If you are attending a funeral, make sure that you practice the proper funeral attire etiquette. Bear in mind that wearing the proper clothes is one way of showing respect for the deceased and his or her family.
Traditionally, all-black clothing is the appropriate choice for a funeral service. At the same time, formal clothes are also recommended. Colorful clothing is not encouraged and is seen as disrespectful since funerals are a time for the family and loved ones’ bereavement. Colorful clothing, on the other hand, typically conveys happiness.
However, nowadays the tradition for funeral attire is changing since personalized less formal funerals are becoming more common. Thus, the attire etiquette is also becoming more varied. For instance, it is common to find people wearing colours other than black; however, bright colors such as yellow and pink are still not recommended.
Nonetheless, even though funeral attire etiquette can be different these days, there are still common and safe attire etiquette practices that you can follow. Here are some of them:
For women, wearing a dress will be a safe choice, or you can also go for a skirt and a blouse. Bear in mind that your goal here is to be clean, neat and presentable. On the other hand, your choice of colors should be conservative. Although it is not a must to wear black unless specified, it would be a safe choice to go for neutral or dark colors. If there are special requirements or instructions given by the family and loved ones when it comes to the funeral attire, just follow them.
For the men, wearing a suit would be the safest choice. This is especially true for formal funerals. On the other hand, if the rules are lax and the loved ones of the deceased prefer a less formal funeral, you can go for a collared shirt and pants. Again, the choice of colors for your attire should be conservative. Black is ideal, but neutral and dark colors will also do.
For the children the same rules apply as with the adults. Make sure that they are also dressed up in more formal clothes and neutral colors to show respect to the family of the deceased.
For the shoes, just pick a pair which will match your clothes. Stay away from shoes with bright colors, or fancy designs. As with the clothes, neutral and dark colors are the safest choice. At the same time, you should pick comfortable shoes. This is important because you can be spending a lot of time standing up or walking around. As for other accessories like jewelry, it is best to keep it simple. Avoid wearing too much jewelry, especially large noticeable pieces.
Finally, before you come into a funeral, make sure that you take note of any other traditions. This is especially true when it comes to religious funerals. For instance, there are certain religions which have particular requirements when it comes to funeral attire etiquette. Jewish funerals require head covers. Funerals for Muslims require women to don a head scarf. On the other hand, Buddhist funerals require the guests to take off their shoes upon entering the temple.
If you are unsure what to wear we recommend that you contact the family. They will be able to tell you what funeral attire etiquette you should follow, or if there are any religious or other traditions you need to consider.
Updated: May 14, 2012