Funerals are one of the saddest events we can attend in this life. Losing a loved one is hard and oftentimes; a funeral really reminds of how certain death is and how fleeting life is.
If you are preparing for a funeral or memorial service, first, I would like to extend my condolences. I pray you find peace, comfort ant the consolation you need as you grieve.
Memorial services are typically held during the anniversary of the death of a loved one. They can also be seen as a celebration of life ceremony to honor the memory of the person who has passed away. A funeral service is typically a more somber occasion than a memorial service as it occurs sooner after an individual has passed away.
Wearing the appropriate attire to a formal memorial service is very important. You want to pay your respects to the deceased as well as respect the family members left behind. The most important thing to remember when it comes to traditional funeral attire is to stick with darker colors. In today’s blog post, I would be sharing some great options of outfits you could wear to a memorial service.
Bright colors are typically frowned upon at funerals as well as memorial services. Most people wear black clothing to a traditional funeral service however darker colors such as dark blue could possibly be worn. Formal attire is the general rule when it comes to funerals, where men wear black suits and women wear conservative black dresses.
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Unless otherwise stated by the family of the deceased, it is wise to stick to black and very dark colors if you are attending a memorial service. Sometimes, the deceased leaves instructions as to how attendees should attend their funeral or memorial service.
Make sure you follow their wishes and dress according to the dress code provided. If you are unsure, it’s always a good idea to stick to black.
What to wear to a memorial service
If the memorial service does not specify a dress code, it is best to show up in formal attire. Think of what you would wear to a jo interview and go from there. Here are some good choices of outfits you could wear to either a graveside service or a celebration of life service.
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1) Black pant suit
This is the best choice to go with if the memorial service is a formal event and you are unsure of what to wear. A black suit is a funeral classic. You could wear a black or white button-down shirt underneath your suit jacket for a proper formal look. If you are attending a religious funeral, I suggest you do not show any cleavage not only out of reverence for the religious institution but also as a sign of respect to the deceased’s family.
The best way to complete this look is with a pair of black dress shoes or black pumps. Keep the heel low and the design simple as you’re going for a funeral, not a fashion show. You could usually get away with a dark blue suit if you do not own a black one. Just avoid suits in lighter colors.
2) Black midi dress
Midi dresses are the best type of dresses to wear to a solemn occasion such as a memorial service. They are long enough to cover most of your legs while not dramatizing your outfit. A long black dress may be a bit much for a memorial service if you are not an immediate family member.
A simple black dress is a great option to choose in order to not be the centre of attention. You could add a pair of black tights underneath your dress if you are concerned about its length. Black tights or leggings are also a good idea if the service is taking place during the inter months. Complete your look with a pair of black ballet flats or kitten heels.
3) Black pencil skirt
A black pencil skirt is a wardrobe staple we have all worn to the office at one point in time. An appropriate outfit you can wear to celebrations of life is a black midi pencil skirt with a long-sleeved shirt in a dark color. A white shirt could also be worn instead of a black one and paired with a black blazer or jacket. You could also wear a black cardigan for some extra warmth.
Instead of a button-down shirt, you could also opt for a simple blouse in one of the dark colours. Blouses with short sleeves can be worn to memorial service during the summer months. Try to avoid pencil skirts that go above your knees and if they do, add a pair of tights underneath.
4) Black coat
Sometimes a memorial service is held graveside and is very brief. Loved ones gather round the tombstone to share a few words and exchange pleasantries. If there is no follow up at the funeral home or hall, you may need just a black coat to show up to the service. A chic black coat keeps your attire appropriate while keeping you warm.
This is a great option if the memorial service is taking place during the winter months. Complete your look with a pair of black leather gloves and black boots. Black ankle boots work if your outfit underneath is longer.
I also like this more affordable option HERE
5) Black pants + a blouse
If you don’t own a full dark suit, you can always pair one of your black blazers with a pair of black pants to re-create the black pantsuit look. Wear a black blouse or top underneath to maintain the traditional color palette. You could also get away with a black tank top or a black camisole with spaghetti straps. Just make sure your blazer or jacket covers your shoulder.
Keep your makeup and jewelry minimal when dressing for a memorial service. For footwear, complete your look with a pair of loafers, flats or sensible heels. Pumps are the best option to go with if you are going to wear high heels as they are the most covered shoe.
6) Black jumpsuit
A simple black jumpsuit could replace a funeral dress and take a step away from traditional funeral attire. Choose a jumpsuit in a simple cut that is not body-hugging. If you wish to add some extra layers to keep warm, try wearing a fitted sweater or black shirt underneath your jumpsuit.
Pair your jumpsuit with ankle boots during the colder months or a pair of flats. You can also look for jumpsuits made from thicket materials if you are dressing up during the winter. A trench coat or other long jacket could be worn as outerwear.
7) Black sweater with pants
If the memorial service you are attending has a religious service, you want to show reverence when you get there. The best way to do so is to dress as conservatively as possible. This does not mean you should go and borrow your grandmother’s old dresses.
An easy business casual outfit you can put together is a black sweater paired with dark dress pants. You probably already wear this to work during the winter and it works as well for a formal or casual memorial service. During the colder months, opt for a black turtleneck sweater.
8) Black leather pants with a shirt
You do not have to stick to traditional pants when dressing for a memorial service. An outfit that could work for both a place of worship as well as a rented hall would be a white shirt paired with wide-legged leather pants. I’m not asking you to whip out your tight leather pants but rather the looser-fitting ones.
Complete your look with a long black coat and a pair of heels or ankle boots. The white and black contrast would be a classic look that is accepted at most funerals and memorial services.
Whether you are attending the memorial service of a close friend or a family member, there are some important guidelines to follow:
i) Respect the wishes of the deceased. If they asked for guests to wear color, then by all means do so. If not, avoid bright colors
ii) It’s always safest to go with an all black outfit if you are unsure
iii) Keep jewelry and makeup to a minimum
iv) Keep your footwear simple – no crazy high heels but no flip flops neither
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I hope you have gotten sufficient outfit ideas for the next time you are headed to a memorial service or a funeral. Black and conservative is the traditional dress code you can always rely on. Less is more is a good rule of thumb to remember.
I invite you to check out my post: 7 outfits to wear to a TV interview. A lot of the same rules used her apply there.
I also have a post titled: What to wear to court (as a woman) should you be wondering what outfits you can wear to the courtroom.
If you're headed to a Catholic funeral more specifically, check out my Guide on What to Wear to a Catholic Funeral.
Headed to a Nigerian funeral for your first time? Check out my post: 10 Outfits That are Appropriate to Wear to a Nigerian Funeral.
Find the perfect outfit to wear to a Celebration of Life on my post: 20 Outfits to Wear to a Celebration of Life.
If you're headed to a funeral during the summer, check out my post: 7+ Outfits to Wear to a Summer Funeral.
Until the next post,