What to Wear to a Funeral

August 12, 2023

In the UK, attending a funeral is typically a sombre and respectful occasion, and dressing appropriately is a sign of respect for the deceased and their family. Here are some guidelines on what to wear to a funeral.

Traditional attire

Generally, wearing dark and formal clothing is expected. Traditional choices include a black or dark-coloured suit for men and a conservative dark dress or suit for women. Navy, charcoal grey and dark shades of brown are also acceptable alternatives to black.

Women’s attire

Women can choose to wear a dark-coloured dress or skirt and blouse combination. It’s advisable to opt for dresses with modest necklines and hemlines that are not too short. Avoid flashy or bright accessories and opt for subtle, understated jewellery.

Men’s attire

Men should wear a dark suit, ideally in black, charcoal grey, or navy. A white dress shirt and a subdued tie are appropriate. Make sure that the suit is clean, well-fitting and appropriately formal.

Children’s attire

Children should also dress smart and dark or muted colours are often chosen. Traditionally boys will wear a smart shirt and tie with trousers whilst the girls usually opt for a smart dress.


Closed-toe shoes are usually preferred. For men, polished dress shows are the best choice. Women should choose closed-toe shoes that are comfortable for standing and walking.


Keep accessories and jewellery minimal and understated. Avoid anything flashy or attention-grabbing.


If the weather requires a coat, opt for a dark-coloured coat that complements your outfit. Avoid wearing overly casual jackets.

Grooming and hygiene

Make sure your attire is clean and well-presented. Pay attention to personal grooming and hygiene as well.

Cultural and religious considerations

Depending on the cultural or religious background of the deceased and their family, there may be specific attire expectations. If you are unsure, it’s a good idea to ask someone close to the family or the funeral organisers for guidance.

Special requests

It has become common in recent years for the grieving family to request a special colour to be worn at the funeral. This may have been a request from the deceased and part of their wishes that they stated before they died. For example, bright colours or the loved one’s favourite colour. If this is the case, they will specify the dress code ahead of the funeral so pay attention to any specific dress code when you are invited to the funeral service.

Dressing for the seasons

It is expected to dress slightly differently depending on the season. Whilst you want to remain respectfully dressed, you also need to choose clothes that you are comfortable in. Funeral services can last a few hours, so comfort is key and dark colours often make you very warm. To combat this, you can opt for cooler materials and looser-fitting dresses. Men will often take off their jackets so make sure the shirt is needed and pressed.

If the funeral is taking place in winter and involves part of the service being outside, make sure you consider additional layers and opt for dark-coloured scarves, coats and gloves.

What to avoid wearing at a funeral

Unless the family of the deceased has specifically stated otherwise, you should avoid the following:

  • Bright colours
  • Revealing or short clothes
  • Jeans and T-shirts
  • Trainers or flip-flops
  • Caps

Remember that the key is to show respect and empathy for the grieving family to blend in with the formal and solemn atmosphere of the occasion. If you’re uncertain about what to wear, it’s better to err on the side of being slightly overdressed rather than underdressed.