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What to Wear to a Funeral [in General]

A closed casket with pink and white flowers resting on it during a funeral

First and foremost, we offer our sincerest condolences for the loss of your loved one. Funerals are not easy affairs due to the emotional weight of losing someone, no matter the cause. Whether this was an expected or unexpected passing, people tend not to plan for the funeral ceremony until after news of the passing, leaving many empty-handed and unprepared for the appropriate dress code and decorum.

Here’s our take on how to dress for a funeral, and instead of by season, we’ll just be speaking generally.

What to Wear to a Funeral

Historically, it was standard for funeral guests to stick to an all-black dress code, with the most opaque black tights to top it all off. While wearing all black is still completely appropriate and acceptable, the ‘rules’ have relaxed a touch as far as funeral outfits go. Fashion bloggers (and personal experience) have shown that simply dark formalwear is perfectly appropriate. Perhaps that’s navy blue, deep maroon or plum, different tones of grey, deep forest green, or maybe something with a simple pattern like plaid, soft floral, houndstooth, or gingham.

You should generally err on the side of being more conservative in terms of how you dress for a funeral. Think something you might wear to church, a business meeting, an interview, or another event that demands respect in dress.

Funeral Outfits for Immediate Family

While more patterns, prints, and styles are more socially acceptable nowadays, it’s still pretty typical for the immediate family to opt for black or dark-colored funeral outfits. Men often opt for a suit, but if not, some nice chinos or slacks, a blazer, button-down, and their nicest overcoat (if it’s chilly) will work just fine. Everything should be neatly pressed and cared for, not crinkled, wrinkled, or stained.

When searching for an appropriate funeral outfit women can wear, there’s a little more room for personality. You could opt for a simple dress (either plain or patterned), a matching sweater/skirt set, or even a pantsuit, if you have the right one. Choose tops with sleeves (length can vary) and pants or skirts should be of a professional length.

As far as footwear, choose something you can wear for an extended amount of time, especially during the outdoor portion. You don’t want to be yanking your stilettos out of dirt and mud just to get back to the pavement. You also probably want to avoid breaking in a new pair of shoes as a part of your funeral outfit. Go for something subtle. Also, some religions and cultures find it appropriate to wear a hat or veil of sorts to a funeral, but just be sensitive to the deceased and the other guests.

What Not to Wear to a Funeral

The last thing you want to do is dress inappropriately. We’ve already touched on the fact that you shouldn’t dress too casually. Think super-short lengths, jeans, T-Shirts, sneakers, loud prints, graphics, anything with tears, casual hats (like baseball caps), anything with logos, flip flops, etc. Plus, people typically stray away from bright hues of yellow, orange, or red both in attire and in floral arrangement. But, no need to stress, you’ll have an instinct about what to wear to a funeral and what not to. If you’re concerned, maybe opt for something else, or ask someone for their opinion.

Be Prepared for Both Outdoors and Indoors

It could be breezy, chilly, rainy, wet, sunny, hot, humid, dusty, etc. which affects your choice in how to dress for a funeral. Check the forecast, but you should always have a light jacket during the transitional seasons, and sunglasses are usually appropriate during the sunnier months. You don’t want to worry about how cold you are or how bright the sun is while you’re trying to pay your respects. An umbrella is a good thing to keep on hand as well, as it can protect against the sun in the warmer months and the wind/rain/snow in the colder months.

Listen to Your Late Loved One; What They Say Goes

Above all, what would your late loved one love to see you in? Did they have a favorite color? Would they prefer bright, happy colors or respectful, darker colors? Perhaps they had a signature style, maybe even a signature scent, color, or accessory. These things are completely appropriate to wear because it’s about celebrating them.

And, of course, you should listen to them if they had specific dying wishes. Funerals don’t have to be somber, especially if that tone doesn’t fit the departed. These are hard conversations to have when someone is sick or on their last leg, but you should be comforted by the fact that they’d be happy having a say in how they’re remembered.

Called To Surf Has All Your Clothing Needs, No Matter the Occasion

We’re here to help, in-store or online, with what to wear to a funeral or any other outfit need. Our team of associates is more than capable of helping you find different funeral outfits with empathy and respect. Remember you don’t have to have a specific ‘funeral outfit’ just in case the need arises; you can construct a put-together look with individual pieces for different uses. That may make things easier afterward because you can wear that dress or that sweater without thinking it’s ‘the item you wore to your grandpa’s funeral’. It’s just a semiformal piece in your closet that fit the bill.

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