Knowing what to wear to a funeral can be a confusing task, even down to finding the most appropriate shoes. Brown is one of the most versatile shoe colors on the market and is suitable for almost any scenario. So, can you wear brown shoes to a funeral?
Brown shoes are entirely appropriate for a funeral. They should be dark brown and coupled with a navy blue, charcoal, or black suit. Oxford shoes or Derby shoes are the most suitable choices of brown shoes for a funeral. Brogue Oxfords or Derbys are also acceptable.
With this in mind, here are 7 tips on how to wear brown shoes to a funeral.
1. Wear A Dark Suit
Although brown is a very versatile shoe color, this does not mean it can be paired with a suit of any color for a funeral.
At a funeral, the generally accepted and most appropriate theme is dark colors. When wearing brown shoes, this is no exception.
There are typically three different colors to choose from when picking a funeral suit. These are black, navy blue or charcoal.
Dark colors are important when attending a funeral, due to their discreet nature and ability to blend in.
It’s essential to avoid any type of casual suits such as lighter-colored suits and patterned suits as these will not match the formality of the somber event.
Additionally, suits are sometimes made of different materials, such as tweed. Tweed suits are less appropriate for funerals as their textured nature stands out. However, dark tweed suits are still acceptable and are better suited to outdoor services in colder weather.
2. Pick The Appropriate Style
With a wide range of different styles of shoes, particularly styles of brown shoes, it’s important to know which one to pick.
When attending a funeral with brown shoes, it’s best to opt for either Oxford shoes or Derby shoes. Brogues of these shoe styles are also acceptable, but if chosen, should be approached with caution.
The defining feature of a brogue is the perforations along the seams. Additionally, there are different types of brogues: quarter brogues, half brogues, and full brogues (a.k.a wingtips).
Quarter brogues have the least decoration of the three and are therefore the most appropriate option for a funeral setting.
Half brogues and full brogues have much more decoration than is acceptable at a funeral and therefore should generally be avoided.
Generally, it’s best to avoid unnecessary decoration at a funeral, as they will likely attract attention to the wearer.
Brown Oxford shoes are the dressiest of the options and should always be considered for a funeral. They epitomize formality while remaining discreet.
Derby shoes are only slightly different from Oxfords – the main, and most noticeable difference – is the lacing. Derby shoes have open lacing whereas Oxford shoes have the more subtle closed lacing.
This means that, while both are viable options, Oxford shoes are a little more formal.
Occasionally, Oxford and Derby shoes can be found in material other than leather – such as suede. It’s best to avoid these at a funeral, as they’re often considered too casual.
3. Choose The Correct Shade
There are many brown shoes on the market, from different styles to different shades.
When wearing brown shoes to a funeral, it’s essential to make sure you are wearing the most appropriate shade of brown.
Typically, for most colors, the more formal the occasion, the darker the shade. This is no exception for funerals.
It is best to choose a dark shade of brown, avoiding colors such as tan. Tan is a fairly light shade of brown and, this in itself is inappropriate for a funeral. On top of this, a lighter shade will drastically contrast with the dark suit – making the wearer stand out even more. This isn’t recommended for a funeral and if in doubt, stick to leather.
4. Take Care Of Your Shoes
At a formal event, such as a funeral, it’s important to ensure your shoes are in pristine condition. Shoes that haven’t been taken care of properly could detract from the formality of the event.
There are a few major factors in looking after your leather dress shoes. These are: using a horsehair brush, waterproofing, using a shoe tree, and polishing your shoes.
Horsehair brushes are used to gently remove dust and grime from your shoes. They can also be used to apply polish and cleaner, so are a useful tool to have.
If precautions aren’t taken, water can ultimately destroy your leather dress shoes, causing permanent stains. This is why waterproofing them is essential.
Arguably the most important part of taking care of your shoes is using a shoe tree. Shoe trees are inserts for shoes that help maintain the shape of the shoe. As well as this, shoe trees absorb moisture from the leather and remove creases in the leather.
Here’s an example of a shoe tree on Amazon as an example:
Polishing your shoes will keep them looking new and fresh. This will uphold appropriate formality for a funeral.
Basic cleaning, with a damp cloth, can be done regularly. However, a full polish isn’t necessary as often.
If you wear your shoes frequently, it is best to polish them approximately twice a year. If they are worn less regularly, aim to polish them once every couple of months.
5. Socks Matter Too
Socks have a range of different colors and patterns. Having said this, not every style of sock is appropriate for every situation – particularly when it comes to funerals.
Socks are generally best used as the transition piece from your pants to your shoes. With this in mind, it’s key to note that, when wearing a suit for a funeral, your socks should parallel the block colors.
Avoid patterned socks at all costs. Patterned socks are a sure-fire way to draw negative attention to the wearer at a funeral. On top of this, patterned socks are very informal and wouldn’t match the overall theme of the attire.
When wearing brown shoes to a funeral, there are three options for appropriate sock colors. These are navy blue, black, or charcoal. Typically it’s best to match the color of socks to the suit color.
For example, if wearing a charcoal suit, wear charcoal socks. This, however, is only a guideline, and – given the dark nature of all the options – it is acceptable to couple the socks with any of the dark suit colors mentioned previously.
6. Ensure The Shoes Fit Well
There is nothing more uncomfortable than a shoe that doesn’t fit. Whether they’re too big or too small, wearing shoes that don’t fit is like having an itch that won’t go away.
This is why it’s important to wear shoes that fit. At a formal event, such as a funeral, you should be focused on the reason you are there and not distracted by uncomfortable shoes.
Additionally, shoes that don’t fit properly have the potential to look out of proportion. This could attract unnecessary attention to the wearer, which is unacceptable at a funeral.
Wearing shoes that fit is more than just for comfort. Leather shoes that don’t fit (particularly those that are too big) are a lot more susceptible to creasing.
Creased shoes show informality and a lack of care. Once again, this is not what you want at a funeral.
7. Make Sure It’s Appropriate
Sometimes there are different funeral attire requests. This can range from a classic, formal suit to a theme such as different colored clothing.
It is important to know if brown shoes are appropriate for the funeral you are attending.
Typically, brown shoes are appropriate for a standard funeral, where the expectation is suits and formal apparel.
Brown is a very versatile shoe color, so will generally match with most color schemes. There are, however, still some recommendations regarding brown shoes and different colors.
If requested to wear bright clothing, and you opt for brown shoes, it’s generally best to avoid darker shades of brown. This is because the dark brown would contrast too dramatically with the bright colors.