Funerals are sometimes a celebration, sometimes mourning, and oftentimes both. What the attendants wear is vital to the ceremony being what the family and the deceased would have wanted, and that dress code can be very fickle.
Attending a traditional funeral, a woman should wear darker clothes, generally in the form of a modest dress or dress pants and blouse. When going to a celebration of life, a woman should wear brighter colors in the same fashion. A white button-down with dark dress pants is another option as well.
It can be hard to know what is appropriate to wear when honoring a deceased loved one, not to mention what is a good outfit for one. In this article, you will learn not just how to dress appropriately for this important occasion, but how to dress well for it. Read on to learn how to pick out an outfit that is stylish yet conservative for a funeral.
What Should a Woman Wear to a Funeral?
There are three stylish yet conservative outfits for a funeral women can wear, including:
- Black dress with a dark grey wool overcoat
- White button-down with dark dress pants
- Blue blouse with a dark blue short skirt
Women have many different options to choose from when it comes to funeral dress. With no guidelines for the event, a woman should generally wear black or dark-colored dress clothes. These should be conservative and modest and not attention-drawing.
Celebrations of life can be extremely diverse occasions for a dress. For these occasions, women typically should wear bright colors and can have on articles of clothing that are dressy and complement the theme.
This article will discuss these topics in more depth:
- What is inappropriate to wear to a funeral?
- Can a woman wear black jeans to a funeral?
- What color should you not wear to a funeral?
Whichever type of funeral you go to, be sure to know that this event is not about you and you are not trying to show off, rather you are coming in an honoring fashion.
What is Inappropriate to Wear to a Funeral?
At traditional funerals, people are dressing for a somber and respectful event. Women should not wear bright colors, revealing clothes, flashy jewelry, or casual clothes to these events. You do not want to stand out at a funeral because it could be easily misconstrued that you are making the event about you instead of the deceased.
Clothes that are too casual include spandex, sweatpants/sweatshirts, t-shirts, or blue jeans. Clothing that is too dressy includes formal gowns, low-cut shirts, mini-skirts, or tight cocktail dresses. A woman should also consider her make-up (if she wears it) with these parameters as well, not too flashy as to draw attention.
At celebrations of life, a lot more is appropriate than at traditional funerals. Celebrations of life are all about being thankful for a person’s life and enjoying memories of them, rather than strictly mourning. As such, they are much more casual. Outfits for celebrations of life are more colorful and not as formal compared to traditional funerals.
Some general dress rules about these funerals are: do not wear anything black, don’t wear anything too revealing, and do not wear anything with obscenities on it. These events can also be themed, like a sports theme if they were an athlete, and in these cases follow the above rules and do not wear anything off theme.
Can a Woman Wear Black Jeans to a Funeral?
The question of how formal is formal and how casual is casual hardly has a more important event conflict than at funerals. Jeans, t-shirts, and open-toed shoes can be worn in a number of different settings. Black jeans, in particular, can be quite particular. Traditional funerals can be even more so.
Women can wear black jeans to a traditional funeral if they are asked to, or if the funeral is set to be more casual and they wear a nicer shirt, such as a blouse and maybe a blazer. These jeans should always be plain black, however, with no designs on them at all.
Women can wear black jeans to a celebration of life if they are asked to, if it fits with the theme, if they can find a way to pair it with brighter clothes to make it more cheery, or if they are a much lighter pair than dark black. Black jeans are harder to make work at a celebration, but it can be done if it’s all you have on hand.
What Color Should You Not Wear to a Funeral?
Colors are wildly important to a traditional funeral. You do not want to stand out in the crowd, but rather be unified with them in their collective distress. It is very easy to offend someone at a traditional funeral if you do not take care to consider your color scheme. There are a number of colors you should not wear to these funerals.
Colors such as bright blue, hot pink, red, white by itself, green, and lavender should never be worn to a traditional funeral. In general, you want to avoid bright colors or even colorful assortments at all. Traditional funerals demand darker attire, and black and dark greys are always a safe bet.
Celebrations of life are a lot more flexible in terms of color scheme, and you are a lot less likely to offend someone if you miss the dress code. These events are casual and attempting to be fun, so it would be wise to try and adhere to the spirit of that when looking for colors that work and throwing out ones that do not.
You should generally not wear black, dull colors, or overly bright colors to a celebration of life. An example of an overly bright color would be neon green gym shorts. There are caveats to these things, most especially with themed funerals, but as long as the colors adhere to the theme, you should be fine.
3 Stylish yet Conservative Outfits for a Funeral
Here we will get into 3 ideas for outfits a woman could wear to a funeral. Use these ideas as they are, or use them for inspiration for another. These outfits are flexible, and some mixing and matching should be okay with any outfit picked out. Just adhere to the dress code of the funeral with any substitutions and the outfit will work well.
These outfits have not been picked out for themed funerals. Some examples of themed funerals would be a celebration of life that was baseball themed, a musician themed funeral, or a Halloween themed one. For a baseball theme, you might end up wearing a ball cap with the deceased favorite team and a pinstripe uniform, for example.
Below you will learn more about three different conservative outfits and types of funerals they are best for. Whichever kind of funeral you are attending, keep the deceased in mind as well as the setting.
Black Dress with a Dark Grey Wool Overcoat
The first outfit is a long black dress with a simple necklace, dark sunglasses (if you want them) a dark grey wool overcoat if it is winter and dark high heels. You could also pair this with lighter jewelry if you wanted. The shoes could be interchanged with grey heels, or the dress could be lighter if you wore a black overcoat.
This outfit is great for traditional funerals, as it fits both the color scheme and formality of the occasion. If you wanted to ensure everything matched your color scheme, you could get a black phone case and handbag for the occasion as well. It is simple, elegant and respectful, a good choice for almost every traditional funeral.
White Button Down with Dark Dress Pants
A good outfit for both celebrations of life and traditional funerals, a white button-down shirt tucked into dark grey/black dress pants and black dress shoes or dark heels should be a strong go-to option. A dark overcoat could make it work for more strict traditional funerals, and there is a plethora of jewelry to be tastefully paired with this outfit.
For celebrations of life, brighter jewelry or more colorful shoes could work well with this outfit. You could even opt for open-toe shoes for this type of funeral. You could pick a shirt without a collar for a celebration of life, and this would work very well as well. This is an outfit that is extremely hard to go wrong with, no matter where you go.
All in all, this is the most versatile outfit on the list and the simplest. It uses traditional colors in a way that applies across the board, and the shirt can easily be swapped out with a colorful one if the funeral demands it. If you are not sure what would be right to wear for a funeral, or if you happen to need to go to two back to back, this is your pick.
Blue Blouse with a Dark Blue Short Skirt
For the third outfit, you have an outfit especially for celebrations of life. A blue blouse paired with a darker blue short skirt, as well as white or blue heels and some bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. This would be a hard one to fly at a traditional funeral, but for most celebrations of life (with no theme), it would be perfect.
With this outfit, you can lay on the jewelry a little more thickly, but do not go too far with the jewelry. This is a great outfit for summer funerals and indoor ones, but it won’t work well for winter ones. Keep in mind that you will not be able to change your outfit once you get to the event.
That being said, this is easily modifiable for winter funerals. You could wear the same color scheme with just a longer skirt with a long-sleeved shirt, and could even add on a thick and colorful overcoat to keep you warm while you are outside. Stockings would also be a wise addition in cooler climates.
All in all, there are a number of different outfits to be worn in the event of a funeral, and outfits of many different colors and formalities. You should pick according to the event and what is suitable to the family of the deceased always, and if need be ask for their advice on what is and is not appropriate for the important occasion.
Whichever kind of funeral you attend, the biggest advice on picking the right outfit is to be respectful to the desires of the deceased, their family, and the event to honor their life.