How a Man Should Dress for a Funeral: A Guide to Respectful Attire

Years ago when I was still a child, one of the neighbors in our apartment building came by and asked to talk with my Dad. My father went to the door and the two men spoke in hushed tones. After a few moments, my Dad came back inside, opened his closet door, and took out a single item. He then returned to the front door of our apartment and handed that item to the neighbor. That item was what we called “Dad’s tie.”

It’s hard to imagine now how rare it was for working class men of that era to have nice clothes. Times were hard. Dress clothes were an expense that many men couldn’t be bothered with. But my father owned one nice suit and one beautiful, dark maroon tie. And as my Dad explained to me that day, our neighbor did not own a tie, but needed one to attend the funeral of a coworker. So my father loaned his one tie to another man.

“That’s what we do,” my Dad told me. And even as a child I understood he meant two things: that men wear ties to show respect for the dead, and that men share what we have in times of difficulty and grief.

Dressing for a funeral is about showing respect and honoring the memory of the deceased. It's a solemn occasion, and your attire should reflect that.

If you’re unsure about what to wear, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the nuances of funeral attire with dignity and respect.

Understanding the Basics

A man dressed in a suit holding a rose at a funeral.

1. Traditional Attire

The traditional funeral dress code is quite straightforward: dark, conservative, and respectful. This typically means a black or dark-colored suit, a white shirt, and a dark tie. These elements create a sober, respectful look appropriate for the occasion.

2. Colors and Patterns

Stick to dark colors such as black, charcoal, and navy. These colors are universally recognized as respectful and appropriate for mourning. Avoid bright colors and bold patterns that might draw unnecessary attention. If you choose to wear a tie with a pattern, ensure it’s subtle and not distracting.

The Suit

3. Fit and Style

Your suit should be well-fitted but not flashy. A classic, single-breasted suit is always a safe choice. Avoid suits with too many embellishments or trendy cuts. The goal is to look neat and respectful without drawing attention to yourself.

“Choose a dark suit. A classic, dark suit,” says Melissa Slavick, a Taelor stylist. “Look for one that fits. Nothing too baggy or too tight.”

4. Fabrics

Opt for high-quality fabrics that look good and feel comfortable. Wool is a great choice as it is both durable and appropriate for formal occasions. In warmer climates, a lightweight wool blend or linen suit can be a good alternative.

A black wool blazer from Suitsupply

Shirts and Ties

5. The Dress Shirt

A crisp, white dress shirt is your best bet. It’s simple, clean, and universally appropriate for a funeral. Ensure your shirt is well-ironed and free of any stains or wrinkles. Avoid casual shirts, short-sleeved shirts, or shirts with loud patterns.

6. The Tie

Choose a dark, solid-colored tie or a tie with a subtle pattern. Black is the most traditional choice, but dark gray or navy can also be suitable. Avoid ties with bright colors, bold patterns, or novelty designs. Your tie should complement the rest of your outfit and maintain the overall tone of respect.

A man wearing a white button up dress shirt from R2 Amsterdam

Footwear and Accessories

7. Shoes

Polished, black dress shoes are the most appropriate choice for a funeral. Ensure they are clean and in good condition. Avoid casual shoes, sneakers, or anything that might look out of place in a formal setting.

8. Belts and Socks

Match your belt to your shoes – black is the best option. Your socks should also be dark and long enough to cover your ankles when seated. Avoid flashy or colorful socks that might draw attention.

SACA classic belt


9. Jackets and Coats

Depending on the weather, a dark overcoat or trench coat is appropriate. Ensure it is clean, well-fitted, and complements your suit. Avoid casual jackets or brightly colored coats.

A dark overcoat from Paisley&Gray
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Grooming and Personal Presentation

10. Grooming

Personal grooming is just as important as your clothing. Ensure you are well-groomed with a neat haircut, clean-shaven or well-trimmed facial hair, and clean nails. Good personal hygiene is a must.

11. Subtle Fragrance

If you choose to wear a fragrance, keep it subtle. Strong scents can be overwhelming and inappropriate for a funeral setting. Opt for a light, classic scent that won’t draw attention.

Final Touches

A man standing with one hand on top of the other at a funeral.

12. Minimal Accessories

Keep accessories to a minimum. A simple watch, wedding band, or cufflinks can be worn, but avoid anything flashy or attention-grabbing. Sunglasses should be discreet and removed once you are indoors.

13. Respectful Demeanor

Remember, dressing for a funeral is not just about the clothes you wear but also about the respect and solemnity you bring to the occasion. Maintain a respectful demeanor, offering your condolences and support to the family and friends of the deceased.


Attending a funeral is a time to pay your respects and honor the memory of the departed. Your attire should reflect the solemnity of the occasion, showing respect for the family and the deceased. By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure that your appearance is appropriate, respectful, and dignified.

Want some help finding clothes that will make you the best possible version of you? Let Taelor help. Taelor is a menswear rental subscription service dedicated to helping men look their best when it matters most. Our styling service, powered by a human stylist and assisted by artificial intelligence, finds the clothes that help you win – at work, on a date, at a party, or wherever you spend your time.

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