What to Wear to a Funeral: A Guide for Women

What to Wear to a Funeral: A Guide for Women

Though attending a funeral is never easy, it is important to show your respect to the deceased and their family.

Part of showing respect is dressing appropriately for the occasion.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your style or overthink the dress code for your funeral attire.

With a few simple guidelines, you can put together an outfit that is both respectful and fashionable to wear to a funeral.

Guidelines for Proper Funeral Attire

At Schaefer’s Ladies Wear in Goderich, Ontario we are happy to help you choose the right outfit for any occasion. Many times we have helped someone dress for an unexpected funeral or a celebration of life.

Before you can decide on your funeral attire, you need to be aware of the type of funeral service it will be. It also helps to know a little bit about the deceased and their family to gauge the expectations and formality of the service. If you are unsure, try to speak to an immediate family member, or even the funeral director, to express your deepest sympathies but to also learn more about the specific arrangements for the funeral or memorial service.

A few things to take into consideration before choosing what to wear to a funeral.

Dress Code: Choosing the Right Colors (Wear Black?)

When deciding what to wear to a funeral, it’s typically best to steer clear of bright colors.

You want your outfit to convey respect and solemnity, and that’s difficult to do with a loud or flashy colour palette.

Does that mean the dress code is you should always wear black? Not necessarily. A little black dress, of course, is the most conservative and safe, but you can still be respectful and conservative without wearing black clothing.

Your clothing style can shine through even in funeral clothes. You will be safe with other subdued hues of dark blue, navy, grey, or brown. Even dark green can be considered appropriate if that fits your fashion style.

If you want to add a pop of colour, consider doing so with accessories like a scarf or handbag.  Funeral attire doesn’t have to be boring. If, unsure more formal attire is a safe way to go.

Picking the Right Fabric

As far as fabric choices go, you’ll want to stay away from anything too light or airy. Again, the goal is to look respectful and dignified. Heavy fabrics like wool or tweed will convey those qualities better than something like silk or cotton. If you’re not sure whether a fabric is appropriate, err on the side of caution and choose something closer to traditional attire, like a long-sleeved dress, in dark colors.

The Importance of Fit for Your Funeral Outfit

It’s also important that your clothes fit well. Ill-fitting clothes can be distracting and take away from the overall look of your outfit in any occasion. If you’re not sure whether something fits properly, ask a friend or family member for their opinion—or better yet, head to a local tailor for their opinion and alterations. A little bit of effort goes a long way when it comes to creating a polished look, proper sleeve and pant lengths do make a noticeable difference.

What to Wear for Funeral Woman | Traditional Funeral

The most important thing to remember when choosing what to wear to a traditional funeral or memorial service is that you should always err on the side of conservatism.

This means avoiding flashy jewellery, short skirts, spaghetti straps and low-cut tops. You also want to stay away from anything that would be considered too casual, such as jeans or sneakers, and avoid athletic shoes, or dare we say flip flops.

While on the topic of shoes, it can be tricky because you may wish to wear a nice pair of flats if you are going to the cemetery or burial site. Pointed-toe heels aren’t always comfortable or safe if walking through grass and pathways. A suitable pair of open-toed shoes in the summer months are fine, better than a sandal.

Opt for clothing that is conservative and respectful, such as a little black dress, dark dress or skirt and dress shoes.


What to Wear for Funeral | Celebration of Life (Less Traditional)

Celebrations of Life or Memorial Services can be more casual than a traditional funeral service because of the variety of venues often used for these celebrations, some even outdoors in a backyard, at someone’s home or a community hall.

In many cases, business casual will be suitable for a celebration of life. Women can wear slacks, pants or a suit, always with shirts worn tucked in.

If held outdoors, your dress pants with a suitable overcoat will work.

Whether a traditional service or a celebration of life, something else to keep in mind is the season. If the funeral is taking place in the summer, you will want to dress accordingly. This means avoiding heavy fabrics that will make you sweat and instead opting for light, breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. 

Still, if you are unsure of what to wear, it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.  It’s a good idea to have a funeral dress hanging ready in your closet.

Our Personal Shopping Professionals Can Help

At Schaefer’s Ladies Wear, we have you covered. One quick call with one of our Personal Shopping Professionals and we can set you up with something appropriate. We carry many classic lines, formal wear and black funeral dresses and will surely have something in-store to help you dress appropriately and suit your needs for attending a funeral.

Dressing for a funeral doesn’t have to be difficult. We’re here to help you.

By following these simple guidelines, you can easily put together an outfit that is both respectful and appropriate for the occasion.

And, remember we are always on hand and available to help at Schaefer’s Ladies Wear, Goderich.

Our mission is to make your shopping experience as personalized as possible – don’t frett – stop by in person, or give us a call and one of our experienced personal shopping staff can help!

Stop in to see us! We’re on the square in Goderich, Ontario.

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