortable in. Rather than using that money to grow your closet, make a donation on behalf of the deceased.
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