A funeral is a solemn occasion that should reflect respect for the deceased, so be careful with what you wear. Knowing what to wear is very important, as the outfit is a sensitive matter and should convey your somber emotions. It should always be formal, dark-toned and conservative. Read the guide below for tips on how to dress for a traditional Western funeral.
Traditionally women wear a black dress of a modest cut to the funeral, but you can also wear dark navy, grey or neutral colors. Dark burgundy, green and purple are becoming more common. A skirt and blouse or a suit are also acceptable, but keep the colors within those dark hues. You are not there to get attention, so make sure you do not wear anything bright, low-cut or high on the thigh. Go with knee length or below for dresses and skirts. If you are in a church, even during the summer, make sure to cover the shoulders or wear a matching sweater (wear wide sleeveless underneath, no spaghetti straps). It can be minimally printed or embossed for a sophisticated look. Nude or dark stockings are suggested if wearing a skirt or dress. Keep the accessories and make-up subtle and down to a minimum. Pearls are the traditional accessory of choice for women. Everything should be wrinkle-free and you should look well groomed.
Wear a black, charcoal or navy suit with a collared white shirt and black tie. The tie may also be a dark color like maroon or navy. If you do not want the white shirt, go with black or a black turtleneck. When in the religious institution, you must keep your jacket on, except if it is during the summer, outside and during the day. Absolutely no jeans are worn at funerals. Whatever you choose to wear should be pressed and you should look professional.
They are under the same restrictions as the adults, but bending the rules here and there is acceptable. Boys can wear suits and girls can wear dresses in dark and neutral colors.
Make sure they are comfortable and match the outfit. You will be standing a great deal of the time in church and especially when walking to the gravesite. Do not wear heels that will not be able to handle the possible rough terrain of the graveyard. Wear close-toed shoes with low or flat heels if the funeral is very conservative; otherwise exposed toes are fine, but make sure to remove any bright nail polish. Sandals and flip-flops are disrespectful.
Some people are deciding to have a “Personalized Funeral” at which all the participants wear a pre-arranged shirt called the “Memorial Shirt” made by the family. However, even with the shirt you should wear formal clothing and look professional. Some funerals also ask that the attendees wear bright, vivacious colors to celebrate life rather than morn the dead. Of course, the dress code is completely different for other cultures, so be sure to check what type of funeral you are attending before you plan your outfit.