what to wear to a funeral in the summer

What to Wear to a Funeral in the Summer?

What should you wear to a funeral in the summer? As sad as it may sound, this is an important question. 

You wouldn't want to be sweating profusely while grieving at a loved one's service and risk getting heatstroke. 

Since most people don't attend many funerals, it's normal to feel intimidated about what to wear. 

The appropriate dress code might change depending on the particular family's wishes and the time of year. 

If you're wondering what to wear to a funeral in the summertime, it might be even more confusing since you don't want to feel too hot. 

If the funeral takes place outdoors, you'll want to make sure you stay relaxed and comfortable while paying your respects. A proper part of funeral etiquette is dressing conservatively, but how do you balance that with the weather?

You likely don't want to wear a heavy suit or constricting blouse if the temperature is skyrocketing. What are funeral-goers to do about their attire? Here at Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals, we provide religious and traditional funeral services.

Many options will keep you cool and comfortable during your time of mourning. Here are some guidelines for what to wear to a funeral on a hot Summer day.

What to Wear to a Summer Funeral

Style and Cut

Short-sleeved shirts are appropriate at most funerals, but avoid tops that reveal too much of the chest or shoulders. 

Shorts and dresses should reach the knees. Loose-fitting clothing will be less restrictive than tight clothing and can help you stay comfortable during the service. 

Most modern funerals don't require full suits or dresses nowadays. However, it's also not a time to dress too casually. 

Athletic wear like flip flops, sweatpants or windbreakers should be avoided. 

Conversely, it's a mistake to dress in attire that is too business-like for a funeral, which is a personal and emotional occasion.

Light summer suits are appropriate at a funeral but don't make the mistake of wearing a heavy wool one during warm weather. 

Light summer suits are appropriate at a funeral but don't make the mistake of wearing a heavy wool one during warm weather.

Materials and Fabrics

An outfit that thoroughly covers the body can be funeral-appropriate and cool if made with breathable, lightweight fabric. 

Seek out fabrics that are light and breezy, like cotton, linen and chambray. Avoid heavy or synthetic materials that will trap heat and sweat, like Polyester, denim and nylon.


It is becoming increasingly acceptable to wear more colours to funerals beyond the traditional black. 

However, if the family is planning a conservative funeral or unsure, it's best to wear neutral colours like grey, beige or navy blue. 

Colour accents are an excellent way to add character to a sombre outfit.

Muted colours, white and neutrals are considered acceptable at funerals nowadays, in addition to traditional black, navy or grey. 

Muted colours, white and neutrals are considered acceptable at funerals nowadays, in addition to traditional black, navy or grey. 

White is also a traditional funeral colour and can be worn when in mourning. White is more fabulous in the summer than heat-absorbing darker colours. 

Things to Consider

what to wear to a funeral in the summer (2)

Keep in mind that even in the summer heat, the degree of formality of your attire should fit with the environment and occasion. 

We can't make definitive statements for all situations, but there are a few general comments that should work for most cases:

  • You are not attending this event to impress others or find a mate. You are there to honour the person who has passed and pay your respects to his or her family.
  • Your attire should be respectful of the occasion. What do you think that the person who died would think of your dress? What about the family?
  • You and your outfit should not be the centre of attention at this gathering.
  • If you can't decide whether or not the outfit you have selected is appropriate, choose something else. If you have doubts, trust your instincts.
  • If it is boiling and you will be outside for any part of the ceremony, make sure that whatever you wear is loose fitting and lightweight fabric. Be comfortable. After all, it will be hot outside, and you might be standing for some time.
  • Antiperspirants would undoubtedly be in order, but be aware that there may be hugging, and many people are allergic to perfumes or colognes.
  • Can you wear all white or red or hot pink to a funeral? Can you wear a concise dress or very tight pants? Chances are no one will ask you to leave, but unless you are making a specific statement (maybe the person who has passed loved the colour pink, and all family members were asked to wear pink), I would not.
  • Don't over-accessorise, and don't apply loud make-up. Simple is best.

Keeping it simple doesn't mean you have to look frumpy either. You can exhibit good style and respect at the same time. 

Creating a Funeral Ensemble

So what's appropriate? Here are some clothing suggestions for those still unsure of what they can wear to a summer funeral:

  • Dress shorts or pants
  • Skirt or dress
  • Blouse or button-down shirt
  • Dress shoes
  • Suit jacket 

Avoid these everyday funeral fashion faux pas:

  • Athletic wear
  • Tank tops
  • Shorts or skirts that are above the knee
  • Flip flops 

Women's Summer Funeral Outfit Ideas

A woman should wear to a funeral in summer is something black, navy blue, or charcoal grey that will keep her cool without baring all.

Short-Sleeve Short Dress

A sleeveless or short sleeve short black dress that hits just above the knee is perfect for a summer funeral. The key is to opt for a dress that looks more formal than something you'd wear during the day. You want to choose something with a higher neckline since it doesn't cover the shoulders or arms much. You can wear heels or flats.

Sleeveless Blouse With Skirt

Dressy skirts can keep you comfortable and funeral appropriate. Pair a lovely black skort with a flowy dark tank top with a high neckline, like a boat neck, to keep it relevant. Cute, strappy sandals keep the look business casual.

Sleeveless Maxi Dress

A good quality black maxi dress can be comfortable on a hot day. Choose one with a high neckline, such as a halter neck, so you're not showing cleavage. Ballet flats and a dressy necklace take the outfit up a notch from your standard summer day look.

Sleeveless Pant Jumpsuit

You might not think to wear pants in summer, but light, flowy pants can be comfortable in the heat. Grab a black sleeveless pant jumpsuit and pair it with lovely sandals to get a modern funeral look.

Men's Summer Funeral Outfit Ideas

Men's summer funeral options are similar to the possibilities for other seasons; only you can do more short sleeve options in hot weather. Remember, just like the ladies; you want to keep your chest covered up.

Polo Shirt With Slacks

An excellent golf shirt or polo shirt in black, charcoal, or navy blue paired with black, navy, or grey slacks is a superb summer funeral look. Don't forget to choose dressier shoes such as boat shoes.

Button-Up With Rolled Sleeves and Slacks

If you're a more traditional guy, you can wear the typical button-up shirt and slacks. To keep cool, roll the sleeves up to just below your elbow. If you lean toward more formal funeral attire, tuck in the shirt.

Dress Shorts With Shirt and Tie

Men's dress shirts are an option. The trick for men in wearing shorts to a funeral is to make sure they are longer, loose without being baggy, and made from a nice-looking fabric. Pairing the shorts with a button-up shirt and tie helps make the outfit look more business casual. Opt for a more formal shoe you can wear without socks.

Short-Sleeve Button-Up With Slacks

Another classic option for men is to pair a short-sleeve button-up shirt with slacks or dark khakis. Since short sleeve button-ups look more casual, make sure yours fits excellent and looks high quality.

Tips for Choosing Summer Funeral Outfits

The colour and formality level of proper funeral attire doesn't change from season to season, but materials and cuts matter in summer. Let Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals help you select the type of funeral service that best fits your needs and your budget.

Consider Short Sleeves

The first tip is to skip long-sleeves altogether. It's perfectly acceptable to wear short sleeve clothing to a funeral, especially if it's in the summertime. 

This isn't a time to dress too casually (unless instructed otherwise), but many easy short-sleeve outfits look great. 

Men could easily don a short sleeve button up or polo shirt, and women could wear a short-sleeve blouse or a short-sleeve dress. 

Look for styles of clothing that feel appropriate for both the weather and the occasion. 

Avoid Tight Clothing

Nothing is worse than wearing tight clothing when you're sweating. 

Constrictive, tight clothing might be fine in the colder months when you're trying to layer warm clothes; it's downright uncomfortable in the heat. 

Loose-fitting clothing is less restrictive, and you'll feel a lot more comfortable. 

This is especially true if you know you'll be sitting in the same place for a while. For example, a church funeral in tight clothing could quickly feel like a nightmare. It's okay to prioritise your comfort. 

Choose a Cool Fabric

Some fabrics are better than others when it comes to staying cool in the summer. The best choices are linen, chambray, and cotton.

Natural materials are always more breathable than synthetics like Polyester, denim, and nylon. These materials might be easy to find, but they'll also trap heat close to your body. 

Pay Attention to Length

When it comes to dresses and skirts, pay close attention to the length. It's usually not appropriate to wear a dress or skirt that falls above the knee. Look for knee-length or longer, if possible. 

The same goes for pants and shorts. While you might be able to get away with wearing shorts at a funeral, especially if it's outdoors, ensure the length is appropriate. When in doubt, everything should fall at least to your knees. 

Avoid Athletic Clothes

While you might be tempted to wear athletic clothes, especially if it's a hot day, avoid this fashion faux pas. 

Athletic wear, tank tops, and undershirts are not appropriate for funeral or wake attire. 

The only exception to this is if you're participating in an athletic event for a celebration of life or another unique memorial service. Otherwise, leave your athleticwear at home. 

Stick to Neutral Colors

It's becoming more common for people to wear all types of colours to funerals. Some funerals invite guests to wear a particular colour or pattern in honour of the deceased, and others leave it up to the guest to decide.

When in doubt, however, avoid bright colours. These flashy prints and colours are a distraction, taking attention away from the deceased. 

While you don't need to feel pressured to wear black, especially with hot weather strictly, it's best to be respectful. 

Wearing neutral colours like grey, navy, white, and beige is always a good idea.

However, pay attention to any cultural expectations, as some cultures use different colours in funeral services. 

Wear a Hat

Some religions require head coverings at funeral services, but this isn't always the case. However, if you know, the ceremony will be outside or by the grave, consider wearing a hat.

While this is not a strict dress code requirement (unless stated otherwise), a hat protects you from the harsh summer sun. 

When choosing a hat, remember to be conservative. This isn't the time to pull out your favourite beach hat. Instead, choose something appropriate and straightforward, avoiding a baseball cap or anything too informal. 

Wear Appropriate Footwear

Pay attention to the funeral setting to make sure you're wearing the right shoes for the occasion. Unless the event is hosted on a beach, you should never wear flip flops.

Similarly, leave your running shoes and slippers at home. Men should also avoid open-toed shoes or sandals. 

For women, it might be appropriate to wear open-toed sandals as long as they're dressy and in good condition.

If there will be a lot of outdoor walking, women should steer clear of heels or other shoes that don't lend themselves to walking on grass, gravel, or stones. 

Keep Accessories Minimal

Not only is wearing too many large, bulky accessories uncomfortable in hot weather, but this isn't appropriate for a funeral. It's best to keep your outfit and accessories minimal.

Simple is always best. You can show off your style without distracting other guests. 

Use the Job Interview Test

The job interview test is a great way to make sure you're wearing the right clothes to a funeral. Ask yourself if what you're wearing would be fitting for a job interview. 

As long as it's in a neutral colour and it's something you would wear in a professional setting, it's probably a good fit for a funeral as well. 

However, if this isn't something you would wear to a job interview, consider switching things up. 

Dress Down for Visitation

If there is visitation or calling hours for the family, the dress code is typically less conservative. 

Since you'll be visiting the family in a casual setting (usually their home), it's not as important to stick to the strict guidelines of funeral attire. 

However, since you want to be respectful, dress a bit on the conservative side. It's okay if you come directly from work in your work attire or if you wear jeans. 

The visitation is all about supporting the family, so don't let your dress code get in the way. 

Ask the Family

Last but not least, don't feel afraid to ask the family. If you're not sure where the funeral service will be or what to wear, ask the family. 

This provides the most clarity about what you can expect from the service. From there, you'll feel more prepared to create an outfit that's respectful and appropriate. 

If you don't feel comfortable calling the family who lost the loved one directly, call another friend or family who is attending. Ask what they're planning to wear for more context. Last but not least, you could also contact the funeral home or the place of service to see what they recommend.

You're attending the funeral to support the family. What you're wearing is not an essential part of the day. 

Why Is Funeral Attire So Important?

what to wear to a funeral

Depending on the people hosting the funeral, attire may not be necessary at all. Some people nowadays don't see conservative and neutral clothing as a genuine way to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed. 

These families might inform their guests, either in the memorial invitation or by way of the obituary notice, that guests are encouraged to wear bright or casual attire. 

This type of funeral encourages all who knew the deceased to come to mourn as they are, rather than worrying about a fancy outfit. 

However, death and grief can be a sensitive time for more conservative and formal families in their funeral arrangements. 

Clothing that does not portray good respect for the deceased individual and the closest mourners might offend. 

Some Orthodox religions have specific requirements for garb, and it is best to find out in advance what they are. Visit Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals to know more about our prepaid funeral service and find the best funeral option for your unique situation. 

Guests should err on the side of caution or contact someone close to the family to find out about their expectations for traditional or cultural funeral wear. 

Ultimately, your presence is what will matter at the funeral service more than what you wear. 

These attire tips are intended to help you make yourself and everyone around you more comfortable during a memorial service, so you can focus on what matters: saying goodbye to someone special to you.

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