As we don’t have to attend funerals very often it can be quite difficult knowing what’s appropriate to wear to a funeral which is why we’ve constructed this guide to help you.
Natural and Green Burials don’t have set standards as they differ completely from traditional funerals. Natural/Green Burials are almost the polar opposite of Traditional Funerals in every sense (to hear more about Green Burials click here).
Natural Green Burials take place outdoors, usually at the graveside and as such require you to dress weather appropriate. The important thing in a Natural Burial is to just dress to the weather. It is also wise to mention that the girls forego their high heels on the occasion in favour of either flat shoes or even wellington boots due to the uneven terrain on the burial ground. The dress code is usually requested as “come as you are” “as if you were coming to visit” and the most common sight is colourful clothing or smart casual, however a special dress code can sometimes be determined by the family as a celebration of one life service can often be reflected in the dress code
Traditional Funeral- Men
A traditional funeral is what we associate with as the typical funeral. Unless stated otherwise you generally want to wear smart, dark clothing in particular suits. A good black or dark navy suit are most appropriate but grey suits are also acceptable. Typically, close members of the deceased wear black suits whereas those that aren’t tend to wear grey or navy suits.
If you don’t already own a suit it can be quite expensive to go out and purchase one. If you are unable to afford one you can wear smart, appropriate clothing but make sure you tell the family member/s of the deceased what you’re planning to wear. They might not appreciate if you show up in certain clothing so it’s best to double check before attending.
Accompanying your suit, you should wear a clean, well-ironed white shirt. It’s important for you to look smart as a funeral is a formal occasion. A black tie is the most appropriate accessory to go along with your suit; however, a dark pattern-free tie will work just as well.
As for your shoes, you should wear black, polished, scuff-free formal shoes such as oxfords.
Before attending a funeral make sure that all your clothes and shoes are clean and looking in top condition. On top of this, you need to make sure that you yourself are looking clean and tidy. Make sure you shower and do your hair appropriately. A funeral is meant to be focused on the deceased so having an outrageous appearance will detract from that.
Depending on the time of year or weather conditions you may need a coat. With your coat, you need to make sure it is smart and of similar colour to your suit.
If the deceased was in the armed forces and you also served in the armed forces, then you may be asked to wear your uniform as a sign of respect and honour.
Traditional Funeral- Women
Women are expected to follow some general rules that men do. For instance, make sure your appearance is clean and that you wear dark, smart clothing.
Women should choose clothing that isn’t too revealing such as sleeveless dresses or items of clothing that cling to the body.
The ideal outfits include a dark coloured suit (whether that be with trousers or a skirt) or sleeved dresses. Again if you’re not sure what you can and can’t wear it’s best to ask family members of the deceased.
Accessories should be minimal and dark colours. Most women tend to take a black, small bag which seems to be most appropriate.
Depending on what time of year it is you may or may not want to wear a coat. Typically, coats are black and come down to the knee.
With your shoes, as traditional funerals can often involve watching the loved one be buried on grass, it is important that you don’t wear shoes that will sink into the grass. Instead, it would be more appropriate to wear flat shoes or wedged heels.
Hats, although not as popular as they once were, can still be seen at some funerals. If you decide to wear a hat, make sure it isn’t inappropriate.
Traditional Funeral- Children
Children should be treated exactly the same as adults. Make sure your children are looking smart and clean. Follow the guidelines above depending on your child’s gender.
If you’re ever unsure of what to wear please ask the family members of the deceased before attending. Some family members may find what you wear offensive which could unsettle the entire service.
Respect Direct Funeral Services are always here to help. If you need to arrange a funeral or have any questions we are available to help 24/7.
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