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What To Wear To A Funeral Or Memorial Service

Traditionally, in many cultures, black is the color of mourning, and those attending a funeral were expected to wear black clothing. These days, however, the expectations aren't so rigid.

When deciding what to wear to a funeral or memorial service, think about what you might wear to a business meeting, a job interview, or church or synagogue. While black clothing is almost always appropriate, clothing of other colors may also be worn. In general, an outfit worn to a funeral should be fairly conservative, both in terms of color and style.

Appropriate Outfits For Men To Wear To A Funeral

Men should avoid wearing jeans, short-sleeved shirts, athletic shoes, and baseball caps. Appropriate outfits for men to wear to a funeral include a suit with a tie; pants (not jeans) and a collared, button-down shirt with a tie and a belt; dress shoes or loafers (not sneakers).

Appropriate Outfits For Women To Wear To A Funeral

Women should avoid wearing overly casual or festive clothing. Appropriate outfits for women to wear to a funeral include a skirt suit or pantsuit; a skirt of appropriate length (not a mini skirt) or pants (not jeans) and a top with sleeves, a blouse, or a sweater; flats or pumps (not sneakers). In some regions, religions, and cultures, women may wear hats to funerals.

Following Religious Customs At A Funeral

In some cultures, black clothing is still traditional, such as in Eastern Orthodox traditions. In other religions and cultures, black clothing isn't required because it isn't considered a symbol of mourning, such as at a Quaker funeral. If the service is very religious, there may be additional guidelines for men’s and women’s clothing, such as head coverings for both men and women, or full-length skirts and tops for women.

If you will be attending a religious funeral and you are unsure of the etiquette, see our article Attending a Religious Funeral.

For specific information about different religions' funeral customs, see our article Religious Funeral Traditions.

State-By-State Health, Legal, And End-Of-Life Resources

Funeral Etiquette

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