What Is Not Appropriate Funeral Attire?

Monday, June 28, 2021

What you wear to a funeral matters. You want to respect the departed, you don't want to attract attention to yourself, and your outfit will be captured in any photos taken at the event. 

Losing a loved one is hard enough, don't stress yourself out even more over what to wear to the service.

While the old rule of wearing all black doesn't necessarily apply to every funeral service nowadays, there are some general rules to stick to when choosing your funeral attire. Keep reading for a general guide to follow when picking out your outfit. 

Wear Muted Colors

Your safest bet is to wear all black. However, in most situations, you can wear other muted colors like navy, brown, dark grey, and beige. 

The biggest point to remember is to not wear anything that will draw attention to you. This means no bright colors (unless requested by the family/survivors hosting the service), bold patterns, or large logos. 

Dress Conservatively

Along with not drawing attention to yourself with color, don't distract from the deceased loved one by showing too much skin. The general rule of thumb is to wear what you would wear to church.

For the ladies, this means no plunging necklines, open backs, or short skirts. For the men, no shorts and athletic wear. 


Shoes should be formal, while also taking into account where the service is held, as not all services are held entirely inside the funeral home. Ladies might want to wear heels to go with their dress, but if the service takes place outside on grass, bring along a change of flats.

In addition, if you do end up wearing heels, opt for a closed-toe or a shorter heel. If you would wear your shoes to the club, you probably shouldn't wear them to a funeral. 

For the men, don't wear your summer sandals or your favorite sporty sneakers. To show respect from head to toe, wear a formal shoe like a loafer or an oxford-type shoe. 

Limit Jewelry

Leaving big and noisy jewelry pieces at home. Some necklaces and bracelets can be loud when you walk or move, which can annoy other funeral guests.

Hair and Makeup

A funeral is not the time and place for you to try out a bright, colorful eyeshadow look. Not only is it distracting, but it's also not practical, as you might cry during the service. If you are planning to wear makeup, stick with a natural look, and go for waterproof eye makeup.

Hair should be simple. Those with shorter hair should go for a clean look. Those with longer hair can try out a modest updo or a half-up, half-down hairstyle. Like with all aspects of your outfit, your hair should be respectful and not distracting from the memorial event. 

Exceptions to Traditional Funeral Attire

Not all funerals aim to be completely sad. Some families opt to throw a celebration of life instead of a traditional service. 

For these types of services, families might want you to wear all white or bright colors. Maybe you want to wear the shirt from the concert you saw with them. Some might want you to wear the jersey of the departed's favorite sports team. It really depends on what the family wants. 

When in doubt, ask what you should wear. This will save both you and the family from any awkwardness or embarrassment at the memorial service. 

What To Wear To a Funeral

The main thing to remember when it comes to funeral attire is to keep it simple and keep it subdued. In most cases, you shouldn't wear bright colors or revealing tops or dresses. If you have to ask yourself if your outfit is appropriate, it probably isn't.

If you are someone you know recently lost a loved one and need help planning a service, reach out to Schumacher and Benner in Pottstown, PA. We offer traditional funeral services as well as cremation. If you have any questions, we are here to help.

At Schumacher & Benner Funeral Home and Crematory, we want to take care of you and your family in any way possible. Our services include traditional funeral services, celebration of life services, cremations, selection of memorial and headstones, and more.  

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