What to wear to a funeral: the survival guide (sigh)


I don’t often think about my death – which is a good thing in this modern era and times, isn’t it? – but when my stream of consciousness suddenly takes me to the day of my funeral there is one thing I can’t picture right. No, not what I will be wearing to say goodbye and welcome eternity, I am almost sure of what my  funeral #OOTD will look like; it is what to wear to a funeral as a ‘guest’, or better, my guests, that have me thinking.

So be my guest and let me give you  a few hack on how to put together a funeral outfit that doesn’t stand out.

Yes, discrete is the keyword

No matter how much I keep running it through my head, but when I play it back it does make sense: a funeral outfit is like a wedding guest outfit. Low key, understated are the values to go for: why? Funerals and weddings are ceremonies celebrating the protagonists, their lives and where they end (isn’t that what people say about weddings?) and guests shouldn’t steal their thunder in any possible way, good or bad.

The out of place textile

Fabrics are more than just a tactile choice, fabric communicate and are part of a greater fashion language you and I are still in the learning process. More than focusing on the question ‘do you have to wear black to a funeral’ I would like to warn you on few of the fabrics that will have you dead at my funeral

  • Sheer: sheer is my favourite fabric, whether added to something structured to create volume and layers or to express femininity – I simply can’t resist polka dot sheer fabric. And that’s one hell of a problem, if you stole the show by looking queen of feminine sophistication.


  • Metallic: too much light, too much attention on you, obviously a no go.


  • Vinyl: you are not at Margiela’s front row, so stick to something less bold and outrageous than PVC and vinyl garments



Clean lines and no frills. A sophisticated head piece matched with a pair of oversized dark shades are the spot on to keep your style game on.


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The out of place shoe

No to Trainers, too high heels and slip ons. I when I say slip ons, I mean all the types of shoes that will have fellow mourners turning around to check out who is flapping about on the church super shiny marble floor.

Sling-backs, pointy pumps and open toe sandals are a much better shoe option on what to wear to a funeral in the summer.

The search for comfort and warmth

If it was my funeral you would have to come to, one thing I certainly wouldn’t want you to experience is feeling uncomfortable with what you are wearing, so plan ahead and make your funeral outfit functional as well as appropriate. What to wear to a funeral in winter? As you are looking to protect yourself against the cold during the walk from the Church to the cemetery and then to the family’s house, as it happens in many cultures, you need to wear a coat, a jacket that will keep you warm during the long and slow paced strol: a  wool double breasted coat will give you plenty of elegance and cover, but stick to black.

What about puffer jackets? They are indeed the warmest things to wear in general when temps drop, but make sure that if you are going to a funeral you stay away from shiny shiny materials, and anything that screams streetwear.


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Not the same suit you’ve put on for Jane’s wedding

There is one thing I would hate you for eternity for, that is if you turned up to my funeral wearing the same suit you sported for Jane’s wedding. Or Bob’s graduation. Just go and get another suit to wear for official events and ceremonies, one that possibly fits you now that you have lost all that weight.

Men’s in pastel colored shirts are a no no

I will get into the proper colours to wear to a funeral in a second, but as rule of thumb another thing that will scream ‘ceremony in eastern Europe back in the 70s’ is men showcasing their arrays of office pastel shirts underneath the suit jacket. Monochrome the hell out of that funeral outfit!


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Wearing white to a funeral

Mourning colours can vary from country to country, meaning that black isn’t the only allowed colour worldwide; in China for example wearing white for a funeral is the norm, whilst in Thailand the traditional colours for widows mourning their defunct husbands is purple.

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t mind you wearing white to my funeral, as long everyone else did it too.

My ideal funeral outfit for my guests would involve giving each ‘guest’ a raincoat or a duster jacket, one made specifically for the event, so that when they parade down the streets of my neighborhood, everyone would know something special is going down.