How To Dress Appropriately for a Funeral

Visiting a funeral home for a funeral service or a visitation is a time to grieve and support the family who has lost a loved one. And, while it's also a time to dust off your formal attire and look your best, it isn't an opportunity to dress in a way for people to notice you. Although funeral attire customs have become less structured in recent years, it's still appropriate to keep your outfit understated and avoid wearing anything too flashy. Brightly colored apparel doesn't have the stigma it used to, but etiquette expert Peggy Post says that for bright apparel to be appropriate, it must be "in good taste." Here are some hints on how to dress the right way.


Women have a wide range of suitable clothing options for funeral-related events, including dresses, skirt-and-blouse combinations and business-style suits. Dark colors such as black, gray and navy blue are always appropriate, but women can also wear brighter-colored outfits with muted patterns. Jewelry such as earrings, necklaces and bracelets are acceptable, but should follow the same approach of being understated. Women can wear high-heeled shoes, flats or boots that suit their overall outfit. In general, women should adhere to the side of caution; while wearing a bright outfit might not technically rub anyone the wrong way, it's always the safest bet to dress on the subdued side as a sign of respect for the deceased and the family in mourning.


Men who attend a funeral event can't go wrong by dressing in a black, dark gray, brown, or navy blue suit paired with a white shirt and a conservative tie. However, it's also possible to wear a lighter-colored suit if the season dictates it; for example, a tan or light gray suit is appropriate for a spring or summer funeral. Although wearing a suit is typically the best bet, men can also wear slacks and a sport coat, but once again, it's best to keep the colors muted. Lace-up dress shoes and slip-on loafers are equally appropriate, but men should always take the time to shine their shoes.

The Extras

Women can take virtually any style of purse to a funeral, provided it suits their outfit and is understated. In the event of inclement weather, it's helpful to take a dark-colored umbrella to the funeral home to keep yourself from getting wet as you go to the door or to assist others who haven't packed an umbrella. If you have more questions about appropriate funeral attired, consider speaking to a representative from Brinsfield-Echols Funeral Home.