Advice Funeral Planning What Clothes to Wear to a Funeral

What Clothes to Wear to a Funeral

What to wear for a traditional funeral?

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.

What should you avoid wearing at a funeral?

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.

Traditional clothes for a funeral:

  • Formal wear in black or muted colours, unless family has requested more colourful attire
  • Black smart shoes
  • Formal coat in case it is cold
  • Your clothes should be clean and comfortable
  • Wear clothes for a formal event – keep it smart and respectful

For women, you might want to wear the following to a funeral:

  • A smart dress with a cardigan
  • Formal coat in case it is cold
  • Your clothes should be colour appropriate
  • Respectful attire, nothing too short or revealing

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.

For men, you might want to wear the following to a funeral:

  • A black suit
  • Plain black tie
  • Smart black shoes

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.

What is a funeral dress code?

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.

Articles You Might Like

Need a helping hand?

You can ask our expert team who will support you every step of the way.

Photo of Eliza
Photo of Dylan
Photo of Sam
Photo of Zana
Speak to our team

Sign up to our newsletter

Expect inspiring stories from people navigating life, death and everything in-between.

By providing your email address, you consent to your personal data being held in line with our Privacy Notice.