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What to Wear at a No Black Attire Funeral?

Black is often considered the acceptable colour of clothing when it comes to funerals. The colour is associated with mourning and wearing black is typically seen as a sign of respect for the deceased. Black clothing is almost an unwritten rule and men in particular are often expected to wear a black suit at a funeral, while women will often wear a black dress.

However, times are changing and many people are now requesting attendees not to wear black attire to a funeral. If you don’t have a black suit or other clothing and don’t have the budget, then at last wearing dark-coloured trousers and other clothing will usually be deemed acceptable.

The reason for this will vary from funeral to funeral, and people have many different reasons to make the request. In many cases, the request will have come directly from the deceased who won’t want their loved ones to be too sad after their death. And instead of holding a sombre funeral commemorating the deceased’s passing, many would instead want the occasions to be a celebration of their lives and achievements.

Bear in mind that even though you might find black more appropriate for a funeral, it’s best to respect the wishes of the deceased and their loved ones.

What to Wear Instead?

Being asked not to wear black at a funeral leads to the obvious question of what you should wear instead. And the good news is that you have plenty of options available to you.

Many people will still choose to wear a dark colour like dark blue or brown because ‘flashier’, brighter colours might seem inappropriate for such an occasion. While you might be requested not to wear black, most people will still wear something smart like a suit or formal dress.

In some cases, you might be requested to wear bright, happy colours and even casual clothing to help lighten the mood a little. In others, you might be asked to wear specific colours, such as those worn by the deceased’s favourite football team.

Regardless, whenever you go to a funeral it’s best to check for any information about the dress code.  Many people will automatically assume that black is required, potentially causing them to look out of place during the ceremony.

Keep the Weather in Mind

Cremations are usually held indoors, limiting the impact of the weather on proceedings. However, funerals typically take place outdoors, exposing you to the elements and making it a good idea to wrap up warm. An umbrella may also be a good idea, depending on the weather, and you can try to find an umbrella that will help blend in with the theme.

And regardless of the dress code, it’s a good idea to bear in mind that young children will sometimes become uncomfortable and irritable, potentially causing a scene. As such, it’s usually best to ensure they are wearing something comfortable to help prevent them from becoming irritated.

Be Prepared for Different Tastes and Preferences

A funeral is one of the few occasions that the deceased’s friends, family and acquaintances will all come together. In many cases, they will be meeting for the first and only time. And if you are going to the funeral of somebody you knew, you should be prepared for some different perspectives on which dress code is suitable for a funeral.

At such times, it’s important to remember that others are not necessarily disrespecting the deceased for not wearing traditionally expected funeral attire. Indeed, it might be the case that the deceased would prefer people dressed in a certain way.

Give Plenty of Notice

If you are arranging a funeral and you want a specific dress code, then you should try to give guests as much notice as possible. For some people, it can be difficult to afford new clothes straight away, while others will struggle to find time away from their other responsibilities to go shopping. Regardless of the reason, giving guests plenty of notice will help make things easier for everybody and help ensure the day goes as smoothly as possible.

Ask if Needed

If you’re still unsure about what to wear, it’s a good idea to ask whoever is organizing the funeral because they will be able to give more information. And not only will they be able to help regarding the dress code, but it can also be a good idea to speak with the organizer directly to be on the safe side regarding other arrangements. However, you should bear in mind that the person making the arrangements is likely to be under a lot of stress, so try to be as tactful as possible.


People have wildly differing views on death and how to handle the passing of somebody close to them. Many people will take solace in a religious funeral, while many would rather keep religion away from the proceedings. Many people are also turning away from traditional attire and asking people to wear alternatives instead.

In most cases, it will still be easy to find something appropriate to wear, and ‘no black clothes’ does not mean you can’t dress smartly. Alternatively, some people might request casual, bright clothing to help make the occasion as light-hearted as possible. Regardless, it’s always best to follow the wishes of the departed and those closest to them.