Do I need to wear black to a funeral?

Wearing black has always been a traditional mark of respect at a funeral, and a way to reflect the formality and sombre nature of the occasion. In more recent times, funeral etiquette has become more relaxed, and wearing black isn’t always necessary. Many people now view funerals as being as much about celebrating a person’s life as saying goodbye to them, and your your choice of clothes can reflect that. Whilst black is still the most popular option for funeral attire, wearing colour is no longer seen as taboo.

Do I need to wear black to a funeral?

No. Unless the family have specifically requested that mourners wear black, it can generally be assumed that any darker or more subdued colours will be acceptable. This could include dark greys, browns, or navy, although deep green, deep purple or lighter greys could also work too. If black feels like the most appropriate colour to wear, you could always choose a subtle splash of colour elsewhere, such as on a tie or scarf.

Wearing patterned clothing is fine, but stick to more subtle patterns unless the family have requested a more expressive dress code. Aside from the colour of your clothes, the most important thing you can do is to look smart and tidy, showing that you have made an effort for the occasion.

What should I wear to a funeral with a ‘no black’ dress code?

Establishing what is meant by a no-black dress code can be tricky. For some families, ‘no black’ means that darker or more subdued colours should be worn instead of black, for others it means lighter, brighter colours and bolder patterns are acceptable. If you can, try to find out from the family what they mean by ‘no black’. If in doubt, stick to a more subdued colour palette but add a touch of colour or pattern through hats, accessories or jewellery.

Some families will request a certain colour for funeral attire, or a specific item of clothing (such as wellies, or a particular style of hat). Other families may invite you to wear any colour you please, or to be bold with your outfit. This dress code is typically chosen for more personalised or ‘celebration of life’ funerals, or when the deceased had a specific style of dress. In this instance, you can’t really go wrong! Simply choose something that feels smart, comfortable and reflects your own personality.

You don’t have to be flamboyant if it doesn’t feel right for you – a bold tie, or a plain dress in a simple colour, can still feel respectful whilst honouring the wishes of the family.

How to find out what the dress code for a funeral is?

If the family has requested a dress code, this will typically be included on the funeral notice, or on the memorial web page set up for the deceased. If there is no specific information about attire on the funeral notice then it can generally be assumed that darker or more subdued colours should be worn. If you are close to the family or know someone who is, you may consider asking them for clarification, otherwise their chosen funeral director should be able to advise you.

If you would like to find out more about Dillamore, and how we can support you, call us on 01525 372 210 or use our contact form. You can also arrange a time to visit us in person using our online appointment booking tool. We’re here for you, for as long as you need us.

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