What to Wear to a Funeral Besides a Suit

Things Men Can Wear to a Funeral Other Than a Suit

A suit is one of the most common recommendations when it comes to funeral attire for men because it expresses formality and sincerity. But there are other options men can consider if they don’t own a suit or simply aren’t comfortable wearing one. Most outfits that are appropriate for a formal or business setting can also be applied to a funeral or memorial service.

Combining a few reserved, modest staple pieces can create a polished outfit that conveys respect without having to go out and buy a new suit. Along with the basics you choose, the way you accessorize can make a big difference between a casual outfit and a funeral-appropriate ensemble. If you don’t want to wear a suit, explore some alternatives below and find the best one for your style and wardrobe:


While not everyone can find an appropriate suit to wear to a funeral, basic button-up shirts may be much more accessible. Once you start with a polished, clean shirt, you can build the rest of your formal outfit around it. Start by looking for a shirt with a professional cut and fit–aim for a long-sleeve in most situations, though short sleeves may be appropriate for outdoor services in the summer. A well-fitting button-up shirt gives you a full range of movement with only a small amount of excess fabric. You should also be able to tuck it in and comfortably button the cuffs around your wrists.

Next, consider the color and pattern. Dark solid colors like black, navy, and grey are always appropriate for a button-up shirt. Plain white button-ups can also be a good choice, especially if you plan on layering them with a dark vest, jacket, or tie. If you only have patterned shirts, pick something subtle and understated with a monochrome color profile.

Smart Casual Tops

There are a couple smart casual options for tops that you can dress up for a funeral. Black men's turtleneck sweaters can be tucked into a pair of slacks to project an austere, serious vibe that fits in with a funeral environment. A fitted men's v-neck sweater in a solid color or basic pattern can also look professional and respectful when paired with complementary pants, shoes, and accessories.

Men's polo shirts can be a fine choice for funeral attire as long as you wear them thoughtfully. Focus on dressing up the rest of your outfit to offset the casual vibe of a polo. Well-pressed pants and a nice pair of black dress shoes can turn a simple polo into a respectful funeral ensemble. Ideally, pick a black polo with no logo, and be sure to tuck it in.

Appropriate Pants

Much like your shirt options can range from smart casual to business formal, you have a few options when it comes to appropriate pants. When looking through your closet, focus on finding neat pants, such as men's corduroy pants or men's chinos, in a neutral color. Although black, charcoal, and navy are the standard options, brown and tan can also be appropriate if you plan on pairing them with a dark top. Patterned pants may be appropriate if the pattern is subtle and dark, such as a low-contrast plaid or pinstripe. Khaki pants are also an option, especially if you have a dark jacket to offset their casual, summery look.


Even if you’re not wearing a suit, you still have options for funeral-appropriate outerwear. Men's blazers and formal jackets can add structure and class to a basic outfit. Your sport jacket doesn’t have to be a perfect color match for your shirt and slacks, giving you more flexibility when building your ensemble. During cold seasons, a dark peacoat or overcoat can keep you warm while still looking polished.

For something lighter, try layering a vest over your button-up. This adds the formal appeal of a suit while adding an extra touch of comfort, especially for warm weather. Your vest should be waistcoat-style and made of a professional matte material instead of a shiny satin.

Thoughtful Accessories

Choosing the right accessories can elevate your outfit with thoughtful formal touches. If your shirt has a collar, consider wearing a basic, understated tie. A classic necktie adds a classy appeal while still being subtle, so avoid statement pieces like bowties or bolo ties for most situations. Cuff links, a pocket square, and a watch are all appropriate options to accessorise your outfit further.

Always choose dark or black socks to pair with your shoes. Any type of men's dress shoes can work with your formal wear, including oxfords, loafers, or even smart boots. As long as your shoes are clean, comfortable, and professional, you can make them work with any of the above outfit combinations.

When searching your closet for pieces or going shopping for funeral attire, focus on tidy, conservative, fitted pieces. Choosing an alternative outfit to a suit allows you to customize each piece to your personal tastes while still being respectful of expectations surrounding funerals and memorials. Planning ahead and trying on your outfit before the event can help you ensure that your choices match your vision and make any necessary adjustments.


Related Articles