Our Thoughts Are With You: What to Wear to a Funeral

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One evening, as you scroll through your social media feed, you see a post noting that your High School English teacher passed away and his funeral is scheduled in two weeks. This teacher was one of the most influential of your childhood. He taught you the love of words and how to express yourself in a concise and professional fashion. The least you can do is pay your respects and attend, even thought this is your first funeral ever.

Now, aside from all emotions you may be feeling, you may be thinking “What do I wear to a funeral?” If this is you, don’t worry,  because you are not alone. Dressing for an occasion you’ve never experienced before can be stressful. Just remember to choose your clothes carefully out of respect for the surviving friends and family members.

Whenever you’re piecing together an outfit, always remind yourself you’re dressing with a purpose. No matter where you’re headed, try to find something that reflects that purpose. We were lucky enough to have obtained some important advice on what to wear to a funeral from suit guru and M. Dumas & Sons CEO, Gary Flynn.

Related: How to Clean a Suit

Without further ado, here’s a quick Q&A style rundown on what to wear to a funeral.

The Basics – What is the most important aspect? Obviously it isn’t somewhere to  standout, but you do want to look put together during condolences. So, what’s the best advice you have for an overall look when remembering a lost loved one? 

Flynn — “I always err on going too dressy as opposed to not dressy enough. It’s respectful and tasteful and will never offend. Simple and subtle would be the next advice. Solids, dark tones. The idea is to not stand out from the crowd for this event, guys.

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Black Suit – Black suits are the standard, but does one style stand out from another? Is one maybe going a bit to far, or on the contrary, is another too plain for a funeral setting? 

Flynn — “I wouldn’t go with a fashion forward looking black suit. The best option is a good fitting, clean, two-button suit. I would steer clear of any fabric that is too shiny, too. Again, subtle and simple is the key.

Navy Suit – What are the benefits of wearing navy rather than black at a funeral? Do you think it’s too far deviated from the “wear black to a funeral” standard?

Flynn — “The main benefit for wearing Navy is that Navy is very in right now and can be worn again and again. A black suit is a little limiting right now. If the Navy fits the bill of being subtle and simple, I think it appropriate to wear as well.”

Accessories – I feel like this one is pretty straight forward. Why and when would you where accessories to a funeral? 

Flynn — “The main accessories to wear would be a pocket square, probably white to match your shirt, a nice watch and your best condolences speech.”

Is there anything else you’d advice for a first time funeral goer? (As sad as that may be to think about) 

Flynn — “This isn’t a scene from The Wedding Crashers. It’s probably not in the best taste to try to “connect” or “hook up” at this event if you ever want to see these people again! Seriously, be polite, be quiet, come with a nice story or two to tell the family about how great the departed was. Those are the things they will cherish.”