Funeral Etiquette; What To Wear To A Funeral

Category: Etiquette


Dressing for a funeral can be a challenge. Do you stick to black? Should you be completely covered up? Is it ever okay to wear white?

When deciding what to wear to a funeral, the general rule of thumb is to go down the conservative, smartly dressed route. And whilst traditional black is the most appropriate choice of colour, it is increasingly becoming much more acceptable in today’s times to embrace other muted or neutral tones.

There will also be occasions where there may be no expectation of dress, or where a culture dictates a specific type of funeral dress etiquette. There may even be some services where non-traditional dress is welcomed. Though it will usually state this, so best to stick to the formal route unless you’ve been told otherwise.

The most important thing is to dress in a way that shows respect to the bereaved and one that helps to communicates sympathy in a difficult time of mourning.

Read on to uncover our guidelines and tips on what to wear at a funeral:

General Tips on what to wear to a funeral:

On the whole, t’s best to approach your funeral attire with the same approach as you would a meeting or smart working event:

  • Black will always be appropriate but other dark or neutral colours like navy and grey can be acceptable. Just steer away from bright, flashy colours.
  • Shirts and blouses should be respectfully covered up to the neck.Open collars are a no no.
  • Ensure that skirts and dresses are an appropriate length, ideally covering the knees. Avoid miniskirts.
  • Keep trainers, baseball caps and flip flops firmly at home.
  • In a more casual environment, funeral etiquette dress may be more informal. In these cases, it might be appropriate to wear t-shirts or dark coloured jeans. Just ensure to avoid jazzy prints or logos in these cases.

What to wear to a funeral: Women

  • A dark dress or suit with skirt of an appropriate length is always good etiquette.
  • Keep shoulders covered and keep a smart jacket to hand as a helpful cover up.
  • A tasteful and respectful colour accent may be appropriate, but if you’re not sure, stick with a block colour.
  • Flat shoes or a low, conservative heel are the best choice.

Avoid bright colours, glitter and sparkle, or anything too revealing such as bold summer dresses or low cut tops.

General outfit ideas:

  • Suit with skirt or trousers
  • Mid or max-length dress
  • Skirt and blouse
  • Long sleeved-top with smart trousers

What to wear to a funeral: Men

  • A suit with a long sleeved, collared shirt and tie is always appropriate. You don’t necessarily have to pick black as the colour, but stick to dark, muted colours.
  • Select smart dress shoes, such as loafers.
  • Make sure to wear your shirt tucked in, teamed with a belt.

General outfit ideas:

  • Smart suit with collar and tie
  • Smart trousers with a shirt and belt
  • More casual trousers, such as dark coloured chinos with a shirt and vest.

Avoid bright colours and casual shorts.

What to wear to a funeral: In the Summer

It can be more challenging to dress conservatively in the summer when long sleeves, high necks, and heavy jackets are out of bounds. But there are ways in which you can keep cool whilst still paying your respects.

In the summer months, short-sleeved shirts will be an acceptable funeral dress etiquette, just avoid clothing that reveal a lot of shoulders or chest.

To ensure dresses and skirts are kept at knee length, select light fabrics and loose-fitting clothing to keep you from overheating or feeling uncomfortable once the funeral takes place.