What to Wear to a Funeral: 3 Dos and 3 Don’ts

In the West, black is the traditional color to wear to funerals. However, in India, Hindu’s at funerals wear white to symbolize purity.

In Ghana and South Africa, red is the primary color worn at funerals. But in Thailand, they wear purple, in Myanmar they wear yellow, and Iran they wear blue.

There are a few rules of etiquette if you’re planning to attend a funeral. People are already grieving so it’s best to dress appropriately.

We’ve got a simple list of what to wear to a funeral. Keep reading to learn the three do’s and don’ts of funeral attire.

Do’s: What to Wear to a Funeral

Whether you’re a male or female, the same rules generally apply for what to wear at a funeral or wake. Here are three tips to adhere to:

1. Dress Conservatively

If you’re a woman, wear a skirt, dress or nice slacks. Don’t go overboard, this isn’t a party so no cocktail dresses or gowns.

Your dress should cover your knees and shoulders. If you must go sleeveless, bring along a shawl to cover up.

Stick With Darker Hues

If you’re a man, stick with a conservative looking suit complete with a tie. Match your suit with your shoes.

Both parties should dress in darker shades and refrain from wearing too much jewelry.

2. Consider Where and When the Service Will Be Held

Dress more conservatively for funerals held at places of worship. If you’re on a beach, you can dress more casually.

Use common sense and if you’re still unsure, ask an immediate family member or funeral director for advice on what to wear.

3. Consider the Culture

If the funeral is being held for someone with a distinct cultural background, do some research to find out what their customs are. You can also ask the family to help make recommendations on what to wear to a wake or funeral.

What to Avoid Wearing

There are a few things you should always avoid wearing to a funeral unless the family specifies otherwise.

1. Avoid Showing Too Much Skin

A funeral is not a music video. It’s not appropriate to dress as though you’re about to head to a club.

Skip mini-skirts, low-cut blouses, spandex, and anything else that will draw too much attention to yourself. This day isn’t about you, not your cleavage.

2. Avoid Wearing Items That Are Too Bold or Flashy

Avoid wearing colors that are too bright unless it’s the culture. The same goes for any flashy jewelry.

Don’t go for stilettos, either. You may find you need to walk in the grass or on uneven ground. And leave your flip flops and a floppy hat for the beach.

3. Branded Items

Now isn’t the time to advertise your love of all things Nike. Skip wearing printed t-shirts or baseball caps.

If the article of clothing has any writing on it, it’s generally a good idea to avoid wearing it at a funeral.

It’s Smart to Know What to Do

Whether it’s knowing what to wear to a funeral or even how to plan a funeral, it’s a good idea to educate yourself before making decisions. If you need to plan a funeral, we can help. Click here to find out what your next steps should be.