Black funeral dress is a common symbol of mourning, but other dark colours are also typical, as long as the clothes are kept conservative. The family could request a specific dress code; in fact, some families encourage people to stay away from black to make the funeral less sombre. Remember that churches and crematoriums can be cold, you may be waiting outside, so it may be best to also take a coat. If you are appointed as pallbearer you may not have a choice over what clothes to wear. Given pallbearers are on display during the funeral, the family may specify what kind of suit they’d like you to wear, or purchase a suit for you, so all the pallbearers are dressed the same.
Avoid clothes that are too short or revealing. The focus is on the deceased and the family. Unless requested, you should not wear bright colours. If you aren’t keen to wear black, keep the colours subdued. Modest heels can help dress up an outfit, but go for flats if you are attending a burial ceremony, as you may need to walk over grass.
Of course clothing options vary. Smart trousers are just as acceptable and more practical in winter. Generally it is best to keep jewellery minimal and understated.
A suit is not compulsory unless the family request it. Don’t dress too casually – it’s important to show respect and that you have made an effort to look smart.
Many families will request a certain dress code. You can announce details of this when you create an online support hub, place a death notice in the local newspaper, or mention it when inviting people to the funeral. Colourful funeral dress often reflects the deceased’s energy and attitude towards death. For children’s funerals, parents may ask people to come wearing their child’s favourite colour. Generally it is better to be specific - giving a dress code like ‘smart casual’ can be too vague.
Your chosen funeral director can help you arrange a fitting ceremony. If you’d like a funeral to reflect someone’s personality, make sure to bring this up with your funeral director. If you want to include plans for your own funeral in your will be sure to let people know what you’d like them to wear.