What Should Men Wear to a Funeral?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 • by Elizabeth Meyer

A few nights ago I got a desperate call from a close friend: “Can I wear sneakers to a funeral service?”

I was a little surprised that this friend, a very fashionable guy, didn’t know what to wear to a funeral. But it made me think: even if their designer jeans fit them perfectly, even if they know how to tie a Windsor knot, and even if they’ve subscribed to GQ Magazine for years, lots of guys just don’t know what to wear to a funeral service. (And for those without designer jeans or GQ subscriptions, the challenges can be even greater.) Normally, I would've directed him to my new video, “Five Tips for what Men Should Wear to a Funeral," and point out to him that sneakers are generally not appropriate.

I knew, however, that my friend had just had foot surgery and was uncomfortable in dress shoes. And so—whether he didn’t have the right shoes or didn’t own a suit jacket—I reminded him of the crucial point that we often forgot when we’re stressing over what to wear to a funeral: The most important thing is not what you are wearing, but the fact that you are there! I emphasized to my friend that, although sneakers are typically a “no-no” (and he would be best in dark-colored shoes rather than multi-colored running or white tennis shoes), in this case he should focus less on his footwear and more on comfort: the comfort of his feet and the comfort he’d bring to the family by attending the funeral.

Funerals are about remembering the person who died and being there for the grieving family. We attend funerals to show our love and support. Proper attire is one way to show this consideration, but don’t sweat the details. The family is going through a tough time, and your support throughout the process is more important than the shoes you’re wearing.