Clothes advice for Funerals

Funerals aren’t necessarily the ideal opportunity to sport the latest fashion craze, and a simple dark suit or dress is the go-to for most services. However, there may be more important things to consider than colour.

For instance, culture, religion and even weather may have to be taken into account when attending a funeral, and it is particularly important to respect the deceased’s final wishes, or those of their family. It is now quite common to request non-traditional funeral wear, for example, especially when the deceased is a younger person.

Dressing for winter and autumn

Guests shouldn’t worry about donning coats, scarfs and hats to stay comfortable in winter and autumn. These should however serve a function and aren’t a chance to improve the outfit.

It’s generally acceptable to wear such attire indoors in the cold seasons but removing headwear – especially on men – is a mark of respect in some cultures. On the other hand, men are expected to wear skullcaps in religions like Judaism. Always check with the funeral organisers if you’re unsure what would be most appropriate.

Dressing for summer and spring

Summer and spring warrant lighter materials but generally not lighter colours. This includes linen, cotton, knee-length skirts and even short-sleeve shirts if necessary. Shoes, however, would not usually be open-toed or sandals and never flip flops.

Dark sunglasses are also appropriate in bright weather but unless for medical purposes, shouldn’t be worn indoors.

Choosing jewellery

Earrings, necklaces and bracelets can complement a professional look in business environments but too much can make the wrong impression at a funeral. However, this doesn’t mean jewellery can’t be worn and is a matter of judgement.

Wear minimalist accessories like ear studs and remove most face piercings if you want to appear formal. Pearl and white-coloured jewellery is also a good way to achieve this subtle effect.

Sometimes the family may ask mourners to wear a brooch, badge or pin in memory of their loved one.

Exceptions to the rules

There’s no single dress code that those organising a funeral must choose, despite the traditionally formal etiquette, and the most important factor to take into account is the wishes or preference of the deceased. Military funerals, for example, often see servicemen and women wear bright medals and uniforms as a mark of respect to honour the loved one’s service.

It’s likewise completely acceptable to request guests wear outfits or items of clothing outside of the norm in order to remember the deceased. This can be anything from pastel colours to work uniforms or a team sports strip and is best communicated in the funeral invitations.

It’s important for guests to follow the family’s lead but unless instructed otherwise, stick to traditional attire.

Further information

If you have any questions about what to wear to a funeral, please do not hesitate to speak to one of our Co-op Star Funeral Directors.