Attending a funeral is typically a formal event and you should choose an outfit that is conservative, respectful, and modest. The dress code at funerals typically follows the same guidelines as for attending other formal events such as weddings. In general, women usually wear all black or dark-colored attire for a funeral: black or navy trousers, skirt, and blouse.
Women are not required to wear heels but should avoid sneakers or casual footwear if possible. Instead of sneakers, you can wear flats (like ballet flats) with your pantsuit.
You may also be wondering about which colors are appropriate for funerals: avoid wearing any bright colors or patterns when dressing for this occasion; solid colors are best in general but make sure the color isn’t too loud if possible (for example reds can sometimes appear too intense at times like these).
Black pants or black skirt with a white silk top
Your black pants or skirt can be paired with a simple silk blouse, whether it’s white or black. You can also add a modern blazer to this outfit to make it look more sophisticated. Make sure not to wear anything too flashy, though. A simple piece of jewelry is appropriate. Pair your outfit with simple heels and you’ll look smart and classy.
While dressing in all black may be the most common funeral attire for women, adding a small nod of color through your accessories is fine as long as it’s not too bright or garish. Wearing tasteful statement jewelry will work well with darker colors like grey or navy blue. If you’d like to add some color but are unsure about what would look good, try a simple scarf that matches your dress shoes and handbag (like this one). Alternatively, if you’re wearing a suit jacket over your dress shirt consider wearing brightly colored socks!
Black pants and a cardigan or button-down shirt
- Pair a black skirt with a white silk top. White and black is one of the most classic color combinations you can wear. For this outfit, choose a white silk button-down blouse and pair it with a flared black leather skirt. If you want to take the look to another level, add in some pops of color with jewelry that matches your favorite colors or patterns.
- Pair black pants with a cardigan or button-down shirt. If you don’t want to wear skirts, try pairing your slim fitted trousers with a patterned cardigan or button-down shirt for an understated but stylish look. This outfit is perfect for those who prefer to dress more casually in their daily lives but still want to be respectful for the funeral service itself by dressing up without going overboard on formality.
- Pair black blouse/sweater and slacks/skirt combo: This is probably one of the most common outfits worn at funerals because it’s simple yet chic! A black sweater paired with dark jeans or slacks will always look classy regardless of what other accessories are added into the mix; just make sure that they match well together!
Black blouse and black slacks, black dress shoes
If you’re dressed in a black blouse and black slacks – with or without a black blazer – people will know that you’ve come to mourn. This is one of the simplest combinations, but it’s also one of the most effective. One item you may want to avoid with this basic look is jewelry. You don’t have to strip off all your accessories, but if you are wearing some, they should be understated: no statement necklaces or large gold earrings.
Dress shoes are a must for this combination; ideally, they’ll also be in black, though other neutral colors will also work. As long as your shoes aren’t too open or flashy, they’ll be appropriate for a funeral.
When creating your outfit around these pieces – which most women already have in their closets – make sure that everything is clean and pressed ahead of time. If any items need mending or cleaning on short notice, at least get them started so that there’s less work to do later.
Black blouse with a navy pencil skirt
- Black blouse and black slacks, paired with black dress shoes.
- Black blouse with a navy pencil skirt.
- A black dress and blazer, along with black heels.
A black dress and blazer, black heels
It’s safe to say that black is the only appropriate color for funeral attire. But not just any black dress will do. To make sure you strike the right sartorial tone, consider a dress with a bit of structure. That can be a sheath, shirtdress or shift with darts at the waist so it’s fitted through the torso and flares out gently from there. It should be moderately conservative, which means no plunging necklines and sleeves should come down to at least your elbows. As for length, anything in between knee-length and ankle-length should be fine as long as it’s not too form-fitting. A black blazer (or long-sleeved cardigan) can also help soften an overly sexy silhouette while balancing out a casual fabric like jersey or silk crepe de chine without looking overdressed.
If you choose a more relaxed cut, opt for pumps with more covered toes (think mules or sandals) — but nothing too strappy that would show off your pedicure! If you prefer heels, stick to basic black pumps that are about 1–3 inches high (nothing too stiletto or platform). And if flats are more your style, look for classic ballet flats or riding loafers in classic black leather or suede — they’ll look both polished and timeless while keeping you comfortable all day long.
You may have heard that women shouldn’t wear open-toed shoes to funerals. However, this rule is outdated today as many women favor sandals over closed-toe shoes during warm seasons in general and especially within the confines of air conditioning environments inside churches and funeral homes where funerals take place these days.
Formal skirt suit in dark grey or navy
A one-piece skirt suit is a classy and elegant women’s funeral outfit option, perfect for women who prefer skirts over pants.
When opting for a skirt suit, choose one that fits your body type. For example, consider wearing high heels if you’re petite; they’ll elongate your legs and make your outfit appear more formal. If you have curves, look for a slimming style that will help to accentuate the parts of your body you love most. If you have wide hips or a larger stomach, an A-line or pleated midi skirt would be an excellent choice. It will skim over any problem areas and help you to look slimmer than ever!
For women over 50 years old looking to dress in classic funeral fashion, consider choosing styles that are more conservative with higher necklines while still flattering on their specific shape and size.
Dark tailored shirt, dark trousers and black blazer
At a funeral, it’s best to dress conservatively. You don’t have to wear all black (though you can!) but try to wear dark colors and formal clothing.
- A black blazer
- A black dress
- A black skirt and matching top in a dark color
- Black heels or flats that are comfortable enough to stand in for long periods of time.
- Accessories that are subdued—you don’t want anything flashy. No dangling earrings, shiny jewelry, etc. Your clothes themselves should be the focus, not what you’ve paired with them.
- Dark grey or navy suit (not brown)
- Dark tailored shirt in black, grey or navy (not white)
- Dark trousers – trousers should be darker than the jacket/blazer and shirt (no jeans)
Wearing all-black may not be necessary.
It seems obvious that wearing all-black to a funeral is the right thing to do, but it isn’t. In Western cultures, black is worn as a sign of mourning and respect at funerals because it symbolizes death. But in certain parts of the world (like China and Japan), white is worn instead because it symbolizes rebirth.
In some regions, people wear bright colors and their finest clothes at funerals to celebrate the person who died. So unless you know what the protocol is for an upcoming funeral, you should know that wearing all-black may not be necessary.
Another thing you should know about what to wear to a funeral women is that even if you’re not required to dress all in black, there are still a few things you should avoid wearing:
- Flip flops or sandals that show your toes or heel
- Anything too tight or revealing (e.g., tank tops)
- Anything with large logos or brand names on it
At the end of the day, a funeral is a place to honor and remember someone who has passed away. As such, it’s important to consider your style choices with respect and care. By following these guidelines for what is appropriate attire for a funeral, you can make sure that your clothing will contribute positively to how you express yourself and honor the departed person.
If you’re still unsure about what’s appropriate for an upcoming funeral, seek guidance from other attendees or family members of the deceased.
Now that you know what to wear to a funeral and how your clothing choices affect others around you, read our guide on what not to say at funerals so that your entire experience can be as positive as possible!