Style Blog/Guides

What Should Men Wear to a Funeral?

Published on June 10, 2024

By Lily Ertischek
Men's black suit with white shirt and white tie for funeral attire.
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Men's Funeral Attire

Traditional funeral attire for men typically includes a black suit, white dress shirt, plain tie, and dress shoes. However, while this ensemble is considered the standard, various factors and circumstances may influence a man's choice of funeral attire. In the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one, navigating what to wear can feel like an additional burden. This article aims to provide guidance and reassurance, addressing the nuances of funeral attire for men and offering suggestions to help alleviate some of the stress during this difficult time.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose traditional funeral attire like a black suit, white dress shirt, and conservative tie to show respect.
  • Consider factors such as season, religious customs, and family preferences when selecting attire.
  • Opt for alternative dark-colored suits like navy blue or charcoal gray if black isn't available.
  • Keep accessories subtle and understated, avoiding flashy or distracting pieces.
  • Remember that the primary focus is paying respects to the departed, so prioritize being present and respectful.

What Should a Man Wear to a Funeral?

Navigating the appropriate attire for a funeral can be a daunting task, particularly when grappling with the emotions of loss. Traditionally, men's funeral attire adheres to a somber and respectful aesthetic, reflecting the solemnity of the occasion. Here's a breakdown of the key elements:

  • Black suit: The cornerstone of men's funeral attire is a black suit. This symbolizes both reverence for the deceased and a mark of respect for the solemnity of the occasion. A well-fitted black suit provides a dignified and understated appearance, allowing the focus to remain on honoring the departed.
  • White dress shirt: Paired with the black suit, a white dress shirt offers a stark yet classic contrast. White symbolizes purity and solemnity, underscoring the reverence of the occasion. Additionally, the simplicity of a white dress shirt emphasizes the gravity of the event without drawing unnecessary attention.
  • Conservative tie: A conservative necktie complements the overall attire while adding a touch of formality. Opt for subdued colors and patterns, such as solid black or dark shades, to maintain a respectful demeanor. The tie serves as a subtle yet essential accessory, contributing to a polished and dignified appearance.
  • Black dress shoes: Completing the ensemble, black dress shoes provide a refined and cohesive look. Choose shoes that are polished and free of embellishments, ensuring they complement the solemn tone of the occasion. Comfort and practicality are also essential considerations, as funerals often involve extended periods of standing and walking.

By adhering to these traditional elements of men's funeral attire, individuals can pay their respects with dignity and solemnity, while honoring the memory of the departed.

Man buttoning his dress shirt cuffs for a funeral wearing a black suit and dark patterned tie.

What Are Alternative Colors for Men’s Funeral Attire?

While traditional funeral attire for men typically revolves around a black suit, there are alternative options that still convey respect and solemnity. One such alternative is a navy blue suit, which offers a subtle departure from black while maintaining a dignified appearance. Navy blue exudes a sense of sophistication and reverence, making it a suitable choice for honoring the departed.

Another alternative to consider is a dark charcoal gray suit. Like navy blue, charcoal gray is a versatile and understated option that conveys seriousness and respect. Its muted tone strikes a balance between tradition and modernity, allowing individuals to express their sorrow while incorporating a touch of personal style.

Regardless of the color chosen, the overarching principle remains the same: dressing in darker hues to convey respect for the grieving process. Dark colors symbolize mourning and solemnity, reflecting the gravity of the occasion and demonstrating solidarity with those who are mourning. 

What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing a Funeral Outfit?

Selecting an appropriate outfit for a funeral involves careful consideration of various factors to ensure that it not only adheres to the dress code, like formal or black-tie attire, but also reflects respect and sensitivity toward the occasion. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Time of year

The time of year plays a significant role in determining the most suitable funeral attire. During warmer months, lightweight fabrics and lighter colors may be more comfortable and appropriate. In contrast, colder months call for heavier fabrics and darker hues to provide warmth and convey solemnity. Adapting your attire to the season demonstrates practicality and thoughtfulness, ensuring comfort while maintaining reverence for the occasion.

Religious considerations

Religious customs and traditions can heavily influence funeral attire. Different faiths may have specific guidelines regarding clothing, colors, and modesty. It's essential to respect these traditions and dress accordingly out of deference to the deceased and their beliefs. Researching the religious practices associated with the funeral can help ensure that your attire aligns with the expectations and customs of the religious community involved.

The deceased and their family

Consideration should also be given to the preferences of the deceased and their grieving family. While traditional funeral attire typically consists of dark colors and conservative styles, there may be instances where the family requests a more relaxed dress code, like semi-formal attire, or encourages attendees to wear specific colors or attire that reflects the deceased’s personality or interests. Respecting the wishes of the family demonstrates empathy and support during their time of mourning.

Men's navy blue suit for a funeral with a dark blue shirt and tie.
Men's funeral outfit with a charcoal grey suit, light pink tie, and light blue dress shirt.

What Not to Wear to a Funeral

Understanding what not to wear to a funeral is just as important as knowing what to wear. While the desire for comfort or personal expression is natural, certain garments or accessories may be deemed inappropriate for such solemn occasions. The family's wishes are most important, so if they've requested any specific attire to honor their loved one, be sure to adhere. Otherwise, here's a breakdown of items to avoid and why:

  • Jeans: Although jeans are comfortable and versatile, they are generally considered too casual for a funeral. They lack the formality and reverence expected for such an occasion. Opting for more formal trousers or slacks demonstrates respect for the grieving process.
  • T-shirts: T-shirts, especially those with graphic designs or slogans, are too casual and informal for a funeral. They can be distracting and may detract from the solemn atmosphere. Choosing a collared shirt in a muted color helps maintain a respectful appearance and honors the memory of the deceased.
  • Flip flops: Flip flops are inherently casual footwear and are therefore unsuitable for a funeral. They lack the formality and dignity expected for ceremonies of life. Closed-toe shoes, such as dress shoes like Oxfords of Brogues, are more appropriate and convey a sense of respect for the solemnity of the event.
  • Sneakers: While sneakers are comfortable and practical for everyday wear, they are too casual for a funeral. Their athletic appearance clashes with the formality of the occasion and may be seen as disrespectful. Opting for dress shoes or other formal footwear helps convey respect to the departed.
  • Bright colors: Bright colors, although vibrant and eye-catching, are generally inappropriate for a funeral. They can be perceived as celebratory rather than somber, detracting from the respectful tone of the event. Choosing muted or dark colors, such as black, navy, or charcoal gray, helps maintain a dignified and respectful appearance.
  • Loud accessories: Accessories that are flashy or overly ornate, such as large statement jewelry or brightly colored ties or accent pieces, should be avoided at funerals. They can draw attention away from the purpose of the gathering and may be seen as inappropriate or disrespectful. Opt for subtle and understated accessories that complement, rather than detract from, the solemn atmosphere.
Man dressed in a 3 piece navy suit for a funeral with a white boutonnière and a patterned navy tie

Men’s Funeral Attire FAQs

What is the most appropriate color to wear to a funeral?

Traditionally, black is the preferred color for funeral attire in most Western traditions. It symbolizes mourning and solemnity, reflecting respect for the deceased and solidarity with the grieving. However, if black is unavailable or not preferred, alternatives such as navy blue, charcoal gray, and dark brown may also be considered acceptable, as long as they convey reverence and respect.

What accessories can men wear to a funeral?

Men attending a funeral can opt for subtle accessories to complement their attire tastefully. Simple finishes with limited detailing or patterns are acceptable, such as a classic watch, understated cufflinks, and a tie with a conservative design. A tie bar can also add a touch of sophistication, ensuring a polished look. Remember to avoid flashy, bright, or distracting accessories, as they may detract from the solemnity of the occasion. Additionally, consider the option to pin a boutonniere as a respectful gesture of remembrance.

What can men wear to a funeral if they don’t have a suit?

If you don't have a suit available, there are still respectful options for funeral attire. Opt for a plain white button-up dress shirt or collared shirt paired with dark-colored dress pants or slacks. Complete the ensemble with a black tie to maintain a somber and dignified appearance. If you have a smart or sleek dark-colored jacket or coat, this can serve as an alternative to a suit jacket, adding a touch of formality to your outfit.

It's essential to remember that being present to honor the memory of the deceased is the most important aspect. As long as you adhere to traditional funeral colors, such as black or darker hues, you'll remain respectful. Aim for business casual or business professional attire to convey reverence for the occasion, ensuring that your outfit reflects the solemnity of the event while paying tribute to the departed.

Figuring Out Funeral Attire for Men

In navigating funeral attire for men, we've explored essential considerations to ensure respect and reverence for the occasion. Traditionally, a black suit, white dress shirt, and conservative tie are standard, but alternatives like navy blue or charcoal gray offer respectful options. Accessories should be subtle, avoiding flashy distractions.

For those without a suit, a plain white button-up shirt paired with dark slacks and a black tie, complemented by a sleek dark jacket, can maintain the solemn tone. Remember, the priority is honoring the memory of the deceased.

At SuitShop, we understand the significance of such moments and offer affordable options without compromising quality. Our Fit Finder and Fit Guide ensure your attire is not only respectful but also perfectly tailored to you. Trust SuitShop for dignified funeral attire that honors tradition without breaking the bank.

Lily Ertischek
Lily Ertischek

Lily is constantly reading, keeping up with the latest TV, and seeking out the best bites. She lives in New York City.

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