How To Dress For a Funeral

How To Dress For a Funeral

what to wear to a funeral for men

What should a man wear to a funeral?  Easy, keep it simple stupid.  Is a phrase that works for so many things, including how to dress for a funeral or memorial.  Fortunately, I think that attending funerals is something that many of us do not have to do often.  But nonetheless it is unfortunate when it does have to happen, when it does happen a man should dress appropriately.

I realize may vary between religions and cultures, so for the purposes of this article I feel only comfortable opining on what is appropriate for funerals of the Christian faith.  Although I doubt these guidelines would be too far from correct at any funeral.  It is also important to be aware of the fact that at funerals of different faiths you may be asked to abide by their traditions and rules.  Such as wearing a Yarmulke at a Jewish funeral or removing your shoes when entering a mosque for a Muslim funeral.

A funeral is a relatively formal event.  If there is ever a time that a man should wear a suit, a funeral is perhaps that time.  A funeral is also not an occasion to wear your shirt open and sans tie; sorry Richard.  Nor is it a time to wear your ‘nice jeans,’ your favorite t-shirt or that pink tie your girlfriend got you for Valentines day.

how to dress for a funeral for men

So what exactly should you wear?  A man’s suit should be a solid dark color.  Black being the most traditional and formal; followed by charcoal and navy (pictured above).  Keep the shirt solid white and the tie dark and preferably solid.  Personally, I cannot stand black neckties, but a funeral would be an ideal setting to wear one.  For shoes, black is ideal, but dark brown is a suitable alternative.  Accessorize sparingly.

It is a simple prescription, and ideally one that is foolproof.  A funeral is not a place to show off your personal style, make a fashion statement or grab attention.  You are there to pay respect to the deceased and his/her loved ones.

how to dress for a funeral for men

This post is dedicated to Dr. Lynn Iozzo.  Dr. Iozzo was one of the most passionate and engaging teachers I ever studied under.  She was a middle school Latin teacher at The Shipley School (where I went to school) for 20 years.  The positive influence she had on me and countless other Shipley students is immeasurable.  She most certainly kept up the good fight.  This ensemble was worn to a memorial service in her honor.

“Green for hope we always cherish blue for loyalty”



Featured photo credit


    • I don’t think that would be appropriate in general, however there are exceptions. I went to a buddhist Thai funeral, however, and was told by the grandson of the deceased that I should wear all black, including the shirt. I had to borrow a black shirt from a friend the morning of the funeral because it was so unexpected and I had prepared a different outfit.

    • What about ash or light grey shirt.
      Should it go with a neck tie, bow tie or without a tie?
      Deceased is my father.

      • Hi Kofi,
        Sorry to hear about your father. A light grey shirt is fine, I have seen some gentlemen wear one with great success. For a funeral, I would recommend a necktie or bow tie.

  1. I think keep it simple and classic. I used to think black suit, white shirt& black tie but now I think it is too obvious – kind of like wearing this to a restaurant where you can’t help thinking you are dressed like the maître de or the head waiter. Perhaps dark navy suit, white shirt & dark navy tie is the way to go!?

  2. A word of editorial advice about tone. I know it’s only a figure of speech, but starting your article off with ‘keep it simple stupid’ isn’t very respectful. Remember, if your audience is anything like me they will be coming here to get advice about an actual funeral they are attending.

    • K.I.S.S is a very old saying that literally applies to everything. There’s no disrespect there and if there was, that’s completely subjective and your fault for interpreting it in that manner.

  3. I have a dark jacket, white shirt and tie but only have tan kackis ? Are they okay ? I have black dress shoes.

  4. Just being there is all that matters.Nobodys going to care what your wearing! Your not going to a wedding!

    • When my brother died I could have shown up to his funeral in shorts and flip-flops and my brother would have found it hilarious; like you said ‘just being there is all that matters’. But he would have laughed because it was hilariously inappropriate. Dress well if for no other reason than keeping the spotlight on the deceased instead of yourself.

      Also, why in the world do you think there is appropriate dress for a wedding but you don’t care a bit at a funeral? Some of us don’t care to be the ass of the party.

    • About just being there and wearing whatever to a funeral and dressing appropriate for a Wedding. That is very wrong.
      People are suppose to dress up to pay respect for the deceased.
      In my opinion dress up where you look nice but that doesn’t have to be a suit and tie for the guys or the proper attire (same as suit and tie) for the ladies.
      Good advice about attending a Funeral and proper clothes to wear. Ask what they consider acceptable to wear.
      Think about it in certain ways. Perhaps you don’t have money and can’t afford a suit. Just because you can’t afford a suit doesn’t mean you still can’t dress up and look presentable. Maybe you found out and have to go to a funeral in just 2 days. You realize your suit no longer fits because you gained or lost weight. Unless you have money and can buy a suit in the store without it being altered most likely you can’t wear a suit. Still dress up being presentable.
      A Wedding is far different than a Funeral. People know about a Wedding far in advance. People have lots of time to get the proper clothes. I am a guy and don’t like to dress up. I don’t own a suit and tie. If I did I would hate wearing it. I don’t like to dress up either. For me I dress casual all the time. Unless its a wedding for my brother or one of my sisters then I have to go. Other weddings I don’t attend because I don’t want to dress up.

    • “Nobodys going to care what your wearing!”

      Not true. Turning up to a funeral dressed sloppily and inappropriately will be remembered by the grieving widow for a long time and will be seen as making light of the death of her husband. Making light of her grief. Funeral’s aren’t for the dead. They’re for the living. Just being there is not all that matters. How you dress is part of how you demonstrate, to the living, your appreciation of the situation. Turn up to the funeral of someone I love dressed as Coco the Clown and you’ll be off the Christmas card list for a very long time.

  5. What about dark jeans with a belt and a navy blue dress shirt and dress shoes. I don’t really have anything else..

  6. The funeral I’m about to attend will be a small one, and we’ve been specifically asked not to dress too formally, so I won’t wear a suit. I was thinking black dress pants, black shoes and a button down shirt. My question is about the colour of the shirt. Is pale blue acceptable? To be precise, it’s white, but pinstriped so it looks blue from a distance.

  7. Thank you for this concise explanation! For selecting a suit fit – classic, modern, slim – how does one know which fit? I believe body shape plays a role, but how should the suit lay?

  8. Everyone reading and looking this up, best of luck , you didn’t look this up for giggles . Hope all of you and your family’s are okay . Show respect , and never forget . Love to all

  9. Black trousers black sheet and black tie? Too hot here and nobody wear jacket so a white shirt is not an option I think.
    An other thing my gf told me to wear light brown shoes and light brown belt…. I like this option but this will be a funeral…

  10. The black suit is good, but a little too obvious and boring. To add a splash of style, a bedazzled vest with shimmering sequence will always do the trick. Stick to conservative colors like red or classic silver , a lime green or jolting salmon can come off looking showy (not to mention the color of a dogs healing wound).if you want to accessorize a matching hat can work, but remember , keep it simple- HAT is optional.

  11. Ok I’ve read all replies and advice I’m going navy suit, white shirt, and navy tie….are cufflinks too much?

  12. Ok so I’ve read over all replies and advice and decided to go with navy suit, white shirt, and Navy tie….are cufflinks too much?

  13. Guidelines for what to wear at a funeral

    General tips on clothing:

    Black is a traditional color, always appropriate
    Non-black clothing is generally acceptable, as long as it isn’t brightly colored
    Shirts/dresses should cover up to the neck; no open collars
    Pants/dresses should cover the knees; no shorts or miniskirts
    No flip-flops or athletic shoes
    In a casual setting, t-shirts may be appropriate – but avoid wild prints, logos, etc
    Keep a formal jacket on hand; this basic addition can help make many outfits passable!
    General tips on style:

    Subdued style and colors; you do not want to attract attention away from the deceased
    Style should be characterized as tasteful and conservative
    Dress as you would for church or a job interview
    Revealing attire is generally not appropriate; many traditions require shoulders and knees covered
    Be considerate of any religious setting; i.e., some require hats for women and/or men
    For information on funeral traditions of different religions, see here
    Tips for men:

    Dark suits or buttoned shirts are always appropriate
    Wear long-sleeved shirts, something with a collar
    Wear a belt and tuck in shirt
    Wear dress shoes or loafers
    Avoid sneakers, athletic shoes, flip flops
    Avoid jeans (though in many settings, dark jeans with tucked in shirt is acceptable)
    Avoid shorts
    Avoid baseball caps
    Basic funeral oufit ideas:
    Dress suit with tie
    Slacks, polo shirt, belt
    Slacks, button down shirt, tie
    Slacks, button down shirt, vest
    Slacks, button down shirt, blazer

  14. Unfortunately, you are very wrong in your assessment of what to wear. How do I know? I’m a funeral director. If you ask the gentlemen here to where a black tie, white shirt, and black or navy suit- they are going to look like a funeral attendant and going to be asked where the bathroom is.

    Now, what should you wear? Wear what ever you want. The funeral isn’t about you and no one will notice what you wear. There are, however, a few simple rules.

    1. Clean up and make sure you are well groomed
    2. Personalise, or better yet- dress to honour the deceased. Grandma loved her floral couches? How about a floral patterned tie. Grandpa was in the navy? What about a nod to him with anchors on your socks?
    3. Dress up for you, but be comfortable. Maybe that’s a suit and tie, maybe it’s your best jeans and button down shirt.
    4. Show up, really- this is the only one that matters.

  15. Any day of the week you can walk down the streets of New York and most of the people 99.9% would be wearing black on black on black it’s about the most fashionable that you’re going to see as far as the funeral was concerned the white shirt for a man is the most appropriate and the dark tie although it does not have to be solid but it should not be flashy in any way the most important thing out of all of this is that you are there to pay your respects to the deceased and not in any way be more concerned about how you look or how you make a fashion statement it’s more important that you presented yourself in a very proper honorable

  16. Black double breasted suit gray button down shirt dark blue with some black in it tie ? gold watch and diamond and back star sapphire yellow gold pinkie ring what ya think ?

  17. Black double breasted suit light gray button down shirt dark blue with some black in it tie ? gold watch and diamond and back star sapphire yellow gold pinkie ring what ya think ?