While what you wear at a difficult time won’t be the first thing on your mind, it’s still important to dress appropriately and respectfully. So, can you wear a blazer to a funeral?
Blazers can be worn to funerals as they are usually formal enough for the setting. Dark, neutral-colored blazers (eg. navy blue, charcoal, or black) are the most appropriate options. They pair well with unpatterned neckties, white pocket squares, and dress pants.
That might be the short answer, but as always, there’s more to it.
After going through some essential tips for wearing a blazer to a funeral, I’ll run through a couple of frequently asked questions on the topic as well.
Let’s get to it.
7 Tips For Wearing A Blazer To A Funeral
Consider all of these tips before putting your outfit together.
1. Make Sure It’s Appropriate
There’s a good chance that the right blazer would be appropriate for most Western funerals, but it’s always worth trying to make sure before you attend if possible.
Some families and cultures may be more particular about what they expect people to wear to a funeral. You don’t want to be the exception that goes against the grain.
They may want you to wear a full 2-piece suit in black, or even attire that’s specific to their culture.
In general, a 2-piece suit would be the most traditional and safest option when attending a funeral, but you may feel as though it’s a little too formal. A blazer and dress pants combination may be a reasonable alternative.
But standing out at a funeral because of what you wore isn’t a great feeling.
If you remember, it’s always worth asking the person that invited you to the funeral at the time of the invitation as a passing comment.
If they wanted something specific, it would be unusual for them to not specify this at the time of the invitation. However, it’s easy to forget things at a difficult time, so this isn’t guaranteed.
If you aren’t able to find out at the time of the invitation, it would be best to ask a friend of the family as opposed to bothering the family themselves.
Once you find out that there’s no specific dress code, it would be safe to assume that it would be OK to wear a blazer.
Now it’s time to choose the right blazer for the setting.
2. Stick To A Dark, Neutral Blazer
Dark, neutral-colored blazers such as dark blue, navy blue, charcoal grey, or black are the best options when attending a funeral. They sync well with the somber tone of the event and will usually come across as formal enough for the setting.
While lighter shades of grey or blue are unlikely to offend anyone, they aren’t as appropriate as darker tones.
Black suits aren’t usually necessary for the vast majority of modern funerals, but they’re still considered traditional funeral attire.
Because of this, stick to dark shades and tones with your outfit to be safe. The blazer would be no exception.
Here’s an example of a charcoal blazer on Amazon.
Going against this principle and wearing lighter colors would be risky.
Picture a brighter or bolder-colored blazer (eg. bright blue, green, or red) among a sea of darker-colored outfits at a funeral.
You don’t want to stand out at a funeral. What you want is to dress smart enough to make it clear you made an effort, but to also blend seamlessly into the crowd so the attention and focus are on the deceased and the bereaved family.
This is also the reason why you’ll want to avoid patterned blazers when going to a funeral. Stick to solid colors only, as patterns can also draw attention.
Attempts at standing out at a funeral are considered distasteful.
Because of this, be careful with the color of your blazer, as well as the other items in your outfit.
3. Consider The Blazer Fabric
The fabric of your blazer isn’t quite as important as the color, but it’s worth considering.
The main point to consider here is the weather. There’s a good chance that the funeral service will take place outdoors at times.
This could potentially expose you to the heat or to the cold, depending on where you are and what time of year it is.
In warmer climates, consider a more breathable fabric such as linen, hopsack, or a poly blend.
In cooler climates, consider a more insulating fabric or weave like tweed or even corduroy.
Blazer fabrics with a rougher and more rugged texture would usually be more appropriate for colder weather and pair well with overcoats.
Don’t overthink your blazer’s fabric, but don’t ignore it completely.
4. Add An Unpatterned Necktie
While a necktie isn’t essential for a funeral when wearing a blazer, it’s usually a good choice and makes it clear you’ve made an effort for the event.
Just like with your blazer, it’s important to keep things subtle and understated with the necktie.
Stick to dark tones and colors. Burgundy red, navy blue, and charcoal grey usually work well.
While the color of the necktie should complement the color of your blazer, it shouldn’t usually match it completely.
Try to avoid patterns – stick to solid-colored neckties.
Patterned neckties are usually more appropriate for the workplace or in social settings. At events such as funerals, they can sometimes be seen as attention-grabbing or distracting.
While a subtle pattern won’t be that big of a problem, a simple, unpatterned necktie would always be a better idea.
5. Always Pair It With Dress Pants
When wearing a blazer to a funeral, dress pants would always be the best choice.
It’s important to note that dress pants are different from suit pants, just like blazers are different from suit jackets.
Dress pants usually have a heavier look and feel to them than suit pants. More importantly, dress pants can be worn with non-matching jackets, while suit pants need to be worn with its matching suit jacket.
Blazers, unlike suit jackets, can be worn with non-matching pairs of pants. Suit jackets, on the other hand, need to be worn with a matching pair of suit pants.
When wearing a blazer to a funeral, a pair of dress pants are usually the best option because they’ll always be formal enough for the setting.
While a pair of dark, tapered chinos could potentially work, they just wouldn’t be as sharp or formal as a pair of dress pants.
If you want to play it safe, go for dress pants instead.
Jeans should never be worn to a funeral. They’ll simply look too casual and will risk offending the family and the other attendees.
6. Pocket Square But No Boutonniere
It’s possible to wear a pocket square to a funeral, but it’s important to do so the right way when putting one in a blazer.
As always, you’ll want to go as simply and as subtly as possible.
What you don’t want is a loud and bold pocket square fold like a puff or crown fold. Once again, drawing attention to what you wear is considered distasteful at a funeral.
Reserve these dressier folds for more social and celebratory occasions.
Instead, go for a white pocket square with a simple, straight, Presidential fold.
It would be reasonable to wonder whether a boutonniere would be appropriate to wear with the blazer.
It’s almost always a bad idea and will just draw unwanted attention. They’d be an unusual choice for a funeral unless they were provided by the bereaved family.
7. Dark Brown Or Black Dress Shoes
You’ll want a dark pair of dress shoes to complement your blazer. The simplest and safest options would be a pair of dark brown or black dress shoes in cowhide or calfskin leather.
As is the case with the other items of your outfit, darker tones are just more appropriate when attending a funeral.
While it’s a pretty traditional principle, it’s a good rule-of-thumb to stick by.
The most appropriate styles of dress shoe would be Oxfords, Derbys, and monk straps (in order of reducing formality).
Any of them could potentially be appropriate – it really just depends on how formal you want to look and what you already have available to you.
In many ways, the condition of the shoes is more important than the style of dress shoe you choose. You’ll want to make sure they’re clean and polished before you attend, simply as a sign of respect.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a couple of frequently asked questions on the topic to really round things up.
Can You Wear Jeans And A Blazer To A Funeral?
The jeans and blazer combination should never be worn to a funeral because the jeans will simply come across too casual for the setting. A pair of dress pants or even dark chinos would be more appropriate options to go with the blazer.
Blazers are usually fine, but jeans usually aren’t.
While you’re unlikely to receive specific instructions forbidding jeans, it’ll always be a risk.
The trouble with jeans is that they’re a staple of casual wear that can be worn practically anywhere.
The risk is that you come across as having not made an effort for the occasion.
Can You Wear A White Blazer To A Funeral?
In general, a white blazer would be a poor choice for a funeral because the color would be out of sync with the somber tone of the event. White blazers should be reserved for more celebratory occasions, with darker colors being more appropriate for funerals.
Darker, neutral-colored blazers (eg. navy blue and charcoal grey) would be much better options.
Hopefully, that’s everything you could need to know about wearing blazers to funerals.
While blazers are commonly worn in these settings, it’s important to make sure you do so in the most respectful way possible.