What to wear to a funeral service

Updated November 21, 2016

Going to a funeral is never an easy or enjoyable thing to do. Dressing appropriately for the service is important, because it shows respect for the deceased and for the other loved ones attending the service. When dressing for a funeral, you don't necessarily have to go out and buy anything new. Just remember to dress as nicely and modestly as possible.


When going to a funeral, black is always the first colour that comes to mind, but while black is always appropriate to wear to a funeral, it's not always necessary. It is still traditional for the deceased's family members to wear black, but if you're not a family member, you can wear colour. The best rule of thumb when choosing a colour to wear to a funeral is to wear a traditional or subdued colour. Gray, khaki, light blue, purple and navy blue are all good choices. It is fine to think about whether the deceased would have wanted you to wear black or to wear a shade of the deceased's favourite colour. The purpose of a funeral service is to celebrate that person.


The most important thing women should remember when dressing for a funeral is not to wear anything too tight or low-cut. Not only is it disrespectful, but you may also be bending down to help people into their seats, giving hugs and other actions that may cause you embarrassment if you wear a too-tight or low-cut outfit. The rule for skirts and dresses is knee length or longer, your shoulders should be covered. It is acceptable to wear dress trousers with a nice top. Keep your jewellery and accessories to a minimum. Bring along a purse in a subdued colour, and if you choose to wear jewellery, wear something traditional and simple, such as a small string of pearls. Your shoes should be in a subdued colour and not show your toes.


Men should wear dark suits to funerals; black, navy blue and dark grey are appropriate. Pair a white or other subdued colour dress shirt with the suit, and wear a tie that is either a solid colour or has a classic pattern, like stripes. Distracting novelty ties are inappropriate for funerals. Your socks should match the colour of your trousers, and your belt should match the colour of your shoes. Your belt and shoes should be a darker, classic colour that complements your suit, such as brown, black, grey or navy.

It is appropriate to take your jacket off during the service if other men, especially the deceased's family members, do so. It is also permissible not to wear a jacket if the funeral service is being held in hot weather. However, it is never acceptable to wear shorts or sandals to a funeral service.

You should either not wear any jewellery at all or only wear classic jewellery, such as a small watch with a dark leather band.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author