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Funeral Dress Code 101

We all know that we’re going to die, but in reality we just don’t expect it. So when friends and family do actually die, it is a great shock and loss, and we’re totally unprepared for it. The last thing on anyone’s mind is what they should wear to a funeral, yet the day rolls around and we find that not only do we have nothing to wear, but we’re not even sure what’s appropriate. There’s no one to ask and we throw something on hoping that it’s going to be ok.

My trusty friend Alison Triffett from Style Counsel has come to the rescue. Here’s her thoughts on what to wear to a funeral, as well as a handy style guide for you. I hope you find it useful.

Alison Triffett - Style Counsel
What to wear to a funeral by Alison Triffett – Style Counsel

I know. It’s not really the kind of event you get all excited about dressing up for, but it IS one occasion when dress-codes need to be considered so you really do want to be sure you get it right…

No one is ever truly ready for a funeral. And when a loved one passes away, the last thing you will want to do is go shopping for clothes. That’s why always having on hand a few key classic basics (even if you rarely need to wear them in your everyday life) is always a good idea.

Keeping it classic is the key. Whatever colour you decide on, always keep in mind these words when choosing your outfit: RESPECT. MODESTY. CONSERVATIVE. Funerals are never the time for high-fashion or sex-appeal. Please…No plunging necklines, cleavage, sky-high statement stilettos or stand-out-from-the-crowd dressing of any description.

1. No, you don’t HAVE to wear black. In fact, some people specifically ask that you don’t. But if the family have made no formal requests for you to wear a particular colour, black (or navy and dark colours in general) are generally always safe.

2. Yes, you can wear white or light colours – just like you can also wear these to a wedding. But again, the key is to always keep it conservative, modest and respectful. You don’t want to be the focus of attention for any reason. You are there to pay your respects and celebrate someone else’s life. It’s not your time to shine in your lovely latest floral number. Oh, and in summer, no sheer floaty sun-dresses with visible bra-straps or cleavage – ever.

3. No jeans – for girls or guys. Stick to suit-type pants and dress-shoes. Guys, a suit is always best, but at the very least, suit pants, shirt and a tie is will also work.

4. What do the kids wear? Funerals do often take us by surprise and we find ourselves making a mad dash to the mall to find something for the kids to wear. After all, we don’t want grandma turning over in her grave at the wild dress choices of young people, now do we?  Here are some basic guidelines: no blue denim, no minis, no slogan tees, and definitely no thongs. Try black jeans or chinos with a shirt and smart shoes for boys. A pretty frock for the girls, but again, nothing too strappy, short, bold or fluro.