While what you wear may not seem all that important when going to a funeral, there’s always a real risk of underdressing. So, can you wear khakis to a funeral?
Khakis should never be worn to a funeral. They simply won’t look formal enough due to the color and the rugged texture of cotton twill. A dark, neutral 2-piece suit or even a pair of dress pants and a blazer would be better options.
Although that’s the short answer, there’s definitely more to it.
After going through why it’s just not worth doing in a little more detail, I’ll talk through a couple of alternatives you should wear instead.
Let’s get to it.
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wear Khakis To A Funeral
Here are a few good reasons why you shouldn’t wear khakis to a funeral. After reading them, you should hopefully have no doubt left in your mind.
1. Cotton Twill Just Looks Too Casual
While chinos aren’t quite as casual as jeans, there’s just something about the rugged cotton twill of chino cloth that makes them look significantly more casual than slacks.
Most funerals won’t come with a dress code, unless there are some specific cultural requirements.
That’s why it can be tough to figure out.
But it’s always a better idea to lean more toward the formal end of the spectrum. You don’t want to be the one to underdress for the occasion.
Dark dress pants (slacks) or a 2-piece suit would be a lot more appropriate.
It’s a day where you want to make it clear to the grieving family that you’ve made an effort.
Unfortunately, wearing khakis just isn’t going to cut it.
You may get different opinions about this, however. There are those that may say it doesn’t matter what you wear – what matters is that you turn up and pay your respects.
While it’s true that your sense of dress isn’t what’s most important on the day, it isn’t worth ignoring it completely.
Dressing casually to a funeral just won’t sit right with some people around you.
When you dress in something you could literally wear on any other day, whether it’s to the local bar or a nightclub, it’s not a good look.
2. You’ll Stand Out
A funeral is a day where you don’t want to stand out.
You aren’t looking to impress anyone – that’s for sure. But you also don’t want to draw attention for being underdressed.
Unfortunately, wearing a pair of khakis to a funeral will probably lead to some awkward, unwanted stares.
While it may just be a few passing glances, you don’t want it. It’s a day where the focus of attention shouldn’t be on you at all.
That’s why it’s a much better idea to dress to a funeral in a more conservative and traditional fashion.
Sure, funeral attire is more relaxed than it used to be. Yes – this means you’ve got options.
But it’s important to restrict your options to an extent in order to make sure you look respectful.
You’ll want to blend into the crowd as much as possible. That’s why dark 2-piece suits work so well – there’s a good chance that most people will be wearing one.
3. They’re Usually Too Light In Color
While chinos do come in a range of colors ranging from very light to very dark, khakis are usually khaki-colored.
Khaki is simply way too light to wear to a funeral.
While the all-black dress code is generally unnecessary, it’s still best to stick to darker colors to make sure you don’t wear anything too eye-catching or attention-grabbing.
Dark and neutral colors are the way to go. Black, charcoal, dark grey, and navy blue are excellent options when it comes to your pants or suit.
The shirt would be the exception, as a white shirt is perfectly acceptable to wear to a funeral and pairs well with the other dark items in your outfit.
But the bottom line here is that khaki is an inappropriate color for a funeral.
A pair of dark chinos would be more appropriate, but still inappropriate for the other reasons given earlier on.
Alternatives To Khakis For A Funeral
Now that you know why khakis are just the wrong option, here are a couple of alternatives you should consider.
Dress Pants With A Blazer
While a pair of dress pants with a blazer won’t look quite as formal as a 2-piece suit, it’s still better than a pair of khakis.
I’ve written a whole article on how khakis are different from dress pants (slacks), but here are the main differences:
- Dress pants are usually made from wool or a synthetic woolen blend. This usually has more of a sheen to it than the cotton twill of khakis.
- Dress pants usually have a centre crease down each leg.
- Khakis are more likely to have casual, jean-like features such as bar tack, decorative stitching, and patch pockets.
- Khakis usually have more visible seam details than dress pants.
All of this adds up to the fact that dress pants just look more formal and more funeral-appropriate than a pair of khakis.
As always, stick to dark, neutral colors for your dress pants – black, charcoal, or navy blue.
It’s important to note that dress pants are different from suit pants. While dress pants can be worn with a variety of different items up top, suit pants need to be worn with their matching suit jacket.
Dress pants can be worn with blazers and sports coats instead. That’s why they’re so versatile.
When wearing dress pants, it’s important to wear a blazer or sports coat because it adds a touch of formality. Round things off with a dress shirt and a necktie. It would be a reasonable alternative to wearing a 2-piece suit.
A 2-piece suit would be the best option when attending a funeral. They’re just so hard to go wrong with and will always look much better than a pair of khakis or dress pants.
It should be considered the “standard” when it comes to funeral attire.
A surefire way not to stand out and to ensure you never feel as though you’re underdressed.
Once again, stick to dark and neutral colors for the suit itself.
White or grey would be the best options for your dress shirt. While black shirts can be worn to funerals, it does run the risk of looking too monochromatic.
An unpatterned, dark necktie and potentially a white pocket square with a straight fold would be reasonable add-ons.
Avoid boutonnieres, however, as they’ll usually make it seem as though you’re trying too hard to impress or draw attention.
While 3-piece suits can be worn to funerals, they can sometimes come across too “dressy”.
2-piece suits are ideal – simple and subtle, yet formal enough for the occasion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a couple of frequently asked questions on this topic to really round things up.
Can You Wear Khakis And A Blazer To A Funeral?
Khakis and a blazer would not be an appropriate outfit for a funeral. This is because the khakis will always make it look too casual. Consider a pair of dark dress pants with a blazer instead.
It comes down to the fact that it’s tough to make the cotton twill of chino cloth look “formal”, even with the addition of a blazer.
Can You Wear Black Chinos To A Funeral?
Black chinos wouldn’t look formal enough for a funeral. Although dark colors are always best when attending a funeral, a pair of dark dress pants would be a lot more appropriate than a pair of dark chinos.
While the color of your pants is important, the fabric is just as important when it comes to funeral attire.
A pair of dress pants will usually have a subtle sheen to them, making them appear more formal than a pair of chinos.
Khakis in any form would simply be too casual to wear to a funeral. While they probably wouldn’t cause any sort of trouble, it simply isn’t a good way to go.
While a 2-piece suit would be the safest option, a pair of dark dress pants would be reasonable.