Being well-dressed at a wake is important for many reasons. It shows respect to the deceased and their loved ones. It also helps you feel confident, and this can be especially helpful if you have a social role in the events of the wake, such as delivering a eulogy or making funeral arrangements. The clothing you choose also plays a part in your ability to express yourself. For example, wearing vibrant colors might reflect the memories of a lively friend who passed away, whereas wearing all black may signify that you are mourning their loss. In short, choosing what to wear to a wake is not only essential for showing respect and support; it is also an opportunity for self-expression and confidence-boosting.
This article will help anyone who may be attending or hosting wakes during bereavement periods by providing information on what to wear as well as some helpful tips on how to dress appropriately for these situations.
Wearing black, or a dark solid color (like navy or gray), is appropriate for a wake.
A wake is a formal affair, so wear black or other dark solid colors and avoid shorts, flip flops, jeans, and anything with graphics. If you’re choosing between white and ivory clothing items, keep in mind that white is considered more formal than ivory. Consider the weather when deciding what to wear: while it’s not appropriate to wear shorts or sandals to a wake in the summer, it would be inappropriate to show up in a winter coat and boots at an outdoor event during the spring or fall.
Don’t wear white or ivory. Instead, choose off-white, cream, or a similar color.
While you may have heard that it’s inappropriate to wear white or ivory at a wake, that’s actually not true. While black is still the traditional color for mourning and you should never wear anything too revealing, you can absolutely wear more muted colors like off-white, cream, or a similar color. If the deceased was a woman, you had even more options: in some cultures, wearing white or ivory was allowed at their funeral to indicate purity and respect.
Instead of white or ivory, we’d suggest opting for something like off-white: it will give you the look you’re going for while avoiding the risk of looking disrespectful.
Avoid wearing shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, casual sandals, or sweatshirts.
You’re going to be sitting, standing, and paying respects for a long time at a wake, so make sure your outfit is comfortable—but not so comfortable that it looks like you’re about to hit the trails or the tanning bed. Avoid wearing shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, casual sandals (like Birkenstocks), or sweatshirts. Skirts below the knee are always appropriate. You don’t have to wear black; you can wear a dark-colored suit in another color but avoid bright colors or heavily patterned clothes. Remember: this isn’t a fashion show. Clothes should be tasteful and understated.
Avoid wearing jeans. Instead, opt for khakis.
You can wear jeans to the funeral of someone you didn’t know very well, but for a close friend or family member, it’s best to opt for something more formal. You should also avoid wearing jeans if it’s a military or religious funeral. Funeral homes want to offer a comfortable environment, so they do allow guests to wear casual clothing. However, some funeral homes are stricter with their dress code and don’t allow jeans or anything else that is too informal. If you’re not sure whether your outfit is appropriate, call the funeral home beforehand and ask them about their dress code.
Some people think that denim is okay because it’s dark-colored and doesn’t look like regular blue jeans. But even denim isn’t acceptable if the funeral home has a strict dress code. Instead of wearing jeans at all, opt for khaki pants or slacks in another neutral color such as black or navy blue.
Don’t wear anything with large graphics—for example, if you want to wear a T-shirt, don’t wear one with large text on the front.
Do not wear any clothing with large graphics. For example, if you want to wear a T-shirt, do not wear one with large text on the front. Wearing anything with large graphics at a wake is not respectful and is considered appropriate only for children under 5 years old. If you want to show some respect, avoid graphic tees as much as possible and instead choose to wear something more professional or formal than a T-shirt.
If you’re unsure what to wear to a wake that doesn’t involve black, consider neutral colors like browns and navy blues.
If you’re unsure what to wear to a wake, consider neutral colors like browns and navy blues. Brown and navy can be acceptable alternatives to black depending on the situation.
It will also make it easier for others around you if you opt out of wearing white or ivory, which could be mistaken for a wedding color.
Other things that are inappropriate for wakes include: jeans, shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, casual sandals (such as Crocs or Birkenstocks), sweatshirts or yoga pants. Generally speaking, anything too casual is best avoided at a wake so it’s also helpful to steer clear of graphic tees with large images.
Black is the classic color choice when attending a wake.
In general, you may be better off avoiding black when going to a funeral. Similarly, you should avoid bright colors when going to a wake. If you’re having trouble deciding what color to wear, we recommend choosing something with a solid dark color such as dark gray or navy blue. In addition to avoiding casual clothing options, it’s best not to wear t-shirts or jeans. You know how at wakes and funerals they say “he wore it well”? Well that saying definitely applies here. If someone is wearing black pants with a white shirt, that means he/she wore them well because those are the clothes they were buried in! So make sure your clothes have something black on them before going into the viewing room! The same thing goes for wearing jeans; people will notice if your jeans don’t match up perfectly around his/her legs or thighs where it meets the skin tones from their head down to their feet… If there’s one thing everyone hates about dying: It’s when someone comes into our funeral home dragging behind them like some kind of weird animal corpse from an old horror movie (like Dead Alive).
When in doubt, choose a dark-colored suit for men or a dark skirt or pantsuit for women. Keep colors muted and patterns subtle. Jeans, shorts, T-shirts with large graphics, white, and pastels are all inappropriate attire. Black is the basic color of mourning in Western culture and is an excellent choice for wakes. Dark shades of blue, purple, green, brown and gray are also acceptable colors to wear to a wake as long as they are not too bright or casual.
When attending a wake, you should dress conservatively and formally. Although funeral attire is typically black, wakes allow for more color. You may wear lighter colors to a wake or a color that deeply represents the loved one who has passed. Like funerals, wakes are formal events where you should dress in your best attire unless otherwise noted by the family of the deceased.