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Funeral Attire Ideas for Men

When many western men think of a typical funeral attire, they often tend to think of a black suit and neutral tie, or of what not to wear. It’s important to note that traditions are changing and the rules aren’t as black and white as they used to be for previous generations. While it’s important to be respectful, there are some basic guidelines that can help you choose what to wear to a funeral.

Before making any decisions, consider what attire the family of the bereaved is requesting for the funeral. Especially for less traditional services and celebrations of life, more and more families actually request that guests don’t wear black, and some will request specific attire that seems fitting to the deceased. On Ever Loved, we’ve seen families request everything from Hawaiian shirts to the colors of a specific sports team. If you’re unsure, check with someone close to the family.

If you haven’t seen or heard specific instructions, here are some general guidelines to follow. (Note that these may not all apply to non-western funerals.)

Stick with darker, neutral colors.

As mentioned previously, black is no longer a requirement for men’s funeral attire, but consider avoiding bright colors. This includes bright accents or flashy accessories -- funerals are not a time to show off your styling prowess, they're a time to honor the deceased and support the family. Some acceptable colors include black, grey, navy, dark red, green or purple are all perfectly fine.

Consider wearing a suit or sports jacket.

The most common men’s attire for a funeral is by far a suit and tie or even a button-down shirt, a sports jacket or sweater pullover and slacks. If you don’t have a suit or sports jacket, consider borrowing from a friend or buying a set that matches colors with a tie or slacks-–it’ll come handy to have your own formal wear at some point.

Look put together.

Wearing a suit and tie isn’t by any means a requirement, but lean toward wearing dress pants and a button down shirt. Don't forget to pay attention to the types of shoes you'll be wearing. Dressing well and looking put together also includes your personal hygiene and styling. In general, you should have your hair nicely done and should look well groomed when attending a funeral. Avoid wearing clothes that look dirty, have stains, or look worn out or distressed. Quick tip: Wear a belt and tuck your shirt for a clean look.

Avoid casual wear.

While men’s funeral attire customs are changing, it’s still best to avoid wearing jeans, sneakers or athletic shoes, baseball caps, and t-shirts. As a rule of thumb, you should usually wear dress shoes to a funeral and should absolutely avoid wearing casual shoes (such as sneakers), unless this has been requested by the organizers. If you're a pallbearer, be sure you have sturdy shoes that aren't easy to slip in. On the other end of the spectrum, don’t feel pressured to dress extremely formal either.

Keep patterns simple.

A subtle pattern is completely fine, by try to shy away from funeral outfits that are too bold or eye catching. Simple patterns and solid colors are typical at a funeral. If your funeral apparel draws attention to you, it probably isn’t the best fit.

As with most other things relating to funerals, remember that every funeral is unique, and sometimes the best guidance is just your best judgement for funeral attire.

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Last updated March 2, 2021
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