What to wear to a funeral
When deciding what to wear to a funeral, the most important thing is to respect the wishes of the bereaved family. Black clothing is traditionally the most worn funeral attire, though wearing dark or muted colours is also generally considered appropriate.
The dress code for a funeral in the UK is typically quite formal:
- Dark coloured suit, smart dress or skirt
- Shirt or blouse
- Formal coat or jacket
- Black shoes
If you are unsure about what to wear, it is perfectly fine to ask an immediate family member or the funeral director for advice and guidance. The family may request a certain dress code; it may be that the deceased expressed their wishes before they passed away.
Colourful funerals and celebrations of life are becoming more popular in the UK, with guests requested to wear vibrant colours to reflect the life of the deceased. Learn more about what to wear to a colourful funeral.
Funeral attire for men
Traditional funeral attire for men often consists of:
- Smart black or dark suit
- White long-sleeved shirt with a collar
- Plain black tie
- Polished black shoes
Whilst a black suit isn’t always compulsory, muted and dark colours are generally considered appropriate. It is best to avoid wearing jeans, short-sleeved shirts and trainers.
Funeral attire for women
Traditional funeral attire for women often consists of:
- Knee length skirt or dress
- Smart plain blouse
- Cardigan or blazer
- Smart shoes
- Dark or muted coloured clothing
Similar to men’s funeral attire, black clothing isn’t always compulsory for women but it is best to wear a dark coloured skirt, dress or pair of trousers. You should choose a skirt or dress which is of appropriate length and avoid wearing any revealing outfits.
Try and keep jewellery and accessories to a minimum and if you are attending a graveside service, make sure the footwear you have chosen is appropriate. In some religions and cultures, women may wear hats to funerals.
Funeral attire for children
Children should also dress smart to a funeral; dark and subdued colours are often preferred. Traditionally, boys should wear a smart shirt and tie with trousers and shoes, whilst girls typically wear smart dresses.
What to wear to a funeral in the summer or winter
You may need to dress slightly differently depending on the time of year in which the funeral is taking place. It’s important to choose clothes that you will comfortable in as some funerals can last a few hours.
In the summer, women may wish to wear a smart skirt or dress if it is a hot day. For men, a formal suit is still typically worn but you may be allowed to take your jacket off if you become uncomfortably hot. Dark colours are still appropriate and sunglasses are generally accepted outside of the service.
If the funeral is taking place on a cold day in the winter, it’s important to wear warm clothing and extra layers, especially if you are attending a graveside service. Dark coloured coats, jackets, scarves and gloves may be worn.
Religious funeral dress code
If you are attending a religious funeral, then you may need to be aware of the customs which are followed by that particular faith. If you are unsure of the etiquette and dress code, read our articles on religious funerals.
What not to wear to a funeral
Unless the family of the deceased has stated otherwise, you should avoid wearing bright coloured or bold clothing to a funeral; if in doubt, choose something smart and neutral.
Do not wear any of the following to a funeral:
- Revealing or suggestive clothing
- Trainers or flip flops
- Printed t-shirts
- Colourful ties
- Excessive amounts of jewellery