Funeral Etiquette: How to Dress for a Funeral or Memorial Service
Funeral etiquette has changed over time, but there are guidelines to follow when considering how to dress for a funeral or memorial service.
Going to funeral or memorial services can be uncomfortable, especially given the emotions involved with the loss of a loved one and the consideration attendees must give to each detail, including one’s appearance. But knowing how to dress for a funeral service, along with what to say to those grieving, can ease some of the discomfort.
Although black is the traditional color for mourning in Western cultures, other cultures may have different traditions for funeral ceremonies. The most important thing to remember when choosing your attire for a memorial or funeral service is to dress in such a way that portrays respect for the deceased and their family – you certainly do not want to draw attention to your clothing.
Attire for women at a funeral or memorial service:
- A dress, a skirt and blouse, or business casual pants and a blouse
- Neutral colors, like black, grey, brown, or navy
- Choose clothing that covers your shoulders and knees
- Avoid wearing shear materials or floral prints
- Avoid wearing high-heeled or sparkly shoes
- If you plan to wear jewelry, choose something traditional and simple
Attire for men at a funeral or memorial service:
- A suit or professional pants with a collared shirt and tie
- Neutral suit, pants, and tie colors, like black, grey, brown, or navy
- Pressed white or light blue shirt
The attire for children is similar to that of adults – choose modest clothing that conveys a somber mood.
If you have any specific questions related to funeral etiquette or funeral attire, please share them in the comments area below.
Leah Yomtovian Roush is the Senior Manager of Strategic Development for Cleveland, Ohio-based eFuneral, a comprehensive and free online resource that enables those thinking about end-of-life to research, plan, and arrange a wide variety of funeral-related services. Leah is the editor of eFuneral's Online Resource Center, and she manages the company's marketing efforts and develops strategies for company growth. Leah also serves on the Boards of multiple non-profit organizations, helping them expand their reaches and increase their impacts.