What to wear to a funeral: Funeral attire dos and don'ts

Published: 30/3/2023

Losing a loved one can be an incredibly difficult time and attending their funeral can be even more challenging. Not only do you have to navigate through your grief but you also have to figure out what to wear to the funeral and for many this can be an overwhelming experience.   

In this article, we will guide you through the dos and don'ts of funeral attire, so you can show your respect and support while feeling comfortable.

Do: Dress conservatively

When it comes to funeral attire, it's important to dress conservatively. This means avoiding anything too revealing and inappropriate. Stick to neutral colours like black, grey, navy blue and white. These colours are classic, timeless and respectful. This might sway from that should the family ask guests to wear a specific colour that is meaningful to them.  

If you're unsure of what to wear, a simple black dress or suit is always a safe option. 

Don't: Wear anything to casual

While you don't have to wear a full-on tuxedo or evening gown, you should still try and avoid anything too casual. This means avoiding jeans, shorts, t-shirts, or sneakers,  unless the family has requested for everyone to dress casually.   

Instead, opt for dress pants or a skirt paired with a blouse or button-up shirt. For shoes, choose something comfortable and smart casual like loafers or dress shoes.

Do: Consider weather and location

Funerals can take place indoors or outdoors therefore it's important to consider the weather and location when choosing your attire. If the funeral is outdoors you might want to bring extra clothing such as a coat, scarf, or hat. Often funeral homes can be quite chilly with the air conditioning circulating, consider bringing a jacket or sweater.

Don't: Wear anything too bright or bold

While your aim is to dress respectfully, you may want to avoid anything too bright or bold.  This means no neon colours, bold patterns, or flashy jewellery, unless the family has requested particular colours.  

Funerals are about honouring and respecting the person who has passed away and supporting their family.

Do: Accessorise appropriately

Accessories can be a great way to add a personal touch to your funeral attire. For women, a simple pair of earrings or a necklace can add a touch of elegance. For men, a watch or cufflinks can be a nice touch.   

Best to avoid anything too flashy or distracting, and always check your accessories are appropriate for the occasion.

Don't: Wear anything too revealing

Avoid wearing anything too revealing or low-cut. It's best to stick to modest necklines and hemlines. 

Do: Dress comfortably

While you want to dress respectfully, you also want to be comfortable. Funerals can be long and emotionally draining, it's important to choose attire that you can wear for an extended period of time. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and avoid anything too tight or constricting.

Do: Dress appropriately for cultural and religious customs

Consider cultural and religious customs when dressing for a funeral. Different cultures and religions have their own traditions and expectations when it comes to funeral attire. In some cultures, white is the traditional colour of mourning, while in others, black is the norm. Some religions require head coverings or specific types of clothing. If you're unsure of what's appropriate, it's always best to ask a family member or close friend of the deceased for guidance.  

Dressing appropriately for a funeral is an important way to show your respect and support for the person who has passed away and their family. By following these dos and don'ts of funeral attire, you can ensure that you're dressed appropriately while feeling comfortable. Remember, the focus should be on honouring and respecting the person who has passed away.     

To find support:  

Beyond Blue provides Australians with information and support to improve their mental health. Call 1300 22 46 36 or visit beyondblue.org.au for more information.

Lifeline Australia provides Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support. Call 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au for more information.

GriefLine listens, cares and supports people experiencing loss and grief, at any stage in life. Call 1300 845 6am to midnight AEST, 7 days a week.

MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men. Call 1300 78 99 78, 24 hours / 7 days a week.

Kids Helpline is a free 24/7, confidential and private counselling service Australia wide specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years. Call 1800 55 1800.

Life Supports Counselling provides Australians with experienced counsellors & psychologists in their local area Australia-wide. Call 1300 735...

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