Your Guide on What to Wear to a Catholic Funeral
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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

Your Guide on What to Wear to a Catholic Funeral

Updated: Jul 19

A funeral is a sombre occasion that requires appropriate attire as a sign of respect for the deceased and their family. When attending a Catholic funeral, it's important to be mindful of the traditional customs and expectations associated with the Catholic faith.

Whether you’re headed to both the funeral home as well as the catholic funeral mass or only attending one event, it’s important to wear the appropriate funeral attire. If this is your first time attending a Catholic funeral service, you can bookmark this post for future reference.


In today’s blog post, I will provide guidelines on what to wear to a Catholic funeral, taking into consideration the significance of the event and the cultural and religious sensitivities involved. As this service takes place in a Catholic church, you want your outfit to be appropriate to show a sign of respect to the bereaved’s family members.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no cost to you.

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What to Wear to a Catholic funeral and Proper Etiquette Guidelines

1. Dress Conservatively: Catholic funeral services are typically solemn and formal affairs. Therefore, it's important to dress in a conservative and modest manner. Avoid wearing flashy, revealing, or overly casual clothing.

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Opt for subdued and respectful attire that shows reverence for the occasion. Men should wear dark-colored suits or dress pants with a dress shirt and tie. Women should choose modest dresses, skirts, or pant suits in dark or muted colors.

2. Choose Appropriate Colors: Black is the traditional color associated with mourning and is often worn at Catholic funerals. However, it's not mandatory to wear all black clothing. In modern times, other muted or dark colors such as navy, charcoal, gray, or dark brown are also considered appropriate. A black suit is the safest choice for men while a black midi dress is a good idea for women.

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Avoid wearing bright colors, bold patterns, or flashy accessories as they may be considered disrespectful in a funeral setting. It's also advisable to avoid wearing all white as it may be associated with celebrations rather than mourning in the Catholic faith.

3. Mindful of Modesty: Modesty is an important aspect of Catholic funeral attire. Both men and women should ensure that their clothing is modest and respectful. Avoid clothing that is too revealing, tight-fitting, or provocative. Women should avoid wearing low-cut dresses or tops, short skirts, or sleeveless or strapless dresses.

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Men should avoid wearing shorts, tank tops, or shirts with offensive or inappropriate graphics or slogans. Clothing should cover the shoulders, chest, and knees as a sign of respect for the sacredness of the funeral service. Opt for formal attire versus a casual outfit.

4. Consider Religious Customs: Catholic funerals may involve specific religious customs, and it's important to be mindful of these when selecting your attire. For example, some Catholic churches may require women to head coverings such as a hat or a scarf as a sign of reverence during the religious service.

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It's a good idea to check with the family or the church to see if there are any specific customs or guidelines to follow. If in doubt, it's always best to err on the side of caution and choose more conservative attire. A long black skirt with a long-sleeved blouse in a dark color would be a great option.

5. Pay Attention to Accessories: Accessories can be meaningful and expressive, but it's important to choose them carefully for a funeral. Avoid flashy or distracting accessories that may draw attention away from the somber atmosphere of the funeral service unless this is a celebration of life and the family has asked people to dress flashy.

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Instead, opt for simple and understated accessories that complement your attire. For example, a simple necklace, a small cross pendant, or a pair of discreet earrings can be appropriate. Avoid wearing large or flashy jewelry, colorful scarves, or overly elaborate hair accessories.

6. Consider the Season and Location: The season and location of the funeral can also influence your attire choice. If the funeral is held in the summer or in a warm climate, lightweight and breathable fabrics may be more comfortable. However, it's still important to maintain a conservative and modest appearance.

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Avoid wearing overly casual or beachwear-inspired clothing, such as shorts, flip-flops, or sundresses. Instead, opt for lightweight and modest dresses or lightweight suits in conservative or dark colours. If the funeral is held in the winter or in a cold climate, consider wearing layers to stay warm while still maintaining a respectful appearance.

7. Dress Comfortably: Funerals can be emotionally and physically draining, so it's essential to dress comfortably. Avoid clothing that is too tight, too loose, or restrictive in any way. Opt for clothing that allows you to move easily and sit or stand comfortably for an extended period of time when attending a traditional Catholic funeral.

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Comfortable and appropriate footwear is also important, as you may need to stand or walk for long periods during the funeral service or burial. Catholic services can be pretty lengthy when they for special occasions.

Choose closed-toe shoes that are clean and polished, such as dress shoes or flats, and avoid wearing sandals, or sneakers unless they are discreet and appropriate for the occasion.

8. Follow the Dress Code: Some Christian funerals may have specific dress codes or guidelines that you need to follow. For example, if the funeral is a military funeral, there may be a requirement to wear a uniform or specific attire.

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It's important to respect and adhere to any dress code or guidelines provided by the family or the church to avoid any discomfort or inconvenience during the funeral service.

9. Avoid Loud Prints or Logos: When choosing your attire, avoid clothing with loud prints, logos, or slogans, as they can be distracting and may not be considered appropriate for a funeral.

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Stick to solid colors or subtle patterns that are respectful and understated. Avoid clothing with offensive or inappropriate graphics, as they can be considered disrespectful in a funeral setting.

10. Be Mindful of Cultural Sensitivities: Catholic funerals may have different cultural customs and sensitivities depending on the location and the family's background. It's important to be respectful and considerate of these cultural sensitivities when choosing your attire.

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For example, some cultures may require more conservative attire or specific colors to be worn at funerals. Do some research or ask the family or the church if you are unsure about any cultural customs that may apply to the funeral you are attending.

When attending a Catholic funeral, it's essential to dress in a respectful, conservative, and modest manner. Opt for dark or muted colors, avoid flashy or revealing clothing, and be mindful of cultural customs or religious sensitivities.

Dressing appropriately for a funeral is a sign of respect for the deceased and their family and helps maintain the somber atmosphere of the occasion. Remember to choose comfortable clothing and footwear, and follow any specific dress code or guidelines provided by the family or the church.

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By dressing appropriately, you can show your respect and support for the grieving family during this difficult time. Bear in mind that other mourners may be receiving holy communion during the requiem mass. You are not obliged to partake in this part of the service, especially if you are not Christian.

You are welcome however to sprinkle holy water on yourself before sitting down and before exiting the church. No need to wait for a Catholic priest to do so for you.

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Do check out my post: 8 Outfit Ideas to Wear to a Memorial Service for some more outfit inspiration if you’re headed to a funeral, burial or memorial service.

I also have a post: 11 Best Shoes to Wear With a Black Dress in case you’re pulling out your LBD for a fancy occasion.

If you're headed to a funeral during the summer, check out my post: 7+ Outfits to Wear to a Summer Funeral.

Headed to a Celebration of Life? Check out my post: 20 Outfits to Wear to a Celebration of Life.

For some great options of what to wear to a vigil, check out my post: 9+ Outfits to wear to a Vigil or Funeral.

Until the next post,



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