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Seelix's avatar

Funeral attire: Does it have to be just black?

Asked by Seelix (14914points) June 1st, 2011

This coming weekend I’ll be attending the funeral of Mr. Fiance’s great-aunt. I only met her once (she’s lived in a nursing home for the last 8 years or so), but I’ve spent a good amount of time with her husband, who’s been much like a surrogate father to Mr. Fiance’s dad since his father passed away. The husband is a military man, but we’re unsure about whether there will be a military presence at the funeral.

I’m just wondering what you all think about appropriate dress for the funeral. Of course I know the basics – nothing flashy or revealing, et cetera et cetera. But looking through my wardrobe, I don’t have a whole lot of black. I do have a black knee-length pencil skirt, which I can wear with a few different tops. I also have a black cocktail dress, which might be a little too formal.

What do you think: should I go shopping, or just go with what I have? Is black the only respectable colour to wear to a funeral?

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34 Answers

janbb's avatar

I’ve seen everything except for real flashy clothes at funerals these days. Just wear something fairly conservative in dark clothes and you’ll be fine. No need to go shopping.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I always wear a black suit.
You could wear your pencil skirt with an understated top and be just fine if you did not want to go shopping.

john65pennington's avatar

Funerals are much more “clothing relaxed today”.

Just about anything goes except blue jeans and flashy clothing.

john65pennington's avatar

Morning Lucy!!

tranquilsea's avatar

I wear black sometimes and I’ve worn brighter colours others. It all depends on what type of relationship I had with the deceased. I know the traditions but I like the brighter colours because, to me, it represents celebrating their life.

You should be fine with some muted colour.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Yup, what they all ^ ^ ^ said. Anything tasteful is fine.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Anything conservative in a dark color works. The pencil skirt might be a little too sexy I’m thinking. Although I did see a guy in coveralls, nothing else at my uncle’s calling hours so maybe I’m behind the times.

angelique_1's avatar

i think anything dark colored. dark blue nothing bright colored. that skirt with a top that has dark colors in it would work, but nothing flashy you know. im like you im limited too.

iamthemob's avatar

Dress respectfully. I’ve seen plenty of white at funerals as an accent.

Personally, I’m going to mandate nothing but fuschia at my funeral. I will also require that the “Emporer’s Theme” from Star Wars be played as they lower the casket into the ground.

Funerals should be, in the end, a celebration of a person’s life.

Seelix's avatar

@iamthemob – I love the fuschia idea :) When my grandparents passed away, my sister wore a beautiful orangey-red dress the the funeral. I wouldn’t do that at the funeral of someone who wasn’t in my immediate family, though – I wouldn’t want to show disrespect.

On a similar note, I’m thinking about wearing a red wedding dress and having my bridesmaids in white. Just for fun :)

Thanks, everyone, for your advice. @Adirondackwannabe – the skirt is by no means sexy, despite the connotations associated with a pencil skirt :) It’s just black, to the knee, but without any flare. Boring, really ;)

angelique_1's avatar

well those colors would make you stand out, so i guess its ok.

tranquilsea's avatar

@iamthemob my mom wanted the same thing, not fuchsia but bright colours, and we respected that and had a lot of fun with it. Or, as much fun as you can have at a funeral.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Another vote for anything dark and on the conservative side.

I wore a red suit with a mid-calf pleated skirt to Dad’s memorial service because it was his favorite color. Mom’s only regret about his obituary was not including his beloved dog as one of the surviving family members

iamthemob's avatar

@tranquilsea – well you know what you can’t spell funeral without, in the end.

tranquilsea's avatar

@iamthemob laughing is so close to crying

JilltheTooth's avatar

Very cute, @iamthemob , Id never heard that before.

iamthemob's avatar

@JilltheTooth – then I made it up. All me.

@tranquilsea – and laughing is also close to screaming. Now…I’m just making it creepy.

rts486's avatar

I have a dark blue suit I wear. I’m not going to buy a black suit just for a funeral.

answerjill's avatar

I don’t usually wear black to funerals. I just dress neatly and respectfully, as if I were going to a religious service. For my grandmother’s funeral, I wore a lavender sweater because it was her favorite color and she had given it to me.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I wore black to my husband’s funeral because I wanted to. For aunts, grandmothers, etc. I wear whatever I would wear to church. Not too flashy, not too sexy, not too tight or too short. Anything nice/conservative would be respectful.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I think you could wear what you would wear to a job interview at some place conservative.

JLeslie's avatar

Black shirt with a conservative top sounds fine. Best not to stand out.

angelique_1's avatar

thats how i feel. i wouldnt want to stand out at a funeral.

lonelydragon's avatar

A black skirt or pants with a darker top, like burgundy or deep blue.

gailcalled's avatar

I was at my mother’s funeral yesterday in northern Westchester county. It was almost 90˚. i wore beige linen slacks,a navy ¾ length cotton jersey, sandals and a large sun hat.

Women were in beige, black, navy, one long sleeved white cotton tunic, bare legs and sandals; men in pants, shirt (with or without ties), cargo pants and a dark tee, and rabbi in a suit. Given the heat, I thought we’d have to bury him as well at one point. A Baltimore oriole serenaded us from high in a huge old maple tree; he was wearing black and orange.

janbb's avatar

@gailcalled Condolences once again.

Bellatrix's avatar

Stick with dark colours and conservative styling and you will be fine. As @john65pennington said, funeral clothing rules are more relaxed. I went to one a year ago where we were all asked to wear bright colours to reflect the flowers in a garden because the person who had passed loved her garden. I thought that was quite lovely.

chyna's avatar

I was reading the obituary of someone I went to school with today who died of breast cancer. She requested all come in casual attire, to send money to animal rescue and donated her body to science. I like the idea of casual attire, though I doubt I could actually feel comfortable doing so.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Well, @chyna , there’s “nice” casual and “sloppy” casual. A lightweight sundress (hey, it’s hot out there!) would probably be appreciated as respecting her wishes.
Sorry about your friend.

Judi's avatar

I would ask the husband what she would have liked. My mom asked that we make her service a celebration of like and not wear black. My sisters and I wore variations of lavender.

filmfann's avatar

It isn’t unusual to just wear muted colors. Nothing loud or cheerful. Gray, beige, dark blue.

Seelix's avatar

All right, so I’ve been thinking. We’ll be attending the viewing on Sunday evening and the service (church for sure, I’m not 100% sure whether there will be a graveside service as well) on Monday, followed by a luncheon. Mr. Fiance will be wearing a suit both days, so I think I’ll wear my black skirt with a cute top on Sunday. I have two: here and here (the second one is a little low-cut, so I’ll wear it with a brown camisole underneath and a black cardigan). On Monday for the service I think I’ll wear my black dress: photo here (with bonus kitty-cat head at the bottom). I have a short-sleeved light green sweater I can wear with that.

So what do you think? Which top do you think is better? There’s an H&M around the corner so later today I’m going to go see if I can pick up a top inexpensively, but if I had to wear one of the two…

I can’t believe I’m stressing so much about this.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I like the second one better. I’m not big on black and white together. And don’t stress so much. The only thing I remember about all the services I’ve been to, (other than the coveralls) was who was there. I can’t recall a single outfit anyone wore.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think any of those options will be fine Seelix. As long as you don’t turn up looking like Lady Gaga or a 1980s Cyndi Lauper, you will be fine. Funerals are sad. I had never been to one until about four years ago and now I have been to three…

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