Women and Funeral Clothing

Overview

Published: 05/20/2010

by Funeral Home Resource Team

Photos

What to Wear to a Funeral: General Guidelines

At some point, most of us will attend a service for a lost loved one or colleague, and be faced with the issue of what to wear to a funeral. For most, black comes to mind, but it can still be difficult to know exactly what to wear to a funeral. Knowing how to dress for a funeral well ahead of time not only ensures that you wear something appropriate, but also avoids wearing something that could be considered offensive.

While black is most appropriate, especially for those closest to the deceased, it is not always necessary. Funeral attire however, should consist of darker colors. Prime examples are gray, khaki, purple and navy blue. Colors may vary, but one thing to remember for any kind of funeral attire is to dress and style conservatively. Those are just a few general guidelines on what to wear to a funeral. The following ideas for proper funeral dress are more gender and age specific.


Funeral Attire for Women

If you're a woman getting ready to attend a funeral, choosing the correct outfit might give you difficulty. What is appropriate for women to wear to a funeral and what is not? The key to dressing properly is to remember to be respectful and conservative. Attending a funeral or memorial service is not a particularly fun occasion, but most of us will, at one time or another, find ourselves in the position of wanting to pay our respects to a person who has died, and our attire should reflect that. Choose your attire more carefully when you are part of the grieving family. When deciding what to wear to a funeral, women have much to think about. Funeral clothes for women should not be flamboyant or provocative. Respectful funeral attire for women means funeral dresses and skirts that are not too tight or low cut, and go no higher than just above the knee. Pantsuits, or dress pants with a nice top, are also acceptable, but should follow the same rules of dark funeral dress and modesty. Women should carefully consider their jewelry; something traditional and simple, such as a small string of pearls, should be worn. Shoes should be subdued in color and not show toes. Consider options such as:


Close Family Member Funerals:
* traditional black shift dress and coordinating sweater or blazer
* A dark skirt and blouse or skirt and sweater
* A dark or muted tone basic short-sleeved dress
* Black, charcoal, navy or dark brown are ideal color choices

Friend and Family Funerals
* Color schemes for a woman's funeral attire can include gray, navy blue, brown or dark violet
* Skirt or dress slacks are acceptable, and you should choose an outfit you can move easily in, especially if you will also be cooking for a wake or reception after the service
* Subtle prints and small, tasteful accessories can help you look polished on this sad occasion
* Add a jacket or cardigan for warmth and to cover your shoulders if needed.

An Unexpected Funeral
* Dress in a practical and tasteful outfit for funerals in which you are simply there to pay your respects
* If you are not a part of the immediate family, you can choose a conservative outfit you already own. Clothing you would wear to a meeting or church is typically appropriate. Do avoid wearing very light or bright colors to the funeral; however, a light or white blouse with a dark skirt or slacks is fine
* Low necklines and short skirts should be avoided
* Dress slacks are acceptable for women to wear to a funeral, as are pantsuits.
Summer Funeral Clothing Advice
According to modernmom.com, a vital point to remember when dressing for a summer funeral is to keep your outfit somber, dressy, dark and modest. While in warmer months, women typically have more bright colored and 'happy' outfits and dresses, a funeral is not the place to wear them. Remember to keep your shoulders covered, maintain a modest neckline and do not wear short skirts.

* keep your attire low-key and dignified
* A simple sheath in navy, brown, violet or burgundy is appropriate
* You can add simple accessories if you like, but stay away from large, flashy pieces
* A dark skirt or slacks can be paired with a white or pastel blouse, with or without a sweater or jacket
* You can also select neutral colors such as beige
* Clothes should look conservative and professional, and be clean and pressed.

Funeral Attire for Men

Men’s funeral clothes consist of a dark suit: black, navy blue or dark gray, a white or other subdued color dress shirt, a solid color or classic print tie, and dark socks, shoes and belt that complement the suit. It is permissible to forego a jacket if the funeral service is held in hot weather. However, it is never acceptable to wear shorts or sandals to a funeral service. Flashy or distracting ties are also inappropriate for funerals. Children should be appropriately dressed in funeral clothes as well. Boys should be outfitted in a black suit, possibly similar to the men’s. Girls should wear a funeral dress that flows straight down from the shoulders without any unnecessary beading or sequins.


Certain religions have attire requirements for funerals, such as having your head covered. If you are unsure of specific religious practices, you can call the funeral home and ask. They should be able to assist you.