Funeral Attire: Do’s and Don’ts

Posted on March 5, 2018 by Clarissa Brown under Funeral
A question that often arises in our industry is, “What is appropriate attire for funeral services?”

The answer can vary based on lifestyle, family or religious traditions of the person who has passed. If you are unsure of what to wear for an upcoming service, we have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to consider when choosing your attire.


Rack of suit jackets



Ask the family.

No matter the style of service, it’s important to always respect the wishes of the family.

The family members are in charge of funeral planning and arrangements for their loved one. The style of service– whether a formal, traditional service or a more laid back celebration of life– can be a good indicator for attire expectations.

Be conservative.

During a memorial service, the attention should revolve around the person that has passed.

This is why it is best to be modest. Cover up and keep it simple. A common rule of thumb is to dress as if you are attending a business meeting, a job interview, church or synagogue.

Opt for darker clothing.

It is traditional in western culture to wear dark colors such as black, gray, purple, etc. while mourning the loss of a loved one.

Opting for darker colors is generally the safer choice. However, on rare occasions, a family may request that guests wear a specific color that was special to their loved one. Again, there is no harm in asking the family.

Be considerate of the culture.

As mentioned previously, families can choose the style of service in which to honor their loved one. These services can vary based on the lifestyle, the religious background and/or the ethnic roots of the deceased.

When taking the time to learn about one’s cultural background, you can learn a lot about the ways in which to honor their life. In doing so, you might also learn the most appropriate way to dress.

Check the weather forecast.

This is especially important if you are needed to attend an outdoor burial service. Keeping in mind the advice to stay “covered up,” you should also remember to dress according to the weather. The last thing you want to worry about is freezing without a coat, getting drenched without an umbrella, or becoming over-heated in the hot summer sun.

In addition to dressing with the outdoors in mind, it is important to note that high heels are pretty inconvenient to wear in a cemetery with soft, muddy ground.


Don’t: Empty clothing hangers on rack


Dress rebelliously.

This is not the time to dress flashy, stand out or make a daring fashion statement. Avoid any jewelry, patterns, colors or cuts that call attention to yourself.

Whether an open-casket ceremony or not, the service should revolve around the individual that has passed. As a guest, it is best to blend into the crowd as you pay your respects.

Over-think it.

Don’t spend too much time stressing over your clothing choices.

You are more than likely to have something already in your closet that will work. If you think your outfit seems fairly conservative, formal, and darker in color, it will probably do the trick.

Err on the side of causal.

Ditch those jeans for a nice pair of slacks.

It is better to be over-dressed than it is to be under-dressed because it shows that you truly care. If you are ever unsure, always opt for the more formal choice.

Forget the purpose.

The funeral is about one person and one person only, and you are there to honor and celebrate the life of that person.

If you have chosen respectful attire in which to pay your respects, you have done the right thing.


If you have a question regarding funeral attire that we did not address in this blog, feel free to leave a comment or send us a private message on our Facebook page.

Clarissa Brown

Clarissa joined the Millard Family in September of 2017 as the Media Marketing Coordinator for Millard Family Chapels. In addition to blogging, Clarissa creates content, designs digital and print ads, and manages social media on behalf of Millard Family Chapels and Parker-Millard Funeral Service & Crematory.


2 Responses to Funeral Attire: Do’s and Don’ts

  1. I appreciate it when you said that traditionally, people wear darker clothes for the funeral, however, families can also suggest a color that was special to the deceased. My friend asked me to arrange the funeral of her dad for her and so I am worried about these things. After all, I know the man, and I know that he loves pale yellow. I might suggest everyone to consider that color after I get the funeral planning done.

  2. Clarissa Brown Clarissa Brown says:

    We do see that from time to time! It is a truly powerful sight to see when everyone arrives in a color that was so special to the one who passed.
    It is a beautiful way to celebrate one’s life.

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