At funerals, it’s important to show respect, and part of doing so is dressing in proper funeral attire. Our funeral counselors are familiar with the struggle men have around this topic. Oftentimes, they don’t know what to wear to a funeral. Men are expected to show their respect by wearing polished and subdued outfits. Some men find it easier to wear a tailored suit, while others choose to wear dress pants, and of course, a tailored shirt with slacks is always appropriate.
Knowing proper funeral attire for men is incredibly important, since under no circumstances do you want your choice of fashion to offend the family. Keep reading to learn what our funeral counselors consider proper funeral attire for men.
Traditional Suit Funeral Attire
If you’re unsure about what to wear to a funeral, keep in mind a suit will never be the wrong option. Men are expected to wear suits when they’re an immediate family member, a close friend, or a colleague of the deceased. Those chosen as pallbearers should also consider wearing a suit for the funeral.
If you choose a suit, please make sure to pick one in dark colors. Even in sunny Florida, dark navy, charcoal, and black are the go-to color options for suits. Younger men often choose single-breasted jackets, while those over 45 go for a double-breasted jacket – both are appropriate.
An important thing to remember is the cut. Even with the right color, your suit must fit you perfectly. An unfit suit may bring inappropriate attention. When wearing the suit, take a look in the mirror and look for these signs about fit:
- If the jacket pulls in from the buttons and has creases around the abdomen, it’s too tight.
- If the pants show wrinkles going towards the hips, it’s too tight.
- If the jacket seems too big, with the shoulder seams going down to the arms, it’s too loose.
- If the pants look baggy, and you have to wear a tight belt to keep them up, they’re too loose.
For those choosing to wear a suit for a funeral, there are a few things to keep in mind.
About the suit: Ideally, you want to choose dark colors. Remember you’re not there to make a fashion statement, but to pay your respects.
The shirt: Choose a white or blue shirt to go with the suit, stay away from loud colors and prints. If you want to use a patterned shirt, choose something subtle, like a striped shirt for example.
A tie: Combine the jacket and shirt with a dark tie: it can be black, grey, or blue. Ideally, you want to find one that complements your suit. Similar to the shirt, you want to avoid loud colors and prints that will be offensive to some. Stay with traditional patterns like stripes and dots.
The Shoes: The only appropriate funeral shoe is a dress shoe. Depending on your suit, you’ll wear black or brown dress shoes. Make sure they look polished and sharp.
Accessories: When it comes to the accessories to wear to a funeral, less is always more. Make sure your belt is dark to match your outfit. Keep in mind that any other accessory you choose should be somber and fit for the occasion.
Modern Suit Funeral Attire
Many men don’t own a suit. Also, those that are not an immediate family member of the deceased are not expected to wear a suit, which gives you the opportunity to wear something else. There are still many non-suit outfits that are appropriate for a funeral.
Similar to the suit attire, you still want to keep your color palette classic. Your style should still look polished, composed, and properly fitted. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re not wearing a suit.
The pants: Choose a pair of dark slacks, either in charcoal, black, navy blue, or gray. If you want something more casual, khakis are also acceptable.
The shirt: Pick a button-down shirt in clean colors like white or blue. If you don’t want to choose these colors, then do your best to stay in soft pastel colors like pink or yellow.
Options: A simple slacks and shirt outfit is enough for a less formal funeral. But, you can always add a tie if you want or a blazer or sports coat to complete your look. However, keep in mind you still want to be respectful to the family, so loud colors are not appropriate.
The shoes: Even though you’re going for a more casual style, dress shoes remain the norm. Your white sneakers are not appropriate for this occasion. Choose loafers or oxfords to make sure you still look polished.
Funeral Attire for Men Do’s & Don’ts
By now, you should have a general idea of what to wear to a funeral. However, there are certain fashion rules every man must follow when choosing the right fashion pieces to wear for such event.
Do: Wear dress pants in somber colors.
Don’t: Wear jeans or shorts.
Do: Wear a dress shirt. A tie, a jacket, or a blazer are optional but encouraged. All in classic, somber colors.
Don’t: Wear bold patterned shirts or ties. Also, avoid wearing patterned or trendy blazers.
Do: Wear dress shoes. Opt for dark colored shoes with dark colored socks to match your slacks.
Don’t: Wear flip flips, sneakers, or sloppy shoes. If you want a more casual look, then opt for loafers as your shoe-choice.
If you still have questions about the dress code of a funeral, check the invite to see if a dress code was specified. If you’re a close family friend, check with them to get an idea of the dress code they want for the event. As a last resort, a pair of slacks with a tailored shirt will always be an appropriate look for a funeral.
For more information about proper funeral etiquette, visit our other resources:
What to Wear to a Celebration of Life?
What to Wear to a Hindu Funeral?