The other day I was trying to figure out what to wear to my boss’s funeral- what would be appropriate as I had to speak in front of about 400 people. I went online to search and found nothing. No one ever talks about this. Sad to say, I’ve been to several funerals over the years and I always hesitate – too dressy, not dressy enough, etc. I see people wearing denim, which I think is totally inappropriate, but what are the rules to follow? Kari S.
This is an important topic, one that so many people feel uncomfortable talking about. What you wear to a funeral is all about paying respect to the family. I don’t like to ever use the words “rules” because dressing is a way to express ourselves, but when it comes to attending a funeral we want to be respectful of other’s traditions.
Here are some tips to think about before you go:
- Dress like you’re going to be giving a speech to a group of bankers. Conservative work dress is what’s appropriate for most funerals. If you think your outfit is too festive or too casual, it probably is.
- If the funeral is being held in a church, be sure to dress modestly. Cover your shoulders at least. You may even need to cover your arms if required.
- Black is not mandatory, but you can never go wrong wearing it. However, anything in a dark color will be just fine. Other options are gray, navy, brown, dark green etc.
- Avoid wearing jeans. They are just not appropriate for this type of event. They are far too casual.
- Nothing too revealing or tight such as a plunging neckline, skirt with a slit, or very short dress. Your skirt length should be at the knee. Don’t expose a lot of skin.
- Nothing flashy or bright. If your style is to wear colorful clothes, tone it down for a funeral. Don’t even wear a black dress with bright stripes or florals. This is not the time to try to bring attention to yourself. ( The only exception is if the family requests you wear a favorite color of the deceased, which happens the odd time).
- Nothing Edgy or glitzy- Leather or sequins do not belong at a funeral.
- Make sure your shoes are comfortable. Funerals can be a lot of standing and walking, so plan accordingly. Nothing too sexy or strappy. Closed toe is appropriate.
- Wear Traditional jewelry, nothing too big or flashy.
- Wear stockings- bare legs are not respectful.
- Try your outfit on the night before. If you have an outfit that you “save” as your funeral outfit, you want to make sure it still fits!
- Don’t forget to tuck some tissue in your purse and an extra one to share.
- You may need an umbrella. Check the weather.
- Turn off your cell phone before you go. It would be pretty embarrassing to have your phone go off in the middle of this solemn event!