What To Wear To A Memorial Service ?


What to wear to a memorial service ?

What to wear to a memorial service and funeral attire used to be so incredibly simple and straight forward : wear black. However, things have changed and nowadays, black no longer as important of a requirement. One particular funeral might require bright colors, while another may require traditional Scottish kilts. Confusing, right ?


So how exactly do you figure out what to wear to a memorial service or funeral, you’re wondering ? Well, you’re in luck because we’ve put together for you a handy little guide with the 5 main things to keep in mind when dressing for a funeral or a memorial service.


Is Black Imperative ? 


In most western cultures, black has always been the color of mourning, but nowadays, not everyone respects that rule necessarily. So ask yourself, has the family mentioned a dress code including the color black ? The family may have certain wished for how they would like attendees to dress, and if they do you ought to respect them, even if that means wearing black or bright colors to honor the departed’s bright life.  Your very first concern should be respecting the wishes of the departed and those of their family.


If you’re a family member of the deceased, keep in mind that you set the tone, and so you can base your outfit choice on what would’ve been the deceased’s wishes. However, if you aren’t a close family member, then avoid wearing something that could possibly be offensive, and err on the more conventional, conservative side.

What to wear to a memorial service

Think of the Weather


When choosing an outfit, it’s just as important to think of the weather. Why, you might be thinking : The graveyard service.


You don’t want to be in very light clothing and then be soaking wet at the graveyard if it’s raining. In order to avoid awkward situations like that, take a look at the weather forecast. What’s suitable will be contingent upon the current weather conditions along with time of the year.


All of this may seem like a serious exaggeration, but I once made the mistake of wearing high heels to a graveside service while it was raining, the heels sunk completely into the ground and were completely filthy and covered in mud; so believe me, you never want to end up in that situation.


Is a specific religious tradition being observed ? 


One of the most important things to keep in mind when attending and dressing for a funeral is religious traditions. It’s a absolutely imperative to be completely respectful in that regard. Anything less than your full attention and diligence can be considered bad manners.


So if you are going to soon be attending to a religious memorial service or funeral, figure out whether there are some requirements regarding the dress code. For instance, in some cases, women can be asked to wear skirts and dresses, in other cases men and women may be asked to dress very conservatively and maybe even cover their heads.


Christian funerals are quite different from Jewish funerals, or say Muslim funerals. Observing religious customs funeral is a way to show your  admiration and respect to the deceased person and their religion, even if it’s not your own.


How about children ?


If you’re planning on bringing kids to the service, you needn’t worry much. Any clothes that may be considered appropriate for church or a wedding will do. The only to maybe avoid are overly casual clothes. Neon yellow and pinks are maybe not a great idea.


Is it a Funeral or a Memorial Service ?


Memorial services are generally less formal compared to funerals. For memorial services, unless given specific instructions, stick to the general business casual look.


Suggestions for Women :

What to wear to a memorial service

For attending a funeral, consider wearing something that’s is formal, but definitely avoid anything too revealing.It doesn’t necessarily have to be black as long as it’s something that doesn’t draw a lot of attention.


If after all these tips, you’re still unsure, here are some suggestions.




  • A pantsuit or skirt suit
  • A Shirt and dress trousers (can include a blouse )
  • A dress (can add a coat )
  • Shirt and skirt (possibly with sweater)



  • Pumps, flats, or boots
  • No tennis shoes or flip flops



  • bracelets are always a tasteful option
  • Steer clear of big statement pieces that draw attention


Suggestions for men


The easiest and most straightforward choice when it comes to dressing for a funeral for men is a suit. You could however get away with just wearing pants plus a button-down shirt.




  • A dark suit is foolproof
  • Dress pants and button-down shirt (can add a sweater )
  • A tie is tasteful but optional



  • Loafers, dress shoes, or boots
  • No tennis shoes or flip flops


The man takeaway here is that is the family’s failed to specify what to wear, err on the side of caution. Opt for black or dark colored business casual attire.