What To Wear To A Funeral
Symbolic and Appropriate Attire
Funerals are a time to provide light to those when they need it most, to see people you genuinely know and like and to join together in love, but what do you wear?
From a practical perspective, some of the best things to carry with you at a funeral are things not connected to your clothes - they’re related to your health, beauty and wellness kit.
Tissues, sweat and tear resistant eye-makeup, if you wear it, and hand sanitizer can be some of your best friends at funerals. There are generally lots of bodily fluids flowing at these events and not many people thinking in their clearest of minds, so hand sanitizer can be one of the most important articles to carry on your person along with any Vitamin C and other immunity-boosting herbals, tinctures, or candies you have.
After that, then it’s time to think about your clothes.
As a general rule, upper tier business casual wear is the theme for most funerals. This is a strange category to navigate for everyone so below you will find a few additional pointers for having the best, most appropriate funeral outfit out there.
Begin with your footwear
Are you going along for the ride to the cemetery? Has it been raining?
Then consider starting with a base of sturdy footwear. Hiking boots in brown or black for men are appropriate here, and high heel boots or wedge sandals for women are generally considered appropriate. Timberland and Born both make excellent high-heeled boots that look very classy both out on the town and walking around gravestones. Do not wear stilettos in graveyards and make sure to choose something with grippy soles. Greenhouse, work, or outdoorsy boots are also all generally fine as long as they are brown, black or navy.
If you’re only going to the viewing, the ceremony is indoors, or that’s all your invited to, then forget everything I just said above and any formal black or brown shoe will do.
For ladies, flats or heels are fine, however, I prefer heels, mainly because some funerals are standing room only and you may want to see what’s going on.
Sneakers are generally not acceptable to funerals unless they’re the one thing you own and part of your personality - for example, if you only wear Converses and already know how to pair these with dress pants, then by all means - your passed friend or loved one will not be upset about this as the dead hardly care at all.
Next, select your outfit’s base color
Regardless of the temperature, time of year, or the person who died, mourning colors are indeed most appropriate colors for your base outfit.
Think browns, blacks, dark steely greys, and the types of colors you would see in nature on a dark, rainy November Day. Use these colors as your palate to work from.
Decide if you are going to go for a warm-tone mourning outfit or a cool-toned mourning outfit, then choose either-or, but not both. Blacks can have undertones that are either warm or cool, so it’s wise to keep this in mind when pairing everything together.
Once you have your footwear to work with, this may be your deciding factor.
For those wearing skirts or dresses: old-fashioned stockings are still considered most appropriate over bare legs, even in warm weather. Either a sparkly nude or semi-opaque black generally looks quite nice. If you don’t have it, it’s okay - but try to select a longer skirt or dress if you can.
For those wearing a dress shirt: a tie is generally considered appropriate for those who identify as male. A suit jacket is not always required, but if you have a jacket, you can’t go wrong. If you don't, worry not, as you generally won’t get shamed for not wearing one at a funeral, mostly because everyone is usually more worried about the dead person than they are about whether you have a fresh suit coat or not.
A formal overcoat or winter coat will also work in place of a suit coat, in the event of an emergency. You will most likely have to work with what you have here, as most funerals happen within a week of the death, so just do your best.
Next, choose your accent colors and add any symbolic pieces
These are your finishing touches.
Accent colors and pieces are where you can:
Impart any symbolism you wish to convey
Add any jewelry you want to embellish meaning
Say what you want to say without saying it
Add the favorite colors of the deceased
Match yourself to the ceremony for a unique flair
Be subtle here. I prefer earthly greens, deep reds, and mushroomy tortoise colors for my accent shades and pieces, but I also go by who died and how they died, and I also allow their favorite colors to have a factor in my outfit’s accents. If you are concerned about the funeral colors of blacks, browns, and greys drawing the color out of your face, choose your accent color to highlight your eyes or skin tone.
Choose one accent idea to work with - the symbolic color, the favorite colors of the deceased, or the colors of the ceremony to match your outfit. Decide this based on who died, where you’re going, the time of year, and what’s in your closet. This is the one spot where you can get a little tastefully creative.
Finally, for those going out in all-weather
It is not at all unusual to get warm during a funeral especially if you are sensitive to spirits, other people’s energy or if the space the viewing is in is quite small so prepare appropriately. For example, you may not want to wear a top that’s prone to show sweat to funerals.
Wearing clothes that are resistant to sweat, taking along an umbrella, extra face powder, or a heavier than usual cologne or deodorant, are never bad ideas. It tends to rain on many of the funeral days I’ve been to, for some reasons I may never understand, and perhaps it’s the same for you.
Overall, these are the major points to funeral attire - appropriate shoes, formal wear, mourning colors, a splash of symbolism, plus some immunity and all-weather support, and you’ll be fine.
Your choice of clothes and what you bring on your person can stimulate conversation, add talking points, help a friend in need, or even put a smile on someone’s face during a much needed time - so it makes sense to consider the outfit.
Besides, wearing your best and coming prepared to a funeral is not only good for practical reasons, as you’ll most likely be seeing old friends and colleagues there, but is a sign of respect to your ancestors, and to all of those who have come before.
Are you sensitive to others emotions?
If so, I like to add protection crystals under my clothes at funerals, and this blog goes over a few of my favorites to help absorb the grief so I’m so not drained after the event. I also suggest the Managing Your Gifts eBook if you tend to get overwhelmed at events like these or at weddings, which can also be spirit/emotion heavy events. If you’re in The Membership Center, I suggest trying one of the aura boosting exercises in the video archives to boost up your energy field prior to attending the event or even after, for recovery purposes.
Amanda Linette Meder
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