Can I Wear Color to A Funeral
As funeral directors, we often get asked questions about upcoming funeral services and how to prepare for them. One of the most common one’s we hear is, “can I wear this to a funeral?” In years past, there were never any questions about funeral attire. Women wore dark dresses and men wore dark suits. But in today’s evolving world, as more and more people plan memorial services and celebrations of life, funeral attire is evolving. Formal, business casual, casual. The options are truly endless. And understandably, confusing.
With that being said, it is generally understood that regardless of the style of dress, dark colors are always the preferred choice no matter how casual or formal.
Can I Wear Bright Clothes to A Funeral?
For some people, the thought of wearing dark clothes seems out of place or just plain wrong. This is especially true if your loved one was bubbly or uplifting. In this case, wearing dark and somber colored clothing does not reflect the personality of the deceased. Rather than dressing in black, the deceased would probably have preferred bright and colorful clothes to honor them.
If you have an upcoming funeral, you might find yourself in this predicament. Although there is no perfect answer to this, we can offer the following advice.
When in doubt, always play it safe and dress conservatively.
If the family feels that colorful clothing would be a great way to pay tribute, they will be the ones to let you know. If this is the case, they will express this desire to the funeral director or include it on their loved one’s obituary.
However, they may want to have a more traditional funeral service and might feel it is disrespectful if guests are in bright clothing. If you are unsure, we recommend speaking with the funeral director. In the time leading up to the service, the family should not be bothered with questions about clothing choices.
Ways to Incorporate Color into Your Outfit
If the family wishes to have guests in traditional dress clothes, there are still ways to incorporate a splash of color into your outfit. Remember though, if the family has expressed that guests should wear dark clothing, be mindful of that.
For men, a simple way to add a splash of color is with your choice of tie. Try to be mindful of how bright your clothing is and select a tie that accents your suit with some color. Ties should be nice patterns or a simple solid color. If you want to complete the look, pair the tie with a matching pocket square.
For women, adding color can be done through patterns and floral designs. Much like with men’s funeral attire, color should be used to subtly accent your outfit. Try to make sure that your outfit does not have overly bright colors or wild patterns that draw attention.
Remember, you are there to mourn the loss and support the family, you outfit should not make you the center of attention.
When Is Color Appropriate?
Funeral services do not always have to have a conservative dress code. If you will be attending a celebration of life or memorial service for instance, a black suit or dress may not be necessary. Typically, these types of services take place weeks or months after a death. In this case, attire is generally more casual as the service is a lighter atmosphere as guests gather to celebrate a life well lived.
In some cases, the death of a child might call for a brighter wardrobe. It’s common for schools to hold a ceremony for students to attend. Rather than be intimidated or scared by the thought of death, students are encouraged to wear bright colored clothes that they will feel comfortable in.
Remember, every person is different and no two services are the same. Something we often hear families say is “She was always so bubbly and full of life. She wouldn’t want people to be crying and mourning. She’d want them to be celebrating her life.” When this happens, sometimes the family elects to have a colorful service with balloons and bright flowers. The choice is always up to the family when deciding how they will honor a loved one.
Here to Assist You
If you have any questions about funeral attire or etiquette, please do not hesitate to ask. We would be happy to speak with you and offer guidance to help you prepare for the service. We can also connect you with grief support resources to help you through this period of mourning.