When Are Clothing Colors Other Than Black OK?

1 October 2017
 Categories: Relationships & Family, Blog

Funerals are generally somber affairs even if the service is supposed to be a celebration of the person's life. You and other attendees can be laughing at good memories of the deceased, but there's still a touch of mourning. After all, a friend or family member is gone. The dress code for funerals typically shows this somber side by having black as the main clothing color, but what do you do if you don't have black clothes that are in an appropriate style? Or, what do you do if there's an extenuating circumstance? Here's when colors other than black are fine for funeral use.

Muted, Dark Colors

Unless the funeral information specifies all black, any dark, muted color will do. If all you have is a navy blue pantsuit and matching shoes, for example, you should be fine wearing that. Dark brown and gray are also usually fine. The key is to dress neatly and conservatively. In other words, a gray business suit is better than black cargo shorts.


Certainly, if you're going to a funeral for someone who is of a religion or culture where white is the color of mourning, you should wear white if asked to by the family or if you know you're expected to. But for other funerals, try to keep white to unavoidable accents. For example, a black blazer, black pants, black shoes, and plain white button-down shirt would be fine. Maybe you have a black shirt with white trim along the neckline; as long as the trim isn't ostentatious, that should be fine. Nowadays, people understand that a white edge or two on otherwise appropriate clothing isn't a sign of disrespect.

Bright or Light Colors

Unless the funeral information specifically requests these colors, do what you can to avoid them. If your otherwise-funeral-ready outfit has a patch of red or another bright color, try to cover up the color. If you can't and have nothing else, try to apologize to the family briefly and explain that you couldn't find anything else without the color.

"We Had an Agreement" Outfits

Sometimes a mourner has an agreement with the deceased to wear something totally inappropriate to a funeral. The summer dress that the deceased really liked to see, or another outfit chosen by pact. These really need advanced warning. Sometimes everyone is aware of the pact, but if you want to wear something that the deceased's family is not aware of, tell them first. And if they ask that you not wear it, please listen to them. Your pact should not include distressing mourners.

Funeral clothing doesn't have to be a tricky subject. Go for basics in dark colors, and you should be fine. If you're truly unable to find something appropriate, you can call and ask a funeral home, like Conboy-Westchester Funeral Home Inc, for advice.