Thursday, November 6, 2014

Shall we Talk...Funeral Attire Etiquette

Shall We Talk...Funeral Attire Etiquette

Death -- not the most sought after subject or most pleasant to read about, but nonetheless, a natural part of life.  While my intent is not to be a Debbie Downer, how many of you can actually say you know the intricacies of what is proper and acceptable attire for this occasion?   After attending a wake and funeral for a close friend rather recently, and observing for quite some time, I feel that this subject needs to be visited -- in, of course, the most respectful manner possible.

Please feel free to take away what you may and use of your best judgement is always key.  After all, etiquette guidelines are...just that - guidelines and using best instincts is advisable.


Way back when, BLACK was the only color acceptable for attire.  Men wore black suits, ties, socks etc,,, and women were adorned with black dresses, suits and hats with veils and  gloves.   As time passes, etiquette has too and additional colors are acceptable.   Keep in mind the occasion and it is always best to go with dark colors, however the most important feature being, clean, neat and pressed clothing.  Jeans are never an acceptable alternative and bold prints should be kept to a minimum.

It has become quite apparent that a wake or viewing; which commonly takes place before a funeral, separately, has become a free for all in terms of clothing.  While the premise behind your attendance at a wake may be to offer your condolences in lieu of attending the funeral, it is also advisable to be respectful of your attire choices.   I have seen everything from jeans, shorts, hoodies and flip flops come in the door during a viewing.   In my modest etiquette opinion, it truly offers a statement on your behalf if you choose to dress in this manner for such an occasion.   A lack of decorum becomes evident and offers the opinion that you were too busy to take the time to properly dress for such an occasion.   AND... if you think people aren't're wrong.  Wear any of the items listed above and BAM... you have now become fodder for the social gathering after the funeral.

It is with the utmost respect that I offer these tasteful guidelines for your next funeral or viewing attendance.  After all, the objective is to pay your final respects, offer condolences and your presence at this most difficult time...sans the white socks!!

As HSSN's resident etiquette expert, I look forward to your suggestions for future blog posts regarding any etiquette situations you would like clarified or explained.  Feel free to contact me at my new web address, (860) 387-1282 or email me at

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