The Funeral Outfit Guide for Men: What to Wear to a Funeral

Guidelines to help you navigate the dress code of the contemporary funeral scene.

At a more formal or traditional funeral, you may be expected to wear black dress clothes. But for many contemporary funerals all that is expected is something nice, perhaps in darker colors. For others, there is may be no expectation of dress at all, and for some non-traditional funerals (perhaps a “celebration of life” or a funeral for a cosplay enthusiast) you may be expected to dress in bright, celebratory colors or even in a superhero outfit.

However, most people at most funerals want to pay their respects to the deceased and the family by dressing in a way that communicates sympathy and mouring, so here is our collection of tips, guidelines, and ideas for men and what to wear at a funeral.

Guidelines for what to wear at a funeral

General tips on clothing:

  • Black is a traditional color, always appropriate
  • Non-black clothing is generally acceptable, as long as it isn’t brightly colored
  • Shirts/dresses should cover up to the neck; no open collars
  • Pants/dresses should cover the knees; no shorts or miniskirts
  • No flip-flops or athletic shoes
  • In a casual setting, t-shirts may be appropriate — but avoid wild prints, logos, etc
  • Keep a formal jacket on hand; this basic addition can help make many outfits passable!

General tips on style:

  • Subdued style and colors; you do not want to attract attention away from the deceased
  • Style should be characterized as tasteful and conservative
  • Dress as you would for church or a job interview
  • Revealing attire is generally not appropriate; many traditions require shoulders and knees covered
  • Be considerate of any religious setting; i.e., some require hats for women and/or men
  • For information on funeral traditions of different religions, see here

Tips for men:

  • Dark suits or buttoned shirts are always appropriate
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, something with a collar
  • Wear a belt and tuck in shirt
  • Wear dress shoes or loafers
  • Avoid sneakers, athletic shoes, flip flops
  • Avoid jeans (though in many settings, dark jeans with tucked in shirt is acceptable)
  • Avoid shorts
  • Avoid baseball caps
  • Basic funeral oufit ideas:
  • Dress suit with tie
  • Slacks, polo shirt, belt
  • Slacks, button down shirt, tie
  • Slacks, button down shirt, vest
  • Slacks, button down shirt, blazer
Traditionally, appropriate attire for men attending a funeral has been a black, gray or dark blue suit with a collared shirt and tie. These days, however, it is quite acceptable to wear slacks and a blazer or sport coat instead of a suit, to omit the tie, or to opt for a collared golf shirt in place of a dress shirt or button-down. Colors are still usually subdued, but are no longer limited to black, gray and navy. When in doubt, it’s probably safe to choose more conservative options if you are concerned about being underdressed.
Dignity Memorial

Funeral outfit ideas for men

Starting off with the classic look of the traditional black suit and tie:

Here is the traditional look with a little modern flair thrown in by substituting a black shirt:

If you don’t have a formal black suit available, the next best option is the suit you do have. Below is a classy charcoal suit with gray shirt and tie:

If you don’t have a suit, go with the classic, time-honored dress shirt and tie. Again, stick with darker colors, black pants if at all possible:

Now we’ll get into some dressy casual looks which will be appropriate for most funerals. Here is a nice combination of black chinos, a charcoal blazer, and dress shirt:

If you’d like to make jeans work for attending a funeral or memorial service, try to class it up as much as possible. Here the jeans are dark, and balanced nicely with a sweater and tie:

For most contemporary funerals here in the USA, a respectful casual look will not look out of place. Khakis or dress pants paired with a collared shirt and sweater is a good standard:

Or, for warmer climes, go with a vest instead of the sweater. You can go with or without the tie; but with is definitely the superior option:

This is an except from an article originally posted on US Urns Online.