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Appropriate Funeral Clothing: What to Wear to a Ceremony, Wake, Memorial or Burial Service

Thursday Jul 7, 2011

Funeral Clothing:  Choosing What to Wear

Grieving the loss of a friend or family member can leave you feeling depressed, hopeless and exhausted. Not only are you dealing with the horrific emotions associated with the loss of a loved one but you also have to decide what you’ll wear to a funeral. Some people feel they must go out a buy a new outfit for a funeral, but often you can find exactly what you need right in your own closet. After all, no one feels like shopping when they are in deep grief. Choosing what to wear to a funeral can be quite a challenge. There’s no doubt you want to dress in an appropriate manner, giving full respect to the deceased, their family and their friends. Funeral clothing should certainly maintain respect and follow proper etiquette, whether the wake is a religious ceremony or a non-religious memorial service.

In most of the world, the cultural thought is black is the most appropriate color to wear to any funeral service. While this is helpful, it leaves a great deal of room for questions and mistakes on what is most appropriate to wear. If you are trying to select an outfit for a funeral, there are several things you should keep in mind.

    • Stay Conservative! A funeral is not the time to wear your sexy little black dress you often wear on first dates. It’s the time to avoid any low cut clothing. It’s also the time to avoid mini skirts or other revealing attire. Instead, it’s a time to keep your clothing modest and respectful (but it doesn’t have to be all black).

 

  • Dress Up! While there are certainly exceptions, most mourners will expect you to dress up a bit. Jeans should never be worn to a funeral. The most appropriate attire can include a dark suit, a sweater vest and slacks, khaki pants and a button down shirt and other business attire. Women should consider wearing a dress, a skirt and blouse, a nice pant suit or slacks and a blouse.

What To Wear To A Jewish Funeral

While most modern Jewish people understand not everyone will know the traditional Jewish practices often done at funerals, there are a few things any mourner can take note of if they’re planning to attend a Jewish funeral. It’s customary for men to wear head coverings (kippah or yarmulke) to funerals and burials. Sometimes the women also wear these. However, in some congregations head coverings aren’t worn at all. However, most Jewish funerals where head coverings are expected to be worn will provide attendees with these items.

What To Wear To A Catholic Funeral

Much like other traditional funerals, Catholic funeral attire experts state most often mourners are expected to wear all black. Most men wear a dark suit, black tie, light shirt and black shoes. Most women wear black dresses and some even wear mourning veils. Mourning veils are often reserved for the mother, the daughters, the wife, the sister or the grandmother of the deceased. Most often jewelry is discrete or not worn at all. Children are expected to wear all-white outfits to a traditional Catholic funeral.

Remember, figuring out what to wear to a funeral shouldn’t be stressful. Chances are your funeral clothing is not going to be a big topic of conversation at any wake or burial.

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