#Etiquette – How to dress for a funeral

September 12, 2022

A few days before Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, who passed away on September 8, 2022, we will talk in this article about how to dress at a funeral. Even though we know death is the only sure thing in our lives, this moment is always overwhelming. It can be the burial of a loved one, a relative, a friend or even a co-worker; this will always be a moment of great emotion. And for sure, this is not the time for you to stress how to dress. Therefore, we have created an easy-to-follow guide.

Why is black the most appropriate colour at a funeral?

Wearing black in grieving comes from European traditions, originating in the 16th century. At that time, the aristocrats adopted black because it was a colour that evoked elegance and made it possible to demonstrate, through their attire, the importance of the deceased. Thus, the more exquisite, luxurious, and full of precious stones and embroidery were the costumes, the richer and, more important, the loved one who passed away.

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However, today the idea of the black colour is to dress modestly, with emotion and feelings coming before vanity. Consequently, a funeral is no place for your LBD. This means that short, see-through and low-cut dresses are a no-go for a moment of introspection. Instead, choose a knee-length or mid-leg skirt or dress. Also, wear long sleeves or, at most short sleeves. The neckline of your dress or blouse should be very discreet. But if you want to wear trousers, choose a pair of black flared paired with a black shirt or a turtleneck. The coat or jacket should also be black.

Shoes and socks

When choosing shoes, consider that your look should represent understatement and recollection. Therefore, shoes with platforms, sandals or super sexy stilettos are not recommended. Instead, choose a comfortable shoe, a pair of round or pointed-toe heels or a stylish flat. Preferably wear a pair of sheer black tights.

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What to wear on the head

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If the funeral is formal, women will usually wear a headpiece, which could be a hat or a pretty headband. Please take into account that you are going to a funeral and not to Royal Ascot. So choose a hat that is small and proportional to your body type. Take as inspiration Kate Middleton, current Princess of Wales, who has a beautiful collection of fascinators. Another option is to wear a traditional black lace veil, as Caroline de Monaco wore at Grace Kelly’s funeral in 1982.

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Jewellery and accessories

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The best choice is a pearl necklace and nothing else. Avoid wearing gold chains and too much glitter. The British royal house wears diamonds, as the Queen did at the service for her husband, the Duke of Edinburg, but pearls are the recommended jewellery.
Choose a clutch bag to carry a tissue, a fan and your iPhone. Another option is a small bag with a shoulder strap. But don’t use a tote bag or satchel bag since you are not heading to the office.

Makeup

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Of course, you can have makeup but always keep it discreet. But it is better not to use mascara in case you cry. And wear neutral lipstick.

When you lose a loved one, the most important thing is to pray for their soul. Being well-dressed and acting discreetly and with restraint is also a way of demonstrating respect and paying tribute to the deceased’s life.

Feature Image – Coretta Scott King at the funeral of Martin Luther King, comforting their 5-year-old daughter, Bernice. This photograph won the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography – via commons.wikimedia