What to Wear to a Funeral

Dressing for a special occasion is always a bit tricky because you want to make sure you’re dressed appropriately and not in a way that draws too much attention. This is especially true of a funeral. You definitely want to be respectful and honor the wishes of the family and loved ones of the person who has passed away. Sometimes, the family will have a special request. For example, a family planning a recent funeral for a young veteran requested that everyone dress in their most outrageous patriotic attire because they knew he’d loved to laugh as much as he’d loved his country. Most of the time, though, a funeral service is more sedate. It’s a good idea to check the obituary or ask a family member if there are any special requests, but a few simple guidelines will help put you on the right track.

Selecting your clothing

Pick clothing that is respectful and understated. Women can wear a dress or slacks and should take care to avoid plunging necklines or bare shoulders. Men should wear suits and ties, removing the jacket if it’s too hot. At most funerals, jeans and bright colors are inappropriate. Although black is always appropriate, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear muted or dark colors such as earth tones, gray or dark blue. Avoid busy patterns.

Choosing appropriate shoes

It’s inappropriate to wear flip-flops or sneakers to a funeral. Dress shoes in a subdued color are usually a good choice. Choose a closed-toe shoe, and make sure it’s comfortable enough for you to get through the service. Women should consider the fact that high-heeled shoes tend to sink into the earth, which can be awkward at a graveside service.

Keeping accessories and makeup to a minimum

A minimalist approach to makeup and accessories is an effective way to show proper respect at a funeral. Remember, you don’t want to draw attention to your attire or makeup. The focus should be on the life you’re there to honor. It’s fine to wear understated jewelry and simple makeup, but if you think you might cry, make sure your mascara is waterproof. Men should not wear baseball caps or vibrantly colored ties.

Be mindful of culture and traditions

Although the above guidelines will get you through most funeral services, there can be certain cultural expectations. At a Buddhist funeral, for example, it’s appropriate to wear white. At the funeral of a veteran, military uniforms are perfectly acceptable. If you are in doubt, it’s best to ask someone in the family or a close friend so you don’t feel inappropriately dressed.

At Greenwood Memorial Park & Mortuary, we have been serving families in our community since 1907, and we’re proud to serve people of all cultures and faiths. Our memorial park consists of beautifully landscaped grounds, and our funeral home is a full-service facility that offers convenience in a graceful, dignified setting. Call (619) 241-4312 to discuss funeral arrangements near San Diego.

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