What To Wear To A Funeral?

Funeral attire in the UK is typically traditional, which means that mourners opt to wear the traditional, black outfit as a mark of respect. In this article we explore typical Western culture, but we also explore some funeral traditions and outfits from around the world.

One thing that has become more common is people request funeral attendees to wear bright colours so that the service is more of a celebration of their life and not the sad, sombre affair that is commonly known. This could be the deceased favourite colour, or they leave it down to the people who are attending to wear what they deem as their most fitting bright outfit.

What Is Appropriate Funeral Clothing?

Women will have a little more variety in their outfit than men, but this still follows the funeral etiquette. The most common dress code combinations for women would be a black dress or a black skirt or trouser. This is accompanied by a smart blouse with any flamboyant colours kept to a minimum. Usually, there is the option to add a black blazer or a jumper on the top half and this is also finished off with smart black dress shoes.

Typically, men will wear a smart, black suit with a long-sleeved white shirt and black tie. This will be accompanied by a smart, polished pair of black dress shoes.

International Funeral Attire

The traditional Western World funeral etiquette means that wearing black is a sign of mourning and respect for the person that has unfortunately passed away. Darker colours are also often donned as mourners try and stick to these age-old traditions. However, in certain religions and countries around the world, this is not always the case as black isn’t a sign of mourning.

Here is some examples of how funeral attire and traditions vary around the world:


Swedish funeral traditions are unlike many of their European neighbours, and they can take up-to 3-8 weeks to bury or cremate the deceased! Darker colours are often worn but the closest male relatives will wear a white tie to a traditional funeral service.


Black or red colours are often worn to a typical Nigerian funeral. It has been known that members of the same families will coordinate what they are wearing for the service. The term ‘aso-ebi’ is the uniform dress which is traditionally worn in Nigeria and West African cultures which indicates solidarity and cooperation during ceremonies.


Typically like the Western Worlds, black and darker colours are worn at a Chinese funeral. However, if the deceased is over the age of 80 years old, mourners are encouraged to wear pink which in Chinese culture is a symbol of joy and happiness.

South Africa

Red is the adopted colour of mourning in South Africa and the most common colour worn at funerals. Red was chosen as the colour of mourning because this represents the bloodshed suffered during the Apartheid era and links to strength and resilience.