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What to Wear at a Funeral



The attire most often required at a traditional funeral is a formal black suit for men. This black-themed dress code typically applies to every attendee of the formal event, regardless of relationship, age, status, and other social distinctions. Consequently, male attendees adorned in black tuxedos may attract a few curious glances, but this attire is more than appropriate.

On the other hand, attending a less restrictive modern funeral grants you greater freedom in clothing choice. While dark-colored clothing is preferred, you still have to ensure you don't overdo it by wearing inappropriate funeral apparel. Your wardrobe situation can get even more complicated when planning to attend a non-restrictive “celebration of life” funeral.

Some Do's and Don'ts of Funeral Wear

First and foremost, you should note that the final funeral ceremony is often preceded by other equally important events. These pre-funeral ceremonies include wakes, viewings, visitations, and memorials. While a completely black outfit may be appropriate for the final formal ceremony, adorning a black suit or dress at a pre-funeral event can be deemed disruptive.

Attire for Wakes, Viewing, Visitations, and Memorials

These events usually have the main relations of the bereaved at the center of the ceremony. Other attendees, such as colleagues, close family friends, and business associates, typically have the minor role of showing condolence and support to the bereaved family. You may only need to briefly attend the ceremony to show your respect if you are not an immediate family member.

Therefore, you don't have to spend an inconsiderable amount of time picking just the right attire prior to making an appearance. You should only ensure you avoid bright colors in your clothing, including pinks, oranges, reds, and yellows. You can wear any desired shade of blue tuxedos or dresses in your wardrobe or any other cool colored item, including dark brown, forest green, and royal purple.

Funeral Apparel for Formal and Informal Funerals

As mentioned in the introduction, wearing an all-black attire is sufficient and proper while attending a formal funeral. While modern funerals don't restrict you to black colored clothing, you should ensure your apparel is dark-colored. You can wear a deep blue, dark brown, or forest green suit or dress to a modern funeral. On the other hand, the above attire guidelines are null and void in a “celebration of life” funeral. You are free and encouraged to wear brightly colored clothing items when attending such a ceremony.

While the above tips are not entirely exhaustive, they should be adequate to help you make a more informed decision on what to wear at a funeral. Doing so will help you pay your respects not only in your conduct at the event but in your attire as well.