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Cobbling Together A Last-Minute Funeral Outfit

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Black is the color of mourning in the United States, but funeral dress codes have lightened up considerably over the past couple of decades. Part of this is due to some families opting to turn the services into celebrations of the deceased's life, often instructing guests to avoid black completely. It's also due to people realizing that not everyone has black clothing that's appropriate for a funeral.

If you find yourself in the position of having to go to a funeral when you don't have a stock funeral outfit available, here are some suggestions:

Color Options

If your black clothing is all too tight -- maybe you gained too much weight since you last had to wear that black suit -- go for clothing that is dark and subdued in color. A dark blue or dark gray suit is usually fine if you have nothing else -- just be sure your tie is dark as well.

If you have gray or tan office-wear, like a dark gray shirt, you can try wearing that if you don't have a blazer. Both women and men should avoid sleeveless shirts and dresses if attending a funeral for someone whose religion is fairly conservative.

If you don't even have dark office-wear, at least go for subdued and relatively professional. Beige khaki-style pants are better than black sweatpants, for example. For women, skirts are fine, but do not wear ones that are too short. Try to aim for at least knee-length. Stay away from floral patterns and other bright patterns unless the funeral notice specifically requests people wear "happy" clothes.

Cut and Style

You might actually have black clothes that fit -- but they could still be inappropriate if the style is too risque. Super-short minidresses are not going to work, nor will black tank tops for men, even if they have blazers or jackets. Your overall look should be professional, if you can't swing the full-on funeral look.

Shoes and Heels

Modest pumps or loafers are fine -- but heels that are too high are not good. If all you have are brown lace-up shoes and black stilettos, for example, go for the brown lace-up shoes or something similar. Sneakers are not usually appropriate, but as Coffee Shop Rabbi notes, they're better than 4-inch heels if those are your only choices. Choose what will allow you to walk without staggering, and what won't blatantly stand out as too bright or flashy.

Head Coverings

Dark hats may be appropriate in warmer climates or if the funeral home in question requires people to cover their heads. If you're male and going to a Jewish funeral, you'll be given a yarmulke to wear out of respect, so do not worry about hats in that case. Women wearing hats should try to keep the brim width relatively short, and avoid very cheerful-style hats.

To learn more, contact a company like Hitzeman Funeral Home, Ltd. with any questions or concerns you have.