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What Should I Wear to a Funeral?



Widow at a funeral

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Question: What Should I Wear to a Funeral? Do I have to wear black? What if the family of the deceased asks visitors to wear bright colors?


Because a funeral is a somber occasion, it is best to dress in conservative colors and styles. You don’t have to wear black, but it is acceptable to do so. You will probably want to avoid a bright floral dress or necktie. It is also not appropriate to show too much skin. You don't want to draw attention with cleavage or a skirt that is too short.

Women may wear skirts and blouses, dresses, or pantsuits. A hat is optional, but if it obstructs the view of someone during the services, it should be removed. A gravesite service may involve walking in grass or uneven ground, so keep this in mind when selecting your shoes. 

Men may wear suits or dress trousers, dress shirts, and jackets. If a hat is worn, it must be removed when indoors. Choose a subtle tie rather than one in a vibrant print, unless there is a reason to do otherwise.

There are exceptions. It is acceptable to dress in a military uniform for the funeral of a veteran. If your religion or the religion of the deceased calls for a specific style of dress, follow the rules. 

Many people consider funerals a celebration of life rather than a sad end-of-life occasion. If this is the case, the family of the deceased may ask people to dress in a more upbeat manner. Heed their request. 

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