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. This simple black dress is very appropriate for a funeral. Here is something similar.
Guidelines For What to Wear to a Funeral
- Match your dress to the emotions of the event by wearing formal, respectful clothing.
- Dress like you’re going to be giving a speech to a group of bankers, or wear something appropriate for an important job interview.
- 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 arms, or shoulders at the very least.
- 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 or just below. Don’t expose a lot of skin.
- No bare legs. Wear dark stockings or ultra sheer nude hose to show respect.
- Nothing flashy or bright. If your style is to wear colorful clothes, tone it down for a funeral. No bright colors especially red, orange, yellow which in some colors signifies a celebration.
- 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).
- Avoid loud busy patterns and prints like large stripes, polka dots, and animal prints.
- 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 shoes are appropriate.
- Wear traditional jewelry, ( gold or silver) and avoid large, flashy bling.
- 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!