One would think the answer to this question must be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But it is a lot more complex than that. Especially since this matter deals with an event that is so sensitive in nature. Before we jump into the question at hand, one must first answer a few preliminary questions. These questions will aid you to understand under which circumstances it is okay to wear blue, and in which circumstances it is not.
Apart from all these questions, it is also important to know which culture/religion funeral you are attending. Even though this article mostly talks about a traditional Christian perspective, it shall cover the rules and regulations of a few other common religions and cultures too. Moreover, since all blue objects/dresses are not the same hue, which hues to choose while picking outfits for a funeral? Keep reading to find in-depth answers to all these questions.
What should your outfit say at a funeral?
For a somber occasion like this, it is important to wear something that is completely in line with the emotional spectrum of the event. Blue objects/accessories can be chosen, although wisely, if they fall in line with this said spectrum. Your dress should show a sense of formality or mourning. The most important thing is that you need to respect the deceased, and your outfit requires to express it. Any kind of overtly revealing outfits, no matter what color, is not a good choice whatsoever.
You need to bear in mind that it is an incredibly difficult event to get through for the loved ones, probably you included. Hence, it is not only important to respect the deceased, but also the grief of the family and friends. You should be very mindful of it regardless of how close/the lack of closeness you might have with the parties grieving. And this is the reason why your outfit should, first and foremost, spell ‘respect’ at a funeral.
Why is there a need to be mindful of other people through fashion?
A funeral is an event no one wants to attend. It is not exciting- not something anyone looks forwards to. In a tangent, fashion is an extension of your speech and personality. Just like you wear bathing suits to the beach and a blazer/pant-suit to a corporate meeting and not vice-versa. Hence your outfit needs to be appropriate for the occasion, especially since it is a somber and grim one. Because almost everyone at the funeral is at their most vulnerable, emotionally, the air need not carry many words. Not much is spoken during a funeral, you might’ve observed. This is to honor the mourning, which is best done in silence. And since your clothes, as mentioned above, is a part of your speech and personality, it cannot be loud.
What colors are the most appropriate during a funeral?
Usually dark, deep colors are preferred when picking outfits for a funeral. But occasionally, a washed-out beige or simple, faded pastels also work. The latter is trickier to pull off but is possible regardless. Black is, of course, the most favored color during a funeral. However, styling and textile of the dress are of utmost importance while picking these outfits. Even when one has a great colour palette, if the textile is not proper, it will look very out-of-place.
For example, a black sequined dress is a very bad choice for a funeral, despite being in an acceptable color. On the contrary, an elegant beige dress that is simple and modest would also work very well with a neoprene textile and a layered deep-colored coat on top. So remember, styling and textiles can make you go wrong even if you are very aware of the accepted color, tones and palettes for a funeral.
For men, this is a fairly simple gig. A black suit can never let you down. But remember, the textile rules apply to men too. Adding festive details that give an impression of vanity are not appreciable at a funeral. For those that do not wish to go the black route, dark navy, gray, deep chocolate, etc are good colours for the ceremony. Apart from these, you can choose various other shades that look like they can be layered with darker/lighter pieces to create an elegant, yet non-vanity-esque look.
What kind of outfits are okay to wear at a funeral?
Even if you are very clear on the textiles and the styling, you need to have a good sense of what is the expected dress code at the funeral. You cannot be showing up in a revealing blouse or a skimpy sheer black dress. No matter the color or textile, or styling even you need to follow the rules of elegance and modesty at a funeral. Now it is understandable that it is difficult to follow the rules of modesty and elegance in every season/weather, we can still try our best.
In summers, it is usually too hot to wear long, layered clothing that covers every inch of your body. For men, it is almost not a choice, especially if you are attending a Christian wedding. Wearing half-pants or Cargos or Crocs are not appropriate attires for a ceremony like this, no matter how hot it gets during the summer. If you wish, you could ditch the coat/blazer and wear a shirt that is in an appropriate colour palette and pair it with simple-looking pants. For women, wearing a dress seems to be an appropriate choice for the summer. A little black dress is a staple for such occasions. But, you can definitely switch it up and opt for more colours, textures, or textiles if you wish to. Just make sure they all follow the boundaries that the event demands.
In winters, layering shall be your best friend, regardless of what your gender it. Layer on some dark coats/windcheaters and throw on a dark/beige beanie to make it an acceptable attire for a funeral. Winter’s general color palette itself is a little on the somber end. With blacks, blue, beige and gray in the seasonal wardrobe for winter, you might not have to buy anything to wear to a funeral.
For women, wearing leggings and dresses, and layering them with coats sounds like a tried-and-tested option. If you do not own those, then cover whatever you might be wearing with a deep-coloured, grey or beige trench coat. That way, you would not have to worry about what you are wearing underneath.
For men, it is a fairly simpler ball-game. Most of the winter-wear that is not Christmas-themed, falls under the color palette of the said occasion. Hence, it is alright to wear your regular winter clothes to a funeral. But just make sure that they tick all the requirements listed in the article so far.
During monsoon, it is much easier to be somber in terms of clothing. Since monsoon in itself is a gloomy season, it is easier to layer your clothing with raincoats of sombre colours (like deep blue, black, gray, etc) and not worry about the outfit within. In case you are carrying an umbrella, make sure your dress is not of thin material and will not stick to your skin if it gets wet. These little things can save you a lot of embarrassment.
What kinds of blue are acceptable at a funeral?
Now that we have covered the basics of funeral attire, it shall be easier to understand the nuances of wearing non-black colors to a funeral- which in this case is blue. Blue objects and accessories are completely acceptable at funerals as long as they tick a few points of a mandatory check-list:
1) Shade of Blue
Blue is known as a very versatile color. But it has a vast range of shades that could make or break the vibe you are trying to achieve. Electric blue/bright blues like aqua, turquoise, persian blue, etc are very loud shades of blue. It is advisable to avoid those. Instead, choose paler hues like navy, deep blue, washed-out pastel shades of blue, etc. Stay clear of patterns and prints unless you are confident that you can style them down with a few layers of “serious” clothing. These rules and tips apply to both men and women. Always make sure that no matter what “acceptable” shade of blue you choose, they should pass the bullet-points of etiquette check-list mentioned above in the article.
2) Kind of outfit worn
After choosing an acceptable blue shade for your dress/object accessories, it is important to know whether it is modest enough for the occasion. Usually, people prefer a dress length that at least covers the knee. Similarly, it is advisable to keep the neck at a respectable plunge. Hence it is important to make sure, especially if you are a woman, that your dress is “modest” as per the mood and emotion of the event. The same rules apply for men. Any kind of sports-wear or shorts are a strict no-no. Go for fully covered clothing that is both functional and respectful to the atmosphere of the event.
3) Culture/Religion of the Funeral ceremony
In many cultures, there are different rules for mourning. It is important to keep that in mind. If you are attending a Hindu funeral, white is the only acceptable color. Similarly, gray is the only acceptable mourning color in Papua New Guinean cultures. Red is the accepted color for mourning in Ghana and white in China. Make sure you thoroughly research the culture/religion of the deceased before attending their funeral to honor the dress code.
4) Regional sensibilities of the community
Blue is actually the funeral color in many communities around the world. The most well-known among them are Guatemala and some parts of Brazil. In these communities, purplish-blue is a color of loss and pain which symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ. More so, they do not wear blue in their day-to-day lives because of this belief.
In conclusion, it is important to make sure that whatever you are wearing, regardless of whether it is blue to no, respects the event. Blue objects/accessories are permitted as long as they don’t look like they add a ton of vanity. Thoroughly research the culture and community to know whether there is a dress code in place.