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what to wear to funeral

What to Wear to a Funeral to Show Respect and Dignity

There are important considerations you should know when choosing what to wear to a funeral, such as the color.
Apr 29, 2024

Choosing what to wear to a funeral can be difficult, especially if you’ve never attended one before. When attending a funeral, it's essential to pay respect to the deceased and their family by knowing how to dress appropriately. So, what do you wear to a funeral?

While the traditional black attire remains a symbol of mourning in many cultures, modern funeral etiquette allows for some flexibility. Sometimes, the family of the deceased may set a certain color as a dress code. If you are unaware of what to wear to a funeral, it’s important to double-check with them first. 

Here's a comprehensive guide on what to wear to a funeral, helping you navigate this sensitive occasion with dignity and respect.

Meaning Behind Color in Funeral

Choosing what to wear to a funeral isn’t only about the style but also the color. While black has long been associated with mourning in Western cultures, the significance of colors can vary depending on cultural, religious, and regional customs.


Black is the most traditional color of mourning in many Western cultures. It symbolizes solemnity, respect, and grief. Wearing black to a funeral is a sign of mourning and solidarity with the grieving family. 


Gray is a neutral and understated color that is often chosen as an alternative to black for funeral attire. It conveys a sense of respect and solemnity while offering a slightly softer tone than black. 


In some cultures, white is worn to funerals as a symbol of purity, innocence, and rebirth. It can represent the hope for eternal life or the belief in the deceased's ascension to a higher plane. 

Navy Blue

Navy blue is another common color worn to funerals, particularly for those who prefer a darker alternative to black. It signifies dignity, stability, and trustworthiness.

Appropriate Funeral Attire for Men

When it comes to deciding what to wear to a funeral, men should choose attire that shows a gesture of respect towards the deceased and their grieving loved ones. Here’s a guide to appropriate funeral attire for men, ensuring you pay your respects with grace and reverence.

1. Suit

Wearing a suit is the cornerstone of traditional funeral attire for men. Opt for a dark-colored suit in black, charcoal gray, or navy blue. The suit should be well-fitted and tailored to your body, exuding a sense of formality and respect.

A suit jacket adds a layer of dignity to your ensemble, symbolizing your acknowledgment of the solemnity of the occasion.

2. Tie

A small yet significant accessory, a tie completes the formal look of a suit. Choose a conservative tie in a solid color or subtle pattern. 

Dark shades like black, gray, or navy blue are appropriate choices, as they convey a sense of reverence and solemnity. The tie adds a touch of sophistication to your attire, signaling your respect for the deceased and their loved ones.

3. Shirt

A crisp, white dress shirt is the ideal complement to a dark-colored suit and tie. White symbolizes purity and solemnity, reflecting the somber nature of the occasion. 

Ensure your shirt is clean, pressed, and well-fitted, showing an image of respect and professionalism. The simplicity of a white dress shirt allows the focus to remain on the significance of the event rather than on flashy attire.

4. Footwear

Closed-toe dress shoes are the most appropriate footwear choice for a funeral. Opt for polished black or dark brown shoes that complement the color of your suit. Avoid wearing casual footwear such as sneakers or sandals, as they detract from the formal atmosphere of the occasion. 

Your shoes should be clean and well-maintained, reflecting your attention to detail and respect for the solemnity of the event.

5. Accessories

Minimalist accessories can add a touch of refinement to your funeral attire without overshadowing the significance of the occasion. Consider wearing a classic watch, subtle cufflinks, or a simple pocket square to complement your ensemble. 

Read also: How to Dress in Your 30s with Confidence and Sophistication

Appropriate Funeral Attire for Women

There are several options available when choosing what to wear to a funeral for women. Here is a guide to help you choose the right outfit for this solemn occasion:

1. Dresses

A simple, knee-length or longer dress in a dark or muted color is a classic choice for a funeral – black dress for a funeral is mostly common. Opt for styles that are modest and conservative, with minimal embellishments or patterns. Avoid anything too form-fitting or revealing, and steer clear of bright colors or bold prints.

2. Skirts and Blouses

If you prefer not to wear a dress, a skirt and blouse combination can be equally appropriate. Choose a knee-length or longer skirt paired with a blouse in a dark or subdued color. Avoid overly casual fabrics like denim, and opt for materials that are more formal, such as cotton, silk, or wool.

3. Pantsuits

For a more tailored look, consider wearing a pantsuit to the funeral. Choose dress pants in a dark color, such as black, navy, or charcoal gray, paired with a matching blazer or jacket. This option is both elegant and practical, providing comfort and ease of movement during the service.

4. Outerwear

If the weather calls for it, you may need to layer with a coat or jacket. Opt for a simple, understated style that complements your outfit, such as a trench coat or wool pea coat. Stick to dark colors like black, navy, or dark gray, and avoid anything too flashy or attention-grabbing.

5. Footwear

Choose closed-toe shoes that are comfortable for standing and walking. Flats, low heels, or dressy boots are all appropriate options. Avoid anything too casual, such as sneakers or sandals, and opt for styles that are understated and conservative.

6. Accessories

Keep accessories minimal and understated to maintain a respectful demeanor. A simple necklace, stud earrings, or small bracelet can add a touch of elegance to your outfit without being overly flashy. Avoid large statement pieces or anything that may detract from the solemnity of the occasion.

7. Hair and Makeup

Keep your hair and makeup natural and understated. Opt for a simple hairstyle that is neat and polished and avoid anything too elaborate or attention-grabbing. Choose makeup that enhances your features without being overly dramatic, and avoid bright or bold colors.

Read also: How to Style Loafers: 5 Ideas for Effortlessly Chic Looks

Appropriate Funeral Attire for Children

Deciding on what to wear to a funeral for children has its own challenges. Here is a thoughtful guide to help you find the right attire for your children to a funeral:

1. Comfort Comes First

Comfort should be the primary consideration when choosing what to wear to a funeral for children. Opt for clothing made from soft, breathable fabrics that allow them to move freely and comfortably. 

Avoid anything scratchy, tight, or restrictive, as children may find it difficult to focus on the event if they're uncomfortable in their clothing.

2. Keep it Simple

Choose simple and understated clothing for children to wear to a funeral. Solid colors or subtle patterns are appropriate, while flashy or overly embellished outfits should be avoided. The goal is to show respect for the occasion without drawing unnecessary attention to their attire.

3. Appropriate Footwear

Closed-toe shoes like dress shoes or flats are ideal to give support and protection while allowing them to move around freely. Avoid sandals, flip-flops, or sneakers unless they are exceptionally formal and understated.

4. Conservative Styles

Select clothing with conservative styles that reflect the somber atmosphere of a funeral. For boys, a button-down shirt paired with dress pants and a dark jacket is a respectful choice. Girls can wear a simple dress or skirt with a blouse, avoiding anything too casual or flashy.

Read also: 9 Stylish Winter Outfits for Men 2024: Embrace the Chill

Watches to Complete the Funeral Attire

When attending a funeral, every detail of your attire matters, including your choice of accessories. A watch is not only a practical accessory but also a subtle yet significant addition to your funeral attire. 

Here are some timeless and respectful watches to consider that will complement your funeral attire with grace and dignity.

Ball Watch Co. Fireman Enterprise Black Ref. NM2098C-S20-BK

Ball Watch Co. Fireman Enterprise Black Ref. NM2098C-S20-BK
Ball Watch Co. Fireman Enterprise Black Ref. NM2098C-S20-BK

The idea of timeless elegance is probably the best-suited one to choose as a watch for a funeral, like the Ball Watch Co. Fireman Enterprise Black. Its sleek black dial and stainless steel case exude a sense of solemnity and reverence, perfectly complementing the somber atmosphere of the occasion.

Price: $890.00 USD

Squale 50 ATMOS Black Opaco - Super Matte

Squale 50 ATMOS Black Opaco - Super Matte
Squale 50 ATMOS Black Opaco - Super Matte

The Squale 50 ATMOS Black Opaco is a timepiece of exquisite elegance and understated sophistication, perfectly suited for the somber occasion of a funeral. The minimalist design, with its unadorned dial and simple indices, speaks to a sense of quiet dignity and respect. 

Price: $1,095.00 USD

Steinhart Architect Black

Steinhart Architect Black
Steinhart Architect Black


When it comes to refined simplicity, the Steinhart Architect Black could be your best choice. The watch exudes a sense of solemnity and reverence, perfectly complementing the somber atmosphere of the occasion with its sleek black dial and minimalist design. 

Price: $840.00 USD

Final Thought

Selecting what to wear to a funeral can be easy and challenging at the same time as you need to be aware of the dress code. Your clothes for a funeral should reflect respect and dignity. Remember, what to wear to a funeral is not just about how you look, but also about the respect and empathy you show to those who are mourning.

Read also: 6 Tips on How to Match Watches with Clothes

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