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When attending a memorial service, it’s important to dress modestly and conservatively. From the type of dress to wear, the color you should avoid, to the shoes you should slip your feet into, we highlight everything you need to know about what is appropriate attire for a memorial service.
Casual Memorial Service Attire
For a memorial service, you should wear something that is comfortable and not too casual. You want to look appropriate for the occasion but also may be sitting for a long time. The best thing to do would be to wear something similar to what you would wear on a Sunday, so dress shoes are recommended.
Accessories such as jewelry, belts or ties can be worn in moderation but again nothing bright or loud that will draw attention away from where it should be. Light and dark colored shirts can work well if they are not too bright in tone. For men, collared button down shirts or polo shirts with dress pants will make for an appropriate outfit for a funeral service. Women can opt for dresses or skirts with tops paired with dress shoes as well depending on their comfort level and attire preferences.
Wear a nice pair of jeans with a flattering shirt, blouse, or button-down. Avoid colors that are too bold and opt for hues that are neutral and complement your skin tone. You can layer a light sweater over the top or button up the shirt to keep warm in colder weather.
While black remains the most popular choice, more and more people are thinking outside the box and wearing colors. The best way to choose a color is to think about what you feel comfortable in. If you enjoy wearing red every day, then red is a great color for your memorial service outfit. However, if you know that bright yellow or fluorescent green are not colors that you normally wear – then avoid them for this occasion.
- Wear a nice pair of jeans with a flattering shirt, blouse, or button-down. Avoid colors that are too bold and opt for hues that are neutral and complement your skin tone. You can layer a light sweater over the top or button up the shirt to keep warm in colder weather. Depending on how formal or casual your family might be, dark wash blue jeans could be acceptable attire but make sure they’re not too tight fitting since most memorial services take place indoors with limited walking around time so skinny jeans might not make sense here either!
You can wear a modest pair of trousers with a collared shirt or blouse, or you can add a jacket to the ensemble if you want to look more professional. If you prefer to stick with casual attire, you can opt for khakis instead of jeans.
You can wear a modest pair of trousers with a collared shirt or blouse, or you can add a jacket to the ensemble if you want to look more professional. If you prefer to stick with casual attire, you can opt for khakis instead of jeans. No matter which kind of pants you choose, it’s important that they fit properly and don’t have any holes or frays.
If your clothes are wrinkled, be sure to take them out of the closet at least an hour beforehand so they have time to relax before the service begins. You may also want to bring along a small bottle of stain remover in case someone accidentally spills something on your outfit during the memorial service.
A comfy skirt is also appropriate at casual memorial services. Pair it with a cozy sweater and tall boots or flats. During the summer months, wear a lightweight sweater with sandals or open-toed shoes.
When selecting what to wear, err on the side of formality. A casual memorial service doesn’t mean PJ bottoms or a tank top and shorts. And even if you’re going to an informal or outdoor service, don’t dress like you’re at a picnic.
While it’s important to dress with respect and dignity, don’t worry too much about what other people may think of your clothing choice. The focus should be on the person who passed away, not your outfit.
Shoes should be as formal as your outfit. For instance, a pair of tennis shoes would not be appropriate if you are wearing dress pants and a button-down shirt, but they would go fine with jeans and a t-shirt.
When deciding what shoes to wear, it is important to match your attire to the overall feel of the memorial service. If your outfit is formal, you should wear dress shoes or closed-toe flats. If you are wearing jeans and a t-shirt, then tennis shoes would look more appropriate. It is important to avoid open-toed shoes unless it is very warm outside. (You don’t want anyone thinking that you didn’t give much thought to what you wore.)
Wear accessories like jewelry in moderation, so that they won’t steal the show from the guest of honor or become uncomfortable due to your grief.
When attending a memorial service, you should wear accessories such as jewelry in moderation, so that they won’t steal the show from the guest of honor or become uncomfortable due to your grief. Wear only a few pieces of jewelry at most.
It’s also important to wear accessories that are appropriate for the occasion. If it’s an informal memorial service, you might wear a nice but casual watch and necklace or earrings—but if it’s formal, consider wearing a more elegant bracelet or ring. Be sure to keep the rest of your outfit simple enough so that the guests don’t feel like your outfit is overly flashy; it should still be appropriate and tasteful overall.
How you dress for a casual memorial service depends on what you feel comfortable wearing and how much time you have spent considering it vs other pressing matters.
When it comes to memorial services, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for what to wear. The best thing you can do is use common sense and consider how your attire will be perceived by others. Is it appropriate? Will your outfit draw attention away from the ceremony? Unless someone explicitly says otherwise in their written directions or verbal instructions, there’s a good chance that they’ll appreciate you dressing respectfully and simply.
In addition to considering what impression you want your outfit to make, it’s also important to think about how much time and energy you have available to put into choosing an appropriate set of clothes. If you’re currently grieving over the loss of a loved one, are physically recovering from a serious illness, or have just taken on a large increase in responsibilities at home or work (or anything else that takes up lots of time!), don’t feel like you need to spend hours agonizing over what to wear. It’s okay if your focus is elsewhere! In these situations, choose something comfortable that fits well and doesn’t draw too much attention.
And that’s it! The next time you’re unsure of what to wear to a memorial service, please refer back to this article. Remember: dressing appropriately will ensure that nothing you do or wear distracts from the purpose of the ceremony, which is honoring the person who has passed away.