Funerals can often feel delicate to navigate with many protocols and traditions to be respected. While it might seem trivial in light of the loss experienced, choosing an appropriate outfit for an occasion of this nature can be a difficult decision.
Like the person it honours, each funeral is a unique occasion. As such, it’s unlikely there’s one clear-cut outfit suitable for every funeral. Here are a few important points to consider when deciding what to wear to a memorial:
1. Think about whose funeral you’re attending
A good starting point is to think about the person who passed away. They might have their own cultural background or customary traditions that their family has tied into the funeral service. Your closeness to them can also guide how comfortable you feel wearing certain outfits. An outfit you wear to a family member or close friend’s funeral can be different from something you’d wear to a funeral of someone you don’t know as well.
2. Look into where the funeral is being held
Your outfit can be influenced by the location of the funeral. While many may associate funeral services with churches, some people choose to have funerals in their homes, at favourite venues (including the pub!), or outdoors. The location may give you a good indication of the formality expected from the family of the deceased.
3. Check in with the family
When in doubt, reach out to the family. Black outfits are often considered traditional for funerals but many families have their own traditions and perspectives on grieving that can influence funeral attire. The family might like for guests to wear their person's favourite colour or ask that attendees wear brighter colours to celebrate the life lived. Checking in with the family or someone close to the family can give you a better idea of what’s appropriate to wear.
Generally, it’s important to be well-groomed and wear smart clothing as a gesture of respect to the family in mourning. While conservative outfits aren’t always needed for more relaxed funerals, it’s still considerate to choose a tidy appearance with low-key colours to make sure the service is focused on the deceased.
If you’re not in the position to reach out to the family or haven’t been advised on what to wear, here are a few helpful tips to consider when dressing for a funeral.
Subtle, natural-looking makeup
Simple jewellery and accessories
Typically dark and muted tones
Dress shirts, slacks and jackets
Modest dresses and skirts
Flashy, sequinned garments
Dangling, bulky jewellery
Runners, fitness shoes, slippers and casual sandals
Bold colours (if not asked by the family)
Caps, bucket hats and beanies
When is it okay to wear casual clothes to a funeral?
The bereaved family may choose to have a more relaxed service outdoors or in a casual venue. If the funeral takes place on a beach or in a park, suits and heels probably aren’t the best choice for the setting. In some instances, dark jeans can be worn with a simple dress shirt. While some casual clothing is acceptable, it’s essential to make sure your outfit doesn’t offend the family in mourning.
Safewill can help you
Our team at Safewill offer simple and affordable Will-writing services to help you outline your funeral wishes when you pass away. If you’re planning a funeral for the death of a loved one, Safewill Cremations provides a simple and affordable way to look after the essentials so you can celebrate your way.