What should men wear to a funeral? While it might seem like a question with an obvious answer – a black suit – there are some subtle nuances and things to bear in mind.
Of course, when attending a funeral, it’s important to dress appropriately. You want to show respect for the deceased and their family.
So we’ve put together this list of guidelines for appropriate funeral attire for men.
What to wear to a funeral
- Wear dark colours, such as black or navy blue. These are traditional colours of mourning that are worn by close friends and family members of the deceased person. If you don’t have black clothing in your wardrobe, you can also try wearing dark grey or brown. These colours are also considered appropriate funeral attire for men.
- A dark colored suit is the best attire for men. Ideally you would wear a black or dark grey suit jacket with a white shirt. However if you don’t have a formal suit, you can also wear a plain coat or jacket ideally with a plain shirt.
- A white dress shirt is the best option when it comes to pairing your suit with a shirt. You could also wear a blue (sky blue or navy blue both work) or even grey shirt. If you don’t have a shirt that fits the bill, you could also wear a plain and neutral coloured t-shirt with no logo or print.
- It’s good form to wear a tie, specifically a black tie. Again, if your wardrobe doesn’t feature a black tie, you could also wear a plain and dark tie.
- Funeral footwear should be smart or smart casual. Ideally, you would wear a pair of black leather dress shoes. However you might also go for dark brown shoes. Avoid fashion footwear such as trainers or sneakers, unless they are fairly plain and muted colours.
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What to avoid wearing for mens funeral attire
When attending a funeral, it is important to dress appropriately. While you may want to express your love and respect for the deceased by wearing something bright or flashy, this can cause a distraction from the ceremony itself.
Unless the mourners have specifically requested bright colours (which isn’t entirely unusual in some cultures, and even in some traditional Western funerals these days), you should assume that traditional funeral attire is the order of the day.
With this in mind, best to avoid:
- Bright colours (especially red)
- Bold patterns
- Print or logos, especially those that might be deemed offensive
- Casual footwear such as fashion trainers, flip flops or working footwear (e.g: wellington boots or work boots)
Your presentation at a funeral
Beyond the funeral attire for men, you should also take care of your presentation. You want to show respect to the deceased’s family and look your best.
This means that any dress shirts should be ironed, suits should be clean and ties should be free of stains.
Aim to be well groomed also. So shave if you need to, or trim your beard to be presentable.
Semi-Formal Attire for Funerals
Some funerals might call for semi-formal wear. But what does this mean? In general it still means that you should aim to dress smart, suit jackets will likely still be expected.
But there may be less rigid expectations in terms of formal attire. You should still focus on dark and muted colours, unless the service specifies otherwise.
You can wear a blazer with dress pants and a tie or bow tie in dark or muted colours such as black or navy blue; these colours are more suitable for funerals than bright ones like red or white. You should also avoid patterns on your shirt or tie; subtle patterns are best suited for semi-formal attire at funerals because they add interest without being too distracting from the solemnity of the event itself.
Casual Attire for Funerals
Not every funeral or memorial service is going to be a formal occasion. So what do you wear if the invitation says the funeral dress code is “casual”?
On this occasion, you may want to wear jeans, dark trousers or khakis with a collared shirt and maybe even some smart shoes. You can also wear dark jeans with a button-up shirt, polo shirt or blazer if you want something more formal than just plain old casual clothes.
Again, focus on presentation even if the approach is more casual funeral attire. Clean, well presented and avoiding bold colours and patterns will still be most likely preferred.
If there’s no indication of what type of attire is appropriate, err on the side of caution and stick with something more conservative–you don’t want anyone thinking that you’re trying too hard.
- Accessories are an important part of your funeral attire. They can be used to add a personal touch and make you stand out from the crowd, but they should be simple and muted in color.
- Watch: A watch is a great accessory for any man’s wardrobe, but at funerals it’s best not to wear one with too much bling or other flashy details that might distract from what is supposed to be a solemn occasion.
- Belt: Your belt should match the rest of your outfit (black or brown), but beyond that there isn’t much else to consider when choosing it–just make sure it fits well!
- Handkerchief: If you choose not to wear a tie with your suit jacket during this occasion, bring along a white linen handkerchief instead; this will add some colour without being too distracting from the rest of your outfit or seeming disrespectful toward those who have passed away recently (or long ago)
Whether you choose formal, semi-formal, or casual attire, remember to keep your outfit simple, conservative, and well-fitted.
Avoid bright colours, flashy patterns, or clothing that is too casual or revealing. Dress modestly and avoid clothing that is too revealing.
And remember to keep accessories simple and muted in colour.
It’s important to remember that the dress code for funerals can vary depending on the culture and religion of the deceased and their family.
In some cultures, bright colors are worn to celebrate the life of the deceased, while in others, black is the traditional color of mourning.
Be sure to do your research and ask the family if you are unsure of what is appropriate.
Other things to remember
In addition to dressing appropriately, it’s important to be respectful and courteous at a funeral.
Turn off your phone or put it on silent, avoid taking photos – especially of mourners, and be mindful of your behaviour. Avoid getting too drunk at the wake or memorial service, and definitely don’t bad mouth the deceased!
Offer your condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, and be there to support them in their time of grief.
In conclusion, dressing appropriately for a funeral is a way to show respect for the deceased and their family. Whether you choose formal, semi-formal, or casual attire, remember to keep your outfit simple, conservative, and well-fitted.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are dressed appropriately and that you are showing the respect that is due to the deceased and their family.