How to Dress for a Funeral?
When you attend a funeral, the objective is to pay tribute to the deceased and his or her family. To do so, it is of the utmost importance to follow certain rules, in order to avoid arriving in inappropriate clothing. So here are some very simple tips to follow when you select what to wear for a funeral.
Make black a priority
In Western cultures, black is the colour you should choose to wear at religious or civil funerals. Some neutral shades, such as navy or dark grey, may also be acceptable. However, avoid colours that are too bright as well as patterned clothing. Keep in mind that in such a situation, simplicity is a must.
Keep it simple
For women, choose a classic outfit: a plain dress or a combination of a blouse and skirt (or pants). Avoid all embellishments, such as glitter, ruffles or other unnecessary details. Choose a long dress (or skirt) or one that at least comes to the knees. Also, don’t wear clothing that is too snug. As for the neckline, opt for a high neckline: shirt collar, round collar or turtleneck style. Low-cut necklines are obviously to be avoided. During the hot season, your top should ideally have sleeves. If you wear a top with straps, choose rather wide straps or cover your shoulders with a lightweight shawl or a small bolero.
For men, opt for a black suit and a white shirt. A dark suit may also be tolerated, always in shades of navy or grey. You may also decide to wear a turtleneck sweater. If you put on a tie, choose a simple and preferably solid colour one. If the funeral is in the summer, Bermuda shorts may be acceptable, but it is best to wear pants. In this case, choose linen, a lightweight material known for its airiness.
Opt for flat, comfortable shoes
As you may be standing for a long time, wear flat shoes for maximum comfort. Avoid high heels, which may be noisy and uncomfortable in the long run. In addition, if the burial takes place in the cemetery, your heels could sink into the grass, a situation that could prove to be very embarrassing for you. Even if it is summer, don’t wear espadrilles or beach sandals. Also make sure your shoes are clean and well laced.
Avoid overly conspicuous accessories
When it comes to accessories, always keep in mind that you must be discreet. So choose delicate earrings and a subtle pendant. If you wear a skirt or dress, match it with opaque black hosiery. Avoid any bright patterns or colours. Hosiery that is too sexy, such as fishnet hosiery, is not suitable for such an occasion.
If you want to wear make-up, opt for neutral shades. A discreet eye shadow and a light lipstick are appropriate. If you want to wear mascara, choose one that is waterproof, to prevent your makeup from running on your cheeks if you shed tears. Better a face covered with tears than a face smudged with unwanted black streaks!
Choose a simple outfit for your children
If your children are attending the funeral, dress them in black or a dark colour. Little boys may wear a shirt (or a solid colour sweater) and pants. For little girls, choose a very simple dress, solid colour if possible, with few details. Also make sure your children wear comfortable shoes. Take note that there is greater flexibility when it comes to children’s clothing; the important thing is to keep it simple.
Find out about the particularities related to the deceased’s customs
Unless otherwise specified, black is recommended for the funerals of Western cultures. However, depending on the different types of religion, certain differences may apply. For example, in Asian countries, white is generally the preferred colour. As for Muslim ceremonies, there are no dress restrictions, but it is better to dress in a classic, neutral suit. At a Jewish funeral, men should ideally wear a skullcap—although not required, it is strongly suggested. As for the traditions of certain African communities, it is customary for people to be dressed in bright colours.
In short, to ensure that you respect the deceased and his or her family, find out about the various clothing-related requirements that may apply, so as to avoid needlessly drawing attention to you, while enabling loved ones to focus on their mourning in simplicity and with the greatest respect for their family traditions.