What Colors To Wear To A Funeral (Besides Black)

what colors to wear to a funeral besides black

You know the old saying that you should only wear black to a funeral. Well, it’s time to ditch that outdated etiquette rule. There are plenty of tasteful ways to honor the deceased without conforming to such a dismal dress code. After all, a funeral is a time to celebrate someone’s life, not just mourn their death.

The colors you choose to wear can be an expression of the memory you want to honor. Maybe the person loved the outdoors, so earthy tones would be a perfect fit. Or perhaps they were always the life of the party, in which case wearing their favorite bright color would be a meaningful tribute. When selecting an outfit for a funeral, think about the person you’re there to remember rather than some stuffy old tradition.

Wearing black isn’t for everyone, and it certainly isn’t required to show respect. Focus on the life being celebrated instead of outdated rules.

The Significance of Wearing Black To Funerals

Wearing black to funerals is a long-held tradition in many cultures. It signifies mourning and respect for the deceased and their loved ones. However, black isn’t the only suitable color for a funeral. There are many other hues you can choose that are equally appropriate and meaningful.

Rich, dark jewel tones like forest green, navy blue or plum are somber yet elegant alternatives to basic black. These deep, dramatic shades convey a sense of solemnity while adding a touch of color. For a lighter option, charcoal gray is a tasteful choice.

If you want to wear a brighter color to celebrate the life of the departed, consider shades like eggplant, olive or terra cotta. These earthy, organic tones are subdued but not depressing. They signify the natural cycle of life in a comforting, positive way.

For a religious funeral, it may be customary to wear more symbolic colors like purple for Lent/Advent or red for Pentecost in some Christian denominations. Check with the officiant or family members to determine if there are any color preferences based on faith or cultural traditions.

Wearing what feels right for you while also honoring the spirit of the occasion is most important. Funeral attire should reflect your relationship with the deceased and help you feel at ease during a difficult time. Focus on colors and styles that evoke memories you shared, matching their spirit and the meaningful moments you had together.

What Other Colors Are Appropriate

Other appropriate colors to wear to a funeral include:

  • Navy blue. A deep, dark blue is a respectful alternative to black that still conveys mourning.
  • Gray. Charcoal, slate or ash gray are muted, solemn colors suitable for a funeral.
  • Burgundy. A rich, dark red like burgundy or merlot can be an elegant choice.
  • Forest green. A deep emerald or pine green is another dark, somber color that is fitting for a memorial service.

For women especially, a coordinated outfit in one of these colors paired with a veil or hat can be a tasteful option. For men, a suit and tie in a simple pattern and color is always a safe bet.

In some cultures and communities, brighter colors are also seen as a celebration of life. If that is the case for the service you’ll be attending, consider wearing the deceased’s favorite colors or clothing with vibrant floral prints. But when in doubt, it is best to stick to darker, more conservative hues out of respect for the solemnity of the occasion.

The most important thing is simply to avoid flashy, bright colors, large prints, or anything too casual, like jeans. Dressing in a way that honors the gravity of a funeral shows respect and support for the loved ones of the departed. Focusing too much on strict color ‘rules’ risks becoming judgmental or exclusionary when what matters most is the intent and sentiment behind your wardrobe choice.

Choosing Colors With Meaning To Honor the Deceased

When choosing colors to wear to honor your loved one, consider hues with special meaning. Some meaningful options beyond traditional black include:


Blue symbolizes peace, calmness and serenity. Light or navy blue conveys a peaceful remembrance of the deceased. Wearing blue can be a subtle way to find solace during this difficult time.


Purple represents spirituality, dignity and admiration. Lighter shades like lavender or lilac express fond memories of the loved one you are honoring. Darker eggplant or plum shades signify deep respect.


Green signifies renewal, growth and eternal life. Emerald or forest green conveys your hope that your loved one has found peace in the afterlife. Mint or seafoam green expresses optimism that their memory will live on.


Wearing white or off-white to a funeral can signify purity, innocence, and a wish for the deceased’s peaceful transition. The color white also represents the brightness the deceased brought to life. However, some may find white controversial, especially older generations, as it has not traditionally been the color worn to funerals.

So, can you wear white to a funeral? Yes, you can. White is technically allowed at funerals, but it may not be advisable. Funerals can draw a wide range of attendees, and reactions to white attire cannot be predicted. Other colors are generally safer options that are less likely to cause offense or discomfort for those mourning inadvertently.

Choosing a meaningful color to wear to honor your loved one is a thoughtful way to pay tribute to their life and legacy. The colors you select can bring you comfort through their symbolic representation of noble human qualities and the cherished memories you will always hold dear.

The Choice Is Up To You

Dressing for a funeral doesn’t have to mean wearing only dark, drab colors. While black is still a respectful choice, wearing other colors can help lift the mood and celebrate the life of the deceased. Choose a color with personal meaning or that reminds you of a happy memory you shared. Or pick a color that makes you feel vibrant and alive.

There are respectful, tasteful options beyond black. Wearing a meaningful color is a simple way to honor the life lost while also embracing the lives still living. Remember, funerals are for the living. So wear a color that gives you comfort and helps you feel supported during this difficult time.

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Julianna F.

The philosophy behind our blog is simple: think big and think positively. As Donald Trump once said, "You are going to think anyway, so think big." Life is too short to waste time on negative thoughts that weigh you down. We're here to infuse some joy and inspiration with a dash of astrology, numerology, and healthy living tips. Or really whatever pops into our heads! Follow us on Instagram

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