What to wear to a memorial service (formal and casual ideas) | LovingToKnow (2023)

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Updated June 12, 2022

What to wear to a memorial service (formal and casual ideas) | LovingToKnow (1)

Unlike a traditional funeral, not all memorial services are held the same way or in the same type of venue, leaving you and your family wondering what to wear to a memorial service. You may be thinking about this question when the memorial is scheduled for just a few days. Fortunately, there are some universal fashion pieces that you can opt out of and wear to pay your respects.

Formal dress ideas for funeral ceremonies

Whilememorials are less formal than funerals, they're still a fancier occasion than a backyard barbecue. If the attire is considered appropriate for a religious service or business casual, it's generally okay to wear it for a formal funeral. You should also use location to help you decide which specific pieces of your wardrobe you want to wear. If the memorial is in a church or fancy restaurant, you'll want to dress for those places, while also adhering to the dress codes of the place.

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  • What is appropriate to wear for a celebration of life?

formal wear for women

What to wear to a memorial service (formal and casual ideas) | LovingToKnow (2)

Women have a wide range of options for formal funeral services, depending on the time of year. While you don't have to wear all black, wearing darker colors or jewel tones is a good idea to dress up.business casual, especially if you have to leave soon after, or in the middle of the workday to meet. Similarly, you should avoid clothing that is too tight or revealing, but does not need to be buttoned from neck to ankle. Some pieces that you can mix and match include:

  • Pantalón to wear brown, black or navy blue
  • button-down shirt or sweater
  • Seasonalelegant pant suit
  • Camel, Pea or Trench Coat
  • pencil skirts
  • solid color blouses
  • close shoes

formal wear for men

What to wear to a memorial service (formal and casual ideas) | LovingToKnow (3)

Since many men are expected to wear some form of business attire to their work, they might as well wear their smart business casual attire to a formal commemorative event. You should be looking for something that can go from office to service, and some of those fall apart include:

  • Sports or American jackets in dark colors.
  • solid color buttons
  • Pantalón navy blue, burgundy, dark green, black or gray
  • Light suits in grey, beige or brown.
  • social shoes

Formal wear for gender non-conforming people

What to wear to a memorial service (formal and casual ideas) | LovingToKnow (4)

Of course, people who do not identify with the gender binary also want to wear appropriate clothing for the funeral services they will be attending. Don't feel like you have to look specifically feminine or masculine just to appease someone in the crowd; Mix and match form and function for a great look. Pair muted tones with clothing that has sharp or soft lines. Both slim-fit and loose-fitting blazers are a great way to dress up a simple sweater, T-shirt, or tank top if you're in a pinch. Some examples of these sets include:

  • Oversize Americanas in neutral colors
  • Soft patterned pants (panel, plaid, plaid, etc.)
  • cashmere sweaters
  • Exclusive shoes like Dr. Martens, Mary Janes, mules, etc.
  • solid color dresses with tights

Formal wear for children and youth

What to wear to a memorial service (formal and casual ideas) | LovingToKnow (5)

Given their age, boys have some leniency when it comes to formal events. When they attend a funeral service, you can dress them in a broader color palette, as long as they stick to muted tones. Similarly, they can wear almost any combination of clothing (tops, pants, skirts, dresses, aprons, etc.) as long as they are not too bold, bright, stained, or too casual. If they were going to be at home at a ball game, they probably shouldn't be wearing it at the memorial.

What to wear to an informal memorial service

Like more formal events, you should follow the suggestion of the venue and the season. For example, a summer memorial service in a backyard or by the sea would requiregarden party outfit, while a fall memorial in a barn meansvelvet pantsand a sweater. That said, there's a lot more leniency for casual memorial events, and you shouldn't be afraid to add more personality to your outfit for these occasions.

casual clothes for women

What to wear to a memorial service (formal and casual ideas) | LovingToKnow (6)

While casual services offer a lot of leeway in terms of dress, you still need to follow some general guidelines. Skip the statement or statement tops, including those with bold prints and statement accessories (like fringe and sequins) and select some sophisticated and elegant accessories instead. For example, some specific pieces that you can wear in various seasons and places include:

  • Dress pants and trousers in neutral tones
  • solid color sweaters
  • Maxi dresses in solid colors or soft florals or prints
  • Garden party dresses/tea dresses in cool tone prints or solid colors
  • Point shirts or polos
  • groom jackets
  • sandals or heels
  • boots or loafers

casual clothes for men

What to wear to a memorial service (formal and casual ideas) | LovingToKnow (7)

At an informal event, men don't need to dress as formally as, say, a three-piece suit. While your pants should still be pressed and starched, they don't need to be hemmed or dress pants, and they can be flared to show a little more skin (especially in the summer months). Some ideas for these casual outfits include:

  • Polo shirts in solid colors
  • Sports jackets or blazers
  • neutral colored pants
  • linen pants
  • Short or long-sleeved button-downs in standard patterns (checks, stripes, plaid, etc.)
  • water dress pants
  • Loafers and dress shoes

Some men may be tempted to wear dark jeans and a blazer for a casual funeral. If you want to wear jeans, make sure the venue requires it and that you wear them accordingly. In other words, wear a button-down shirt with loafers, consider adding a blazer, and skip the T-shirt and sneakers.

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Casual clothing for gender non-conforming people.

What to wear to a memorial service (formal and casual ideas) | LovingToKnow (8)

For more informal memorial services, people of all gender identities can express their sense of style much more easily than at formal events. Since you still have to stick to dark colors and fewer logos or prints than you would in your everyday life, it's a great idea to start playing with textures and proportions. Pairing an oversized blazer with a fitted button down and baggy pants can be super trendy and respectful at the same time. Similarly, chunky boots or even Converse can be paired with your most sophisticated dresses for a more casual vibe. Here are some ideas for these stylish outfits:

  • Blazers or sassy coats
  • High neck blouses in solid colors
  • high waisted pants or paper bag
  • Solid Color Statement Tops
  • Layer sweaters, dresses, and sleeveless tops for texture.
  • printed dresses and skirts

Casual clothing for children and youth

What to wear to a memorial service (formal and casual ideas) | LovingToKnow (9)

In an informal service, children have a few more options when it comes to clothing. In addition to knitted dresses, cardigans and pants, they can also choose khakis and polo shirts, as well as pieces like a fancy tunic or dress over leggings. Depending on the location, dark jeans may also be appropriate. For children, shoes are an important thing to consider, and if the event is outdoors, be sure to tuck them into a comfortable pair of shoes or dress shoes, such as loafers, mules, or ballet flats.

Clothing tips to be fashionable and respectful

When choosing what to wear to a funeral service, there are some standard guidelines for what you should and shouldn't wear, regardless of location or time of day. Some of the main items to avoid include:

  • Avoid flip-flops, light-up shoes, or dirty boots.
  • Jeans, unless the event requires it
  • Faded, torn and worn clothes
  • Sportswear or sports equipment
  • sleepwear
  • Beach or pool clothing
  • graphic t-shirts

Always select the appropriate attire for the memorial service

Choosing the proper attire for the memorial service begins with suggesting the location and service information provided to you. When it comes to these things, it's better to be a little overdressed than underdressed, but you should always check with the host if you're not sure what to wear. Most importantly, be sure to wear pieces that are comfortable, and one way to do that is to start by going through your own closet for basics and incorporating additional pieces to complement them.

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