You know the old adage: there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. Each year we have to face off with the taxman to send him a portion of our hard-earned money, but that’s part of what keeps our country running and, in my opinion, is an expense that is worth it. It’s when considering the other part of that adage, death, that it’s harder to find a silver lining. We’ve all had people in our lives that have come and passed, and it never seems to get easier. While it’s unpleasant to think of a funeral, let alone have to attend one, it’s also difficult to try to think of what to wear to one. When thinking of a funeral outfit, typically, the only requirement is to wear dark colors to communicate a time of mourning and sympathy.
However, there are a few unspoken rules when dressing for a funeral. Dress modestly, keep jewelry simple, be comfortable, avoid loud colors and patterns, and make sure your clothes are ironed. Here are our top picks that follow these rules. While it may seem like a strange topic to discuss, when the time comes, and we’re getting ready, the last thing you want to think about is what to wear.
Back in the day, you would have never worn pants to a funeral. Only a dress or skirt would have been appropriate. However, times have changed and unless the funeral is being held at a very formal church, trousers are quite appropriate. When picking out a pair of trousers, try to find something comfortable. You might have to sit for a while, and you don’t want your pants cutting into your stomach or making you get too hot. Personally, I prefer a pair with pockets so I can keep some tissue on hand.
Theory Treeca Pant in Crepe, $88.50 | Kick It Grey High-Waisted Trouser Pants, $44 | Reiss Slim Fit Tailored Berry Trousers, $73 | Boden Hampshire Ponte Wideleg Pants, $110 | Everlane Italian GoWeave Crop Trouser, $86 | Old Navy High-Waisted Super Skinny Ankle Pants, $25
When selecting a top, again, go with comfort. Find an understated color, and make sure it’s modest and an appropriate style. You will likely want to wear a jacket over the blouse so make sure it’s not too ‘blousy’ to go under a blazer.
Hidden Button Long Sleeve Blouse, $19.97+ | Pleated Puff Sleeve Deep V Top, $39.99 | Everlane Silky Cotton Split-Neck Blouse, $40 | Banana Republic Smocked-Neck Blouse, $29.99 | Madewell Striped Sheer-Sleeve Knit Top, $49.50 | Land’s End Supima Top, $20.96 | White House Black Market Poplin Button-Down Shirt, $69
If you are wearing slacks, you will likely want to pair it with a blazer to look more polished in your funeral outfit. I like to have a light blazer along in case I get too cold, and again, I’ve never regretted having an extra pocket for tissues. On a day as somber as a funeral, it’s nice to have more than one layer of clothing, so you’re prepared for anything.
Lands’ End Year’rounder Collarless Blazer, $129.99 | JCREW Going-out blazer in stretch twill, $168 | Karl Lagerfeld Double Breasted Trench Coat, $150.75 | Ann Taylor Petite Relaxed Roll Sleeve Blazer, $179 | JCREW Parke blazer in Italian stretch wool, $288
A skirt is a nice way to dress up but remain comfortable when attending a funeral. To confirm the length is appropriate, make sure you do a ‘sit test’ before leaving your house. The last thing you want is to have to keep tugging down on your skirt while trying to pay attention to the service.
Boden Elizabeth Wrap Skirt, $71.99 | Vince Camuto Ponte Midi Skirt, $69 | Spanx Perfect Black Pencil Skirt, $118 | JCREW Pull-on slip skirt, $59.50 | AtomikLondon – Tulle Maxi Skirt, $36.78 | Boden Atkins Tweed Skirt, $91
Keep it simple. Wear jewelry that is understated and classy and won’t jangle around during the service.
Talbots Floating Pearl Earrings, $29.50 | Sterling Silver Overlap Bangle, $129 | Mixed Texture Links Earrings, $29.50 | Madewell Chunky Large Hoop Earrings, $24 | Charter Club Pearl Three-Row Collar Necklace, $39.50 | Banana Republic Hoop Earrings, $21.98 | Kendra Scott Kaki Gunmetal Statement Earrings, $248 | Alexis Bittar Large Skinny Hoop Earring, $145 | Gorjana Parker Necklace, $65
Choose an understated dress that is comfortable, modest, and weather-appropriate.
Everlane Cupro Blouson Dress, $65 | Banana Republic Jacquard Midi Dress, $54.99 | Talbots Easy Travel Dress, $159 | Theory Square Neck Dress, $227.50 | Black Halo Nuelle Sheath Dress, $345 | Ann Taylor Navy Square Neck Sheath Dress, $139
Because you’ll sit through much of the service, you can elect to wear pretty much any pair of shoes you’d like. Keep in mind if you’re going to attend an outdoor event, you might not want anything that will be hard to walk in. I always keep a pair of dark glasses available so I can cover my red eyes, and I like to have a scarf or pretty hair tie to dress up my outfit a bit while still remaining subtle.
Dillards CC Corso Como, $129 | Anthropologie Oversized Round Sunglasses, $38 |Prada Sunglasses, $310 |Talbots Wicker Crossbody Bag, $159 | Anthropologie Canvas Scarf Scrunchie Set, $32 | Talbots Pencil Floral Silk Square Scarf, $54.99
When attending a funeral, the last thing you want to worry about is what you’re wearing. It’s not about looking your best; it’s about planning ahead and staying prepared. Wear something comfortable, modest, and weather-appropriate, and remember that what really matters is that you’re there supporting family and friends and remembering someone that has passed on.
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