What is an appropriate way to dress to attend a funeral?

What is an appropriate way to dress to attend a funeral?

Appropriate funeral attire depends principally on the type of funeral you will be attending.

Appropriate traditional funeral attire for men and women

For a traditional funeral, mourners normally wear formal clothes in dark colours. Black has been the accepted norm for funeral attire in the past. Nowadays, however, any sombre dark colour, like brown, grey or even dark navy blue are suitable.

Appropriate funeral clothing for men is a work suit, worn with a plain white shirt and a discreet tie. Shoes should be simple, black, and impeccably polished. Ladies should wear a skirt or trouser suit, or a simple dress with a skirt to below the knee. Always wear stockings or tights, and shoes with low heels and closed toes. Use little jewellery and accessories.

This may all sound rather outdated. However, follow these guidelines unless the family have specifically stated that formal attire is not required. It would be disrespectful to turn up in casual dress.

What to wear to funerals of different religious beliefs

Most families celebrating a Church of England or an Orthodox funeral would expect mourners to conform to the above guidelines. Catholic funerals no longer require head coverings. However, many ladies of this faith use a black hat or a veil as a sign of respect of the dead.

At a Jewish funeral, all the men usually wear skullcaps. Kippahs are frequently passed out to non-Jewish mourners before going into the synagogue. So don't worry if you don't have one. Women do not attend a traditional Muslim funeral. However, this is now changing. Wear a long skirt and a high necked blouse with long sleeves. To enter the mosque you must cover your head and hair with a scarf. Both men and women must remove their shoes before entering the mosque. So, make sure that you have decent socks on. This is also true before going into the gurdwara for a Sikh funeral, and here both men and women cover their heads. White casual clothing is appropriate funeral attire in the Hindu faith.

Suitable clothing for a celebration of life

Many people, of different religious beliefs, are opting for a celebration of life ceremony rather than a traditional funeral. On these occasions,  bright happy colours are appropriate to wear. Some families choose a theme colour, often the preferred shade of the deceased. Some even have themed dress celebrations. Normally the family will advise the theme with anticipation. If you feel uncomfortable going all in pink, or as a Viking,  at least wear a token accessory as a sign of respect for the wishes of the family.