In Western cultures, wearing red to a funeral is frowned upon and black is the color of choice. A funeral is a somber event and as a sign of respect, a muted color such as black is more ideal .
If you don’t want to wear black, other colors that are acceptable are dark blue and grey. Basically, any color such as red that pops out or makes you stand out from the crowd should be avoided in favor of subdued colors.
Wearing black to a funeral is a tradition that can be traced back to Roman times when they used to wear a black toga, as a sign of mourning and respect.
As far as patterns and textures are concerned, the theme here to be followed as well is that of subtlety. Any threads that might grab attention towards you are a big no-no.
Why is red not worn to a funeral?
From a visual standpoint, red as a color has a tendency to pop out. This is far from ideal at a funeral where blending is preferable. Due to these reasons, in Western culture, wearing red to a funeral is not advisable.
A funeral is a ceremony that displays a sign of respect to the person who has passed away. Keeping in line with this emotion, the outfits of the event are conservative and muted unlike vibrant colors such as red and yellow.
Due to this, black, grey, and dark blues are the best choices for a funeral. Red is seen as a color of joy, energy, and love – which is not in line with a funeral’s overall setting.
Red’s inherently positive emotions and vibes are in stark contrast to the somber and subtle atmosphere of a funeral. You wouldn’t want to be the person who’s seen as being disrespectful or distasteful.
Are there any exceptions to wearing red to a funeral?
While you should avoid wearing red to a funeral, there are certain situations where it may be permitted. If you absolutely have to wear red, stick to darker shades such as burgundy which won’t make you stand out instantly.
Secondly, at events such as a celebration of life, which is a much more cheerful event as compared to a funeral, people are in fact encouraged to wear bright and joyous colors such as red.
In eastern cultures, as opposed to western ones, red represents happiness and good fortune. Due to this, it may not be considered taboo to wear red due to the positive connotations that come with it.
That being said, as a general rule of thumb, stick to muted colors when it comes to a funeral and steer clear of wearing red as it may come across as inappropriate and distasteful.
Do’s and don’ts of funeral attire
Here are the do’s and don’ts of funeral attire.
- A simple rule to follow for attending a funeral is to wear clothes that would not look out of place at a business meeting.
- Ask for advice from a relative or the funeral director as to what to wear. It is totally okay to do that.
- Dress in such a way that you can blend in with the crowd. A funeral is a somber setting and it is advisable to not stand out like a sore thumb.
- Make it a point to carry sunglasses. You never know how grief might creep on you and in case it gets too much to handle, having sunglasses handy is always a good practice.
- Do not dress in a way to grab extra attention. This is frowned upon at a funeral as can be seen as disrespectful by your fellow attendees.
- Do not wear bright colors, fancy patterns, or prints. This goes against a funeral’s subtle and respectful vibes.
- Do not under-dress. Steer clear of flip-flops or anything that may come off as too casual. When it doubt, overdress.
What to wear To a funeral?
- A dress of appropriate length, a long skirt, or pants are always a great option to wear to a funeral. These can be considered as business casuals or business formals which is always a decent gauge.
- For top-wear, a blouse or a black sweater is ideal.
- When it comes to footwear, flats or sandals are always a safe bet. They’re classy, fashionable, and appropriate for a funeral setting. Open toes are generally allowed but it’s better to confirm beforehand.
- In terms of accessories, hats and sunglasses are seen as appropriate as long as they’re not too fancy or flashy.
- A combination of shirt and trousers are seen as ideal choices for a funeral. A suit is also suitable, as long as it’s comfortable to wear. Jeans are a big no-no.
- A sports jacket or coat is a good blend of style and comfort. They also fall in line with a somber funeral atmosphere.
- In terms of footwear, loafers or shoes are safe bets. It is advisable to steer clear of sneakers, flip-flops, or anything that may come off as too casual.
A funeral is an occasion for muted colors that signify respect such as black, dark blue, or grey which. The goal is to not stick out from the crowd and make a spectacle of yourself.
For this very reason, a color like red, which is associated with positive emotions such as joy and vigor is considered inappropriate for a funeral and should be avoided.
In terms of clothing, when in doubt as to what to wear to a funeral, stick to something that won’t look out of place at a business meeting. Think suits, long skirts, long dresses or shirts, and trousers.
As a general guideline, it is best to avoid wearing red to a funeral as it can be seen as too flashy, inappropriate, or disrespectful considering the setting of the event.
My name is Alex Higson and I am the founder of Magic Of Clothes. I have worked in the fashion industry for many years, and clothes and style are a huge part of my life.