The funeral dress or mourning clothes are those clothes that are worn by the guests present as a sign of mourning for the funeral. Not to be confused with the shroud – which is put on the deceased before it is buried.
Appropriate clothing during the time of mourning
If you have lost a close relative, you can also use mourning clothing to express your grief in the aftermath of your death. For example, it used to be common for widows to wear black for at least a year after their husband’s death, and then for some time to wear dark colors such as brown and purple. Nowadays it’s no longer like that. Although it is still common in some conservative areas to wear mourning clothing, the decision is entirely up to you. Everyone deals with a loss differently, and it helps some more than others to let the grief out.
In the event of a death, many people are not sure what the right mourning clothing is for the funeral. Is it permissible to wear a cocktail dress? Is there a special funeral fashion? What are the appropriate mourning clothes for children?
The dress code at funerals is now much more casual than in previous decades. However, a conservative appearance is still required. If the deceased or their family have not specifically specified a special dress code, the following rules apply:
- Monochrome garments in black or dark blue, gray or brown tones
- White shirt or blouse
- Matching black or dark shoes
- More formal than festive garments
That is why both men and women have a certain amount of leeway when it comes to choosing clothes.
Funeral dress for women
Women have appropriately dressed in a black or dark dress or a dark skirt with a white blouse. But trousers are also a good choice. You can also wear a blazer, jacket or dark knitted vest. Clothing should cover shoulders and knees and should not be too tight. To do this, avoid short sleeves and a generous neckline. Also, avoid too much makeup and try to wear flat heels.
In conservative areas as well as in high society it is still customary to wear a hat to a funeral ceremony. If you are unsure, it is best to check with the deceased’s family.
Funeral clothes for men
Men are well-advised to wear a suit – this can also be a business suit, as long as it is solid black or another dark color. A white shirt and a matching tie and a black or dark coat go well with this.
Instead of a suit, you can also wear dark trousers with a shirt and a matching dark jacket. Opinions are divided on the question of whether or not to wear black jeans to a funeral; The same applies here: If you are not sure, check with the family of the deceased.
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Mourning clothes for children
A funeral can be a depressing experience, especially for smaller children. In view of this, it is now common and accepted for children to wear well-groomed everyday clothing. Don’t wear bright colors if possible. The same dress code applies to young people as to adults.
Uniforms as mourning attire
If the deceased wore a uniform in his professional life or was a member of an association in which uniforms are worn, then colleagues or other association members often appear at the funeral in this uniform. In this case, the uniform is worn as a sign of respect and appreciation for the commitment of the deceased.
Why do you wear black to a funeral?
In Central European and North American cultures, especially since the 19th century, care has been taken to ensure that the color of clothing is black or at least very dark, because black in the western world symbolizes death, among other things.
In the past, black clothing was not considered a sign of grief, but of prosperity. This is due to the fact that untreated fabric – gray or beige – was cheaper than colored clothing. The most expensive shade was dark purple tipping black. The color tone had gained importance in a social context, as not everyone could afford clothes in this color.
Black clothing also means that your own clothing preferences for this day are subordinated to the sad occasion.
Is black the predominant color of mourning all over the world?
In Asia and in Buddhist countries, for example, white is still the color of mourning. In ancient Egypt, yellow was considered a sign of mourning. In the past, white was the common mourning color in Europe in addition to black.
Do you always have to wear black to a funeral?
No. Many people consciously want to organize their funeral as a great celebration of life and remind them that they were cheerful people. The deceased may have wished that this attitude towards life should be taken into account in such a way that colorful clothing should be worn for his or her funeral service. In such a case one should respect the wishes of the deceased and consciously avoid wearing black clothing.