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What to wear to a funeral

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For many of us, attending a funeral is a sombre and often melancholy affair. Whilst some people might want to counter the acute sadness of the situation with compulsory bright colour wearing instead, the majority keep with the traditional dark and humble dress code. 

Funerals serve as a time for us to memorialise our dead, and that also means paying our respects. Keeping to a dress code is one way we show our care and consideration for the dead by honouring them in a visual and representational form. 

Tradition has long run that black be the colour of mourning. Widows for centuries have been noted for their wearing of head to toe black attire. Lace veils for women were often an addition for those who had lost a loved one to demonstrate their grief even more visually. 

Here in 2021, the tradition of wearing dark colours at funerals has not changed. Although in yesteryear clothes at such occasions might have been more formal and adhered to a strictly smart dress code, what has changed is our allowance for comfort. With mental health at the forefront of many people’s conversations due to the ongoing global pandemic crisis of the coronavirus COVID-19, people’s need for comfort is now more widely recognised than ever before. 

With that in mind, despite archaic gender roles continuing to inform many people’s dress sense, growing freedoms with style in 2021 mean that most items are no longer confined to the wardrobe of a single sex. Women looking to preserve their modesty whilst also paying their respects to the dead, are more than welcome to wear trousers for the visit. Men meanwhile may forgo the stuffiness of a shirt and tie for more relaxed and deconstructed shapes that can better express their inner turmoil at this time of grief.