It’s normal to have a clothes crisis right before attending a funeral. If we’re lucky in life, we don’t go to funerals often enough to have a standard funeral outfit to draw on. And ideally, you’d like your clothes to reflect how much you respected and cared about the person who has died.

Don’t worry: you almost definitely will already have something suitable in your wardrobe. Here, you’ll find plenty of tips, examples and funeral outfit ideas for women and men, all year round.

 

What’s an appropriate outfit for a funeral?

Funeral outfit ideas for womenAt a traditional British funeral, the standard dress code calls for smart-ish clothes in muted colours. This might sound strict, but there’s a lot of freedom within that. If you’re worried, a good rule of thumb is to dress as you would for a job interview.

Now, there’s a big caveat here, in that a lot of families ask guests for a more casual dress code these days. Or they might tell you not to wear black or gloomy colours. And at some non-Christian religious funerals (such as Hindu funerals) you’ll be asked to wear white instead. In which case, follow their wishes! But if they don’t say anything, the advice below will help you blend in at the funeral.

Here are a few overall tips on what to wear to a funeral (and what not to) before we get to the examples:

  • Dress modestly. People generally try to avoid low necklines and other ‘sexy’ outfit elements.
  • You don’t have to wear all-black. Muted shades, like blue, brown, grey, burgundy, dark purple, beige, and green are also typical. White and gentle pastel colours can be mixed in, too.
  • Keep jewellery simple. Not big and flashy. No 70s medallions here.
  • Be comfortable. You’re going to spend the whole day in this outfit! Bring layers to keep warm, as venues are often chilly. Heels are not mandatory at a funeral, either. Consider opting for a mid-height to flat shoe over a high one (it’s typically a long day with lots of standing).
  • Avoid loud colours and patterns. You might want to leave the Hawaiian shirt at home. Unless you’ve been told to wear it, of course. With bright colours, consider avoiding them or keeping it to a hint here or there unless the dress code calls for them.
  • Get out your iron. So your clothes are nice and sleek, not crumpled. Clean and shine your shoes, too. You’ll feel more comfortable if everything is as smart as it can be.

Those are the basics. Now, on to some solid funeral outfit ideas.

You don’t have to buy special clothes for a funeral – you will likely have something suitable already. No one will mind if your outfit isn’t spot-on perfect smart-casual. The important thing is that you’re there to celebrate this person’s life.

 

Funeral outfits for women

The trouble with funeral outfits for ladies is that you’re actually sort of spoiled for choice. There are a lot of different options out there. Now: the funeral outfit ideas below are just a starting point. But hopefully they will help you pick out something you’re comfortable in.

An easy funeral outfit with trousers

Smart separates are an easy go-to. This grey and black outfit for a funeral would work equally well with a skirt or even smart dark jeans instead of trousers. The turtleneck could be replaced with a blouse, shirt or plain t-shirt.

Funeral outfit with trousers

DON’T FORGET: Standard office workwear is okay! Worried about not having the right dress/shirt/shoes? Don’t be. Less-smart clothing like t-shirts and jeans can be balanced out with other smarter items, like a blazer.

4 funeral outfit ideas that are not black

You don’t have to feel wedded to monochrome colours, by the way. Here are some funeral outfit ideas that are not black:

Funeral outfit ideas - not black

A simple black outfit for a funeral

Even if the day isn’t so sunny, it’s a good idea to bring sunglasses to a funeral. That way you can cry as much as you like, with none the wiser.

An example of a funeral outfit for women.

A smart-casual funeral outfit for spring and autumn

A simple blazer can smarten up any outfit.
Easy funeral outfit with black dress

5 funeral outfit ideas for summer

In hot weather, a lot of formal attire instantly becomes unbearable to wear. But there are still plenty of funeral outfit ideas for summer:

Funeral outfit ideas for summer.

There are some rules that can help you choose what to wear to a funeral in summer, too.

  • Choose airy natural fabrics like cotton or linen to keep cool
  • Wear paler colours on top, as they reflect heat
  • Swap black for lighter colours, like grey or navy, as they’re not quite so hot to wear
  • Bring a nice shawl or wrap for when the day cools down
  • Flats or block heels are essential for outdoor services (stilettos and kitten heels tend to sink right into the soil)

 


Funeral outfits for men

For men, a suit in a muted colour (black, blue, grey, brown, etc) is perfect. Add a shirt, tie and clean smart shoes and you’re pretty much sorted.

Funeral outfits for men

If you don’t have a suit, that’s fine! Depending on the formality of the funeral, there are lots of other options. Here are a few ideas to mix-and-match:

  • On top: A nice button-down shirt or plain t-shirt/turtleneck/long-sleeved top/polo neck
  • Worn under: A blazer/cardigan/jumper/waistcoat
  • With: chinos/basic work trousers/smart dark jeans

Shoe-wise, just go as smart as you can and clean them up if possible. Colour-wise, remember that you don’t have to be all in black! Muted shades like grey, dark blue, dark green, burgundy and so on are all fine. White and pastels can be mixed in. It’s just bright shades you need to use your judgement on.

Similarly, patterns like checks, herringbone and pinstripes are good, but novelty prints and slogan tees are less usual at a funeral.

On colder days, you might want to add a coat, gloves and a scarf, as venues really can get chilly. If there’s room, you could put a jumper on under a jacket, and a coat on top of that. In summer, it’s okay to stick to just trousers and a top – although you might want to hold on to a jacket or jumper for when the day cools down.

 

One last note on funeral outfits…

One last piece of advice: don’t stress about this. So long as you make a good effort, no one will mind if your funeral outfit isn’t perfect. They probably won’t even notice! The day is about the person who has died. It’s enough that you came to pay your respects and support the family.

Now, for more tips on what to wear, take, do or say at a funeral, check out the rest of our online help centre.

 

Help from Beyond

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