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Can You Wear A Bow Tie To A Funeral? [Solved]

December 22, 2022
Can You Wear A Bow Tie To A Funeral? [Solved]

When it comes to funeral attire, people are understandably worried about dressing inappropriately. A common concern people have is, can you wear a bow tie to a funeral?

You should avoid wearing a bow tie to a funeral and wear a black necktie instead. Bow ties stand out more than neckties and are often associated with celebratory occasions, therefore can appear disrespectful when worn to a funeral.

That’s the gist of it.

In this article I’ll explain in more detail the reasons why wearing a bow tie to a funeral should generally be avoided.

Bow tie
Image From Deposit Photos

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wear A  Bow Tie To A Funeral

There are several valid reasons why you should leave your bow tie at home if you’re getting ready to go to a funeral. 

Let’s discuss the most important ones here. 

1. They Stand Out Too Much

As a general rule, when you are a guest at a funeral, you should aim to blend in as much as possible.

After all, the day should be about showing respect to the recently deceased and nothing you do should distract from that.

The act of wearing a bow tie itself will draw attention, as bow ties are much less commonly worn than neckties, particularly in the funeral setting.

As a result, you are likely to be somewhat of a distraction if you wear a bow tie to a funeral, as bow ties are essentially statement pieces and by their very nature, don’t tend to blend into the background.

Even wearing a solid black bow tie, let alone a colored or patterned one, is likely to draw the wrong kind of attention in this environment.

It can come across as disrespectful to the deceased and their family, which is not the message you want to send at a funeral.

It’s best to stick to a solid black necktie when attending a funeral, as this is what the majority of the other male guests will be wearing and is the accepted dress code for funerals. 

If you combine this with a black suit and a white shirt, you can rest assured that you will look the part and blend in appropriately. 

2. They Look Too Casual

Bow ties, unless worn as part of a black-tie or white-tie outfit, tend to emit a playful and less formal aesthetic than the corresponding necktie.

They are often paired with a dinner jacket for semi-formal events, and wearing them with a suit is reminiscent of this look.

It can be hard to appear more somber and formal therefore when combining a bow tie with a suit, and you may risk looking as if you’re on your way to a dinner party and not a funeral. 

Even in a solid black color, they still risk appearing too casual compared with how a solid black necktie would look.

This playful and casual aesthetic that bow ties exude is therefore another reason why you should avoid wearing them to a funeral.

3. They Look Odd With A Black Suit 

Another reason why you should avoid wearing a bow tie to a funeral is simply that it looks odd when paired with a black suit.

This is because wearing a black bow tie together with a black suit and white shirt makes you look as if you’re trying to emulate a tuxedo, but not quite achieving the look.

The truth is, there are not many situations in which you could wear a black suit with a black bow tie and be better served than wearing a tuxedo.

You may think that you could get away with wearing a colored bow tie instead of a black one with your black suit to avoid this issue. However, it’s important to remember that when attending a funeral you are expected to wear black as the predominant color. 

The take-home message here is that the black bow tie and black suit combination is best avoided unless you are attending a black-tie formal evening event, in which case you should be wearing a full tuxedo. 

Wearing this combination in most other situations, particularly during the daytime, simply risks looking odd and out of place. 

4. They’re Associated With Celebrations

As well as giving off a playful vibe, bow ties are usually associated with celebratory events, such as weddings, parties, balls, and galas.

They are therefore generally not suitable to be worn at more somber or serious occasions, such as funerals.

Wearing a bow tie to a funeral may inadvertently appear as if you’re celebrating, which comes across as disrespectful to the mourning family. 

You certainly don’t want to dress for a funeral as you would a party or celebratory occasion, and unfortunately, many people do associate bow ties with occasions such as these.

On the other hand, a solid black necktie would be in line with the more serious atmosphere that funerals carry.  

You can therefore feel safe in the knowledge that you have dressed appropriately when wearing a black necktie to a funeral.

Are There Any Exceptions?

Hopefully, it’s clear to you now why in the majority of situations you should avoid wearing any kind of bow tie to a funeral.

You may wonder, however, if there are any situations when it could be acceptable to wear a bow tie to a funeral.

There are two general conditions that must be met before wearing a bow tie to a funeral could ever be considered. 

The first is that you are generally known by the majority of the funeral guests for wearing bow ties in your day-to-day life.

There may be more lee-way if you have always traditionally chosen bow ties over neck ties in other scenarios, particularly if the other funeral guests know you well and are aware of this. 

The second condition is that you have respected any cues from the deceased’s family.

If, for example, the deceased’s family have encouraged more creative, less formal funeral dress as a show of respect for what the deceased would have wanted their funeral to look like, it can be acceptable to follow their wishes and dress less formally. 

Wearing a bow tie may be acceptable, even encouraged in this kind of situation. 

However, if you do not know many of the funeral guests, or if the deceased’s family has expressed a wish for a more traditional funeral, it is safest to conform for this occasion and choose a solid black necktie.

After all, it is not a difficult thing to do and it shows your respect for the deceased and their mourning family.


So there you have it; it is best to wear a solid black necktie to a funeral and save your bow tie for another occasion.

I hope this article has cleared everything up for you.