What To Wear To A Memorial Service [ Men & Women]

Black is an easy and straightforward choice whenever you think of what to wear for a memorial service. However, times are changing, so also the trend of things. And this may cause you to become stressed and confused about what to wear to a memorial service.

Generally speaking, the best thing to wear to a memorial service is a black formal suit. However, any black clothing will be suitable. Most important thing is to try to blend with other mourners by not wearing anything too revealing or too flashy. 

If you are still in doubt real more tips below, we covered the dos and don’ts, as well as what to wear for children, men, and women.  

What Are The Things to Consider When Deciding a Memorial Service Outfit?

1. Weather Condition

Weather Condition is an essential factor to be considered in your choice of what to wear for a memorial service. For instance, during the rainy season, you decided to wear a long gown with stiletto heels to a graveside memorial service.

Imagine your heels having to sink into the ground, your shoes may easily become filthy, and your beautiful dress messed up as well. Taking this factor into consideration may call for boots or flat footwear.

2. The Required level of formality

Some four words help to stay in line with the required level of formality for a memorial service, not being the best dressed nor the worst-dressed – simple, somber, sophisticated, and subdued.

You should also be conservative in your dressing; your choice should be an outfit you would be comfortable wearing to an important business meeting or a church service.

3. Timing and Location

A memorial service held on a Saturday morning or evening would require a more casual outfit than one in the evening of weekdays.

A memorial service held at the beach would require a more casual outfit than one in the church. Therefore, you should consider this as it would help in making a suitable choice for the occasion.

4. The Color and Pattern of the Outfit

Black is not always the required outfit. Some other dark shades are suitable for memorial services. Some include a deep brown, dark shade of gray, navy blue, etc.

Avoid outfits with prints, patterns, and pinstripes, except if they are of subtle patterns. For a simple and classy look, go for solids, with your shoes well-polished and paired up with belts or bags that match adequately.

5. Choice of Accessories and Outerwear

Your coat and hat should appropriately coordinate with your outfit, with dark or muted shades similar to your outfit.

If it was to be for bad weather, your umbrella should also go in line with the event’s requirement. You should not be carrying a pink plaid or bright red one in a memorial service. Black is generally accepted.

6. The specific religious tradition

For a religious memorial service, there may be some expectations regarding the kind of clothing required. Even if the deceased’s religion is not what you practice, following their requirements shows your respect for the deceased and the religion. The memorial services for the Jewish religion are different from the Muslim and also the Christian.

For instance, as a woman dressing up to attend a Muslim memorial service, you may have to select loose-fitted clothing and cover the major parts of the body, leaving only the face and the hand exposed. You may also have to expect the use of a headscarf as you may be required to cover your hair for such services.

7. Cultural Traditions

Typically, the western tradition wears black, neutral, or dark colors for memorial services; you should conduct some findings regarding the culture and some funeral traditions of the deceased person. Some cultures have distinct traditions, and if the deceased happens to be from such, you may have to ask any of the family members for the required outfit.

For example, some African cultures may require black as the norm for memorials, while some Asian cultures prefer white. The Chinese traditions do not allow jewelry or wearing outfits with red color to a memorial service.

They regard red as a color of happiness, celebration, and jubilation. Therefore, it is considered highly offensive and of no regard wearing red to their memorial service.

What to Wear to a Memorial Service: Tips for Women


  • Outfits in muted or dark colors like navy, black, gray, or brown. It could be a dress, suit, pants, or skirt; a solid color is a safe option.
  • A gown or skirt of appropriate length paired with a sweater or blouse is usually suitable.
  • Covered shoulder outfits or cover your sleeveless with a kimono or some shawls.
  • Stylish, classic, or flat shoes are your appropriate choice for footwear. Sandals or shoes with open toes may be suitable considering the weather and the location of the event.
  • If the culture or tradition permits, you can choose to add a hat to your outfit.
  • Natural-looking makeups, stick with a more subdued color for your eye shadow and lipstick. As memorial services can be an emotional event, you should opt for waterproof mascara.
  • Use simple, classic jewelry like a pearl necklace, tennis bracelet, or diamond-stud earrings.


  • Avoid wearing jeans; it is too casual for the occasion.
  • Avoid brightly colored dresses and flashy handbags. 
  • Avoid outfits with loud and bold patterns, sequins, and other flashy fabrics.
  • Avoid sleeveless outfits; they do not convey your respect to the deceased.
  • Avoid tight, skimpy, and sexy outfits; be modest.
  • Avoid flip flops, casual sandals, and sneakers. Let your footwear communicate to the family of the deceased that you understand what the occasion is about.
  • Avoid bold makeup and jewelry like colorful stones, hoops, large dangling ones, and colorful necklace.

What to Wear to a Memorial Service: Tips for Men

  • A dark or muted colored suit in addition to a collared shirt and tie are appropriate outfits.
  • Slacks with a shirt or a sport coat are also a good choice.
  • You should wear dress shoes, boots, or loafers but avoid flip-flops, athletic sneakers, or shoes. 
  • Avoid short-sleeved shirts and jeans.
  • If you would wear cufflinks, select something small and classic
  • Ensure that your outfits are clean and neatly pressed. 

What to Wear to a Memorial Service: Tips for Children

Generally, children are not expected to wear dark or black outfits to a funeral. However, you should not dress them up in outfits that are suitable for parties or clothing that draws people’s attention towards them.

Clean and neatly pressed outfits that would be appropriate for a church service and suitable for showing respect are a safe option. Still unsure of how to dress up your children, you can take the cue from your outfit, avoid being too casual and go for something more formal.


Dressing to blend in with other mourners and not impress others is the basic thing in selecting what to wear for a memorial service. A memorial service is not about showing the latest fashion trend or how sexy you are; it is about saying goodbye and respecting the deceased. As long as you put this and the advice stated in this article in mind, you will do just fine.