Before heading to a funeral, it's important to plan an appropriate outfit for mourning. Most people are familiar with the basic rules: wear black or other neutral colors, dress modestly, avoid bright colors and try to blend in. But this becomes more complicated in the spring months.
Are these rules really as strict as tradition would have us believe? And do these rules ever change? Dark layers of modest attire may suit a fall or winter funeral, but what about summer or spring?
It used to be customary for women to wear long black dresses and veils, while men wore dark suits. Today, these choices might come across as melodramatic for a simple memorial service—particularly if the deceased was young, joyful and vibrant in life. Yet, during bereavement, it's comforting to have set rules and structures in place. The fewer decisions to make before the funeral, the better.
Times are changing. Instead of viewing funerals as a place to mourn and weep, folks are increasingly viewing the collective grieving process as a chance to celebrate life. And it's no different when it comes to funeral attire.
Instead of staunchly sticking to black, consider incorporating muted or pastel colors. Lighter shades of gray can help maintain a somber demeanor with a lighter aesthetic.
Bright colors and flashy patterns are still probably best avoided at a memorial service. However, if the design is unassuming and includes small color splashes, it may be the perfect choice to a funeral service. Tasteful floral patterns, muted colors, or neutral tones like grays and browns are all appropriate for a funeral service.
At springtime funerals it's generally acceptable to wear short-sleeved dress shirts or dresses. Avoid cuts that show too much shoulder or chest. Shorts, dresses and skirts should reach the knee.
Don't wear clothing that reveals the back, midriff or buttocks. Even though funeral fashion trends are increasingly informal, showing too much skin will make other mourners uncomfortable, and take away from the day.
Make sure to wear appropriate footwear: this this not the time for sneakers, flip-flops or work shoes. Choose dress shoes that are close-toed, particularly if a the funeral procession will be walking from the church to the grave site. Heels, while a popular footwear choice in spring, are discouraged at funerals because the heel may get stuck in the grass.
Remember that spring isn't summer—rain is always a possibility. As a guest you should be prepared to take care of yourself. Bring an umbrella if there are any signs of rain. Wear a sweater, blazer or jacket that matches the day's temperature and conditions.
Spring has sprung, and the question of what to wear to a funeral is more relevant than ever. Whether you've recently lost a loved one, are coping with a terminal illness, or are simply preparing for the possibility of a spring funeral, we hope these tips help you decide what to wear at a service this spring.
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