Wakes and funerals are sad occasions. We go to them to grieve, mourn and bring closure to a relationship. However, we don't necessarily think about our attire. There was a time when people wore all black to a funeral and a wake. Times have changed somewhat but there are still rules that need to be adhered to.
Different cultures have different burial traditions. Some just have a funeral. Others have what's known as a wake or a viewing in addition to the funeral where you're allowed to view and even touch the body close up. Funerals are designed to help people get closure and to honor the life of the deceased. When determining what to wear to the wake or the funeral, it is important to think of these as somber events.
Avoid Loud Clothing
When reading etiquette guides they are frankly not very helpful when it comes to helping you determine what kind of outfit to wear to the wake or funeral. They really just tell you not to wear anything "inappropriate". But what does that mean exactly? Here are some tips.
Of course there are many definitions of what is "inappropriate". Just use your best judgment when deciding what kinds of clothes are best.
Wear Dark Colors
If there is any doubt in your mind what color you should wear, choose black or other dark colors such as gray and navy blue. Though black isn't a requirement anymore, you should still wear dark colors and definitely avoid cheerful colors such as red, orange, and yellow. Make sure the colors are a reflection of the occasion.
The clothing style you choose for your wake and funeral attire should also be taken under consideration. Form fitting clothing that is overly revealing is not appropriate. Make sure you look nice with proper hemlines and flattering silhouettes that make you look demure or well dressed without looking frumpy. For men a shirt and tie in an appropriate color and pattern is more than appropriate. Men can also wear a suit. Women can wear pant suits, long skirts (knee length of more) and dresses that are flattering but not revealing are also a possibility.
Ideas for What to Wear
Most of us don't think about what to wear to a wake or funeral. However, putting some thought ahead of time can really make the difference and help you avoid any awkward moments at the events.
When you are notified that someone has passed away, it's natural to want to give a gift to the deceased's family in their time of grief, but make sure you follow proper funeral gift etiquette.
According to proper funeral etiquette, thank you notes should go to anyone who sends a card, flowers or gift to the family. A sincere note will show your friends, family and associates that you appreciate their expressions of support.