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Do I always have to wear black at a funeral?

A dilemma that many people don’t want to have is to ask themselves what they are mean to wear at a funeral and when you find yourself in this kind of a position, it can be somewhat overwhelming.

Preparing to attend a funeral is an emotional experience regardless of who has passed on and finding appropriate funeral wear is normally the last thing on a persons mind. The reason for this guide is to make the process as simple and stress free as possible.

If the funeral is unexpected, you may find that you don’t have time to buy something new for the day and wandering around shops is not the place you want to be especially when you’re grieving so this makes your wardrobe a good place to start. As you sift through your wardrobe hangers, look for an outfit that is respectful to those who have passed while ensuring you are still comfortable.

What is appropriate to wear to a funeral?

Majority of funerals have an all-black dress-code with many mourners opting to wear something smart and considered. A funeral is also not the place to turn up in a sheer top or a little black dress so hemlines should remain around or below the knee and spaghetti straps are a definite no-go. You can opt for a sleeveless, shoulder-length or long-sleeved dress or alternatively, pair a turtle neck with a pair of black flared trousers.

Things to Consider...

  • Its always a good idea to bring some sort of jacket or coat with you as it can often get cold at the venue and you can use the pockets to keep tissues at the ready without digging into your handbag and missing part of the service.

  • Wear a pair of smart but comfortable shoes as there s often walking and standing throughout the day. A stylish flat or a pair of round or pointed toe heels would do. If you know you might walk on grass, leave the strappy stilettos at home.

  • If the funeral is traditional in nature, hats or headbands can be a nice touch, just make sure to keep the proportions to a smaller scale as no one wants to be blocked by a big hat at the service.

Things to avoid...

Unless requested, it is wise to avoid bright colours and loud prints. Other things to avoid include very revealing or overly casual clothes, like ripped jeans, sheer tops or pieces with inappropriate cut-out details.

How about Accessories?

Keep things minimal. Your favourite oversized bag can stay at home as you opt for a clutch or smaller handbag instead.

As for jewellery, classic an understated is the way to go. You can do timeless silver and gold pieces such as a simple chain or a simple pair of hoops, dented pearls ,minimal stones.

One accessory people are lenient about at funerals is sunglasses. Pack a pair in your bag or jacket pocket just in case as grief can work in unexpected ways. If and when things suddenly become too much, or if you don’t want to feel watched, you can pull out your glasses and simply put them on.

Do I always have to wear black at a funeral?

The custom at funerals is to wear black because it has always been a safe option to stick with. If you are a flamboyant dresser and wouldn’t feel comfortable in an all-black look, make sure to dress in darker tones like navy or deep brown and avoid anything ‘over the top’ so as to avoid offending other mourners.

Are there rare occasions where I get to wear colour at a funeral?

Yes, there are. Some families might ask you to wear colour to celebrate the life of the deceased, which can make an otherwise morbid day and dress code a little more flexible.

I hope this is helpful in times of need, share with your fine friends who like being on point in any occasion.

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments but what is woven into the lives of others —THUCYDIDES

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