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Funeral Attire Ideas for Women

When many western women think of funeral attire, they imagine long black dresses and veils. However, traditions are changing, and while it’s still important to be respectful, there are many more options for what women can wear to funerals.

Before making any funeral outfit decisions, start by looking for instructions. 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 funeral 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 about what to wear to a funeral, check with someone close to the family.

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

Stick with darker, neutral colors.

As mentioned above, black is no longer necessary, but you should probably avoid bright and loud clothing. Aim to wear something that's darker in color, understated, and simple. In addition to black, grey, navy, dark red, mauve, green or purple funeral apparel are all perfectly fine.

Keep patterns simple.

A subtle pattern is completely fine, by try to shy away from anything bold or eye catching. Pieces of clothing that are plain and solid colors often ensure you won't be standing out of the crowd as someone trying to attract attention at the funeral. If a funeral outfit draws attention to you, it probably isn’t the best fit.

Stay conservative.

Short hemlines and low necklines are generally considered distasteful at funerals. A good rule of thumb is that what you wear to a funeral shouldn’t be less conservative than what you’d wear to the office.

Look put together.

You certainly don’t have to wear a funeral dress, but lean toward dress pants (no jeans), skirt suits, and nicer blouses. Your dress and attire should be presentable, clean, and professional. Looking put together includes your personal hygiene and overall appearance. You'll generally want to make sure your hair looks done and you look well groomed overall.

Avoid flashy jewelry.

Similar to patterns, you want to keep funeral jewelry simple and understated. Wearing flashy jewelry or large pieces of jewelry can make it look as though you'd like the attention to be drawn to you and your outfit. Funerals should be events that are entirely focused on the deceased and the family of the deceased, simple pieces of jewelry are best when attending funerals. If you happen to own jewelry that used to belong to the deceased or that the deceased gave to you, that can be a nice, personal touch.

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Last updated March 2, 2021
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