What to wear for a summer funeral

a group of people gather for a summer funeral

Choosing an appropriate outfit for a summer funeral can be challenging. Although funerals are no longer strictly black tie occasions, selecting an outfit that is respectful, comfortable and weather appropriate during the summer months requires some thought. 

In this blog, we provide advice for both men and women on what to wear to a summer funeral.

How to dress for a funeral in the summer

Despite having a little more freedom when it comes to choosing a funeral outfit nowadays, even in the heat of summer, funerals tend to be formal affairs that require a certain level of decorum. Your attire needs to be respectful and must fit in with the environment of the occasion. This may be inside a place of worship, outside, beside a grave, or at a non-religious memorial service. However, at the same time, when attending the funeral of a friend or loved one, the last thing you want to worry about is feeling too hot or even sweating profusely. To ensure you strike the right balance between comfort and respect, below we provide summer funeral outfit advice.

For women

Even during the summer months, the weather in the UK is very unpredictable. For this reason, it’s important to dress for any eventuality. Opting for base items made from lightweight fabrics such as linen or cotton, combined with warmer removable items such as cardigans, scarves and shawls, can be a good idea. For example, a formal linen trouser suit combined with a warm pashmina or shawl, or a cotton skirt and blouse paired with a removable cardigan, could be suitable and highly versatile options.

You need to give colour some careful thought too. It is a misconception that black is the only colour appropriate for funerals and memorial services. In fact, this is not always the case. While it is obviously better to avoid bright colours and patterns - unless specifically instructed by the funeral’s organiser - opting for non-black items can help you stay cool. With this in mind, outfits made up of items of navy blue, dark green, grey and other muted colours can also be appropriate.

Finally, while hats or head scarves are often worn out of respect at funerals, if a service is taking place outside in warm conditions, thought must be given to the most appropriate headwear. Items such as pillbox hats or fascinators made from lightweight and breathable materials could be the best option. Heavy Angelina hats and wide-brim Kentucky Derby hats should be avoided.

For men

While suits are almost always the required funeral dress code for men, there are ways to make these formal outfits more suitable for higher summer temperatures. Jackets or blazers may be best left at home if conditions are particularly hot, for example. Similarly, opting not to wear a tie and instead wearing a smart open-collared dress shirt is also a good way of staying cool while looking smart. 

Men also need to take the environment into serious consideration when choosing an outfit for a summer funeral. For example, if you know the funeral is going to include an outdoor service, you may need to come prepared for the heat and sun. This means avoiding heavy materials is key. Finding formalwear made from lighter materials may be tougher for men than for women. However, ironed linen or cotton suits could prove a good option.

When it comes to colours, muted shades such as black, navy blue, grey and brown, are recommended. Formalwear in these colours is not only respectful, they also helps to mask any unsightly sweat stains should the environment be particularly warm.

What shoes to wear to a summer funeral

Regardless of temperature, both men and women should typically opt for formal shoes for funerals. It goes without saying that trainers, sandals and flip flops should not be worn. Similarly, while women may choose to wear appropriate open-toed sandals, men should completely avoid open-toed shoes.

Once again, paying attention to the funeral setting before making a footwear decision is key. If, for example, the service is taking place outdoors and you know there may be a lot of walking involved, women should steer clear of heels. New shoes that have not yet been broken in should also be avoided. For this reason, items such as traditional ladies’ loafers or plain ballet flats may be the most sensible choice for women. Similarly, men should opt for comfortable dress shoes. Models such as derbys, wingtips, loafers or oxfords are all solid choices as these shoes are smart, respectful and typically available in black or brown.

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