Can You Wear Navy to a Funeral? Funeral Etiquette

Funeral etiquette is tricky because people don’t usually discuss it until planning or attending one. Because of this, people don’t generally talk about what to wear to a funeral in great detail. This is something we should know and understand. 

It’s okay to wear navy to a funeral. Traditionally, people dress for funerals in modest, dark colors, and navy falls into this category. Black isn’t something required at funerals, it’s just the safest option. Navy is also acceptable. 

Let’s get into more detail about what’s acceptable to wear at funerals and what makes navy a good choice. I’ll also discuss acceptable ways to mix darker colors and what type of outfits are generally considered respectable attire.

Why Is Navy Acceptable for a Funeral?

People have long disregarded the idea that you can only wear black to a funeral. In fact, some families even request that people wear bright colors to offset the sorrowful nature of the event. 

Navy is acceptable for a funeral because it’s close to black and won’t draw attention. It’s often tradition for the deceased’s immediate family to wear black while others wear something similar. It also prevents you from needing to buy new clothes. 

However, if the family wishes to assume the tradition of conservative clothing, then navy is an acceptable choice for attending the funeral. There shouldn’t be any problems with what you are wearing as long as it is conservative enough.

Let’s break down why navy is acceptable a little further and help clarify what makes navy a good choice for a funeral.

Navy Is Close to Black

Navy is acceptable for funerals because it’s very close to black. In fact, it’s sometimes confused with black when not enough light is present. So, it’s an excellent option for a funeral. 

There are many colors that people avoid wearing to funerals. Guests at a funeral would consider colors like orange or yellow to be strange or even disrespectful. Bright colors are best avoided at funerals unless the family requests them specifically. So, to avoid being considered disrespectful, make sure you avoid bright colors. 

Not only is navy similar to black, but people often wear them together. Navy and black are similar because both are professional, almost identical, and acceptable to wear almost anywhere. It’s often interchangeable with gray, which is another great shade for funerals. 

Navy Doesn’t Draw Attention

One thing you want to avoid is drawing attention to yourself. A funeral should be about the deceased and their family and friends getting closure. Wearing brightly-colored clothes can draw unwanted attention. This is especially problematic at a funeral when the attention should be on the deceased. 

This is why many people avoid bright clothing at a funeral, but it’s also a reason why navy is an excellent color for a funeral. Navy doesn’t stand out or draw much attention. People may notice it slightly more than black, but you’ll blend in well wearing it compared to other, brighter colors. 

Navy is great for many different events, from funerals to interviews. It’s so versatile because it doesn’t stand out too much. It reflects a certain level of calm from the wearer and makes them seem more trustworthy. Because of this calming, trustworthy appearance, guests at the funeral may appreciate you even more as they struggle to deal with the loss. 

Immediate Family Members Often Wear Black

Some funeral traditions suggest that the immediate family wear only black, while others wear different, somber colors. People follow this tradition so that anyone attending the funeral can easily recognize the immediate family members and pay their respects, even if they only knew the deceased. 

Because of this tradition, many funeral guests began wearing other colors besides black. While wearing black is still considered acceptable in most circles, this gave funeral guests additional options. So, colors like gray and navy became more popular for funerals. 

Whether the family of the deceased requests to follow this tradition or not, it’s safer to wear something like navy to a funeral rather than just all black. You can also combine the two colors. Navy can help give you more options if only the immediate family can wear black. 

No Need To Buy New Clothes

Another great reason to consider navy for a funeral is so that you don’t need to buy new clothes. If you already own a navy outfit but don’t have a black one, that’s okay. It’s best to wear what you have available rather than worrying about buying something new. 

Even if you already have a black suit or dress, maybe it doesn’t fit or needs to be dry cleaned before wearing it again. Whatever the reason, it can be left behind for a navy suit instead. 

Funerals tend to happen very quickly, as decomposition begins immediately after death. Families must plan funerals quickly to ensure the body remains usable. Because of this, you may not receive a lot of notice for a funeral. Sometimes buying new clothes for a funeral isn’t an option because you may not have the time or the money to get something that quickly. 

If this is the case and you already own something navy, then wear what you have. It won’t distract in any way from the family or the deceased and will save you money and time that you would waste buying a new suit or dress. 

What Can I Wear to a Funeral With Navy?

While navy is acceptable by itself, you can also wear it with black or gray to a funeral. Over the years, there has been some debate about what goes well with navy, and we’ll put some of those debates to rest.  

Matching isn’t everyone’s forte. With the rules of fashion constantly changing, it can be hard to keep up. While debates still swirl about what matches what, let’s break them down in detail and help you decide what to wear with navy at a funeral. 

Just Navy Is Fine

First, it’s important to note that wearing navy by itself is perfectly acceptable. Whether it’s a dress, a suit, or something in between, there’s nothing wrong with wearing a single color to a funeral. The only thing you’ll want to watch out for when wearing all one color is the design. 

For example, a navy pinstripe shirt won’t go well with a floral navy skirt. Remember that people attending a funeral expect the day to be about the deceased and their family. So avoid patterns that’ll draw attention to yourself. Otherwise, navy is a safe option to wear by itself or even mixed with other colors.

Navy and Black

Despite some debate over the years, many people wear navy and black together. If you have to mix and match these colors, they’re acceptable for nearly any social gathering, especially a funeral. Gone are the days when we could only wear black to funerals. 

Mixing navy and black doesn’t pose much of a risk for a fashion faux pas. The only time it may be a little too complicated is when you begin mixing patterns. So, make sure you’re working with plain navy and black clothing. 

If you plan to mix the colors, make sure that the shades are similar. Faded black, full black, and navy aren’t going to match as well because of the two different shades of black. So, make sure that every piece of clothing that’s the same color is also the same shade. This will make matching navy and black easier. 

Navy and Gray

Navy and gray is another great option for matching an outfit for a funeral. They go together well, just like navy and black. Navy will match a little closer to light gray compared to darker shades, but they’re all still wearable. 

Black is the best possible color to combine with gray for a funeral, but navy and gray will still match without drawing too much attention to yourself. Just like we discussed with black, make sure that the shades of navy and gray match when you’re combining them for a funeral. The more simple and monotone your outfit is, the better. 

Is It Okay for the Family of the Deceased To Wear Navy?

It’s tradition for families to wear black at a funeral, but it’s your day and your choice what to wear. So, wear black if you want to remain traditional, or navy if you’re more comfortable. 

There are many traditions when it comes to funerals. Some we still follow, like wearing dark clothing to show your respect to the deceased. People have forgotten other traditions over the years, but some still remain relevant today. 

One of these traditions requested that the deceased family wear all black at the funeral. This was originally to make it easier to spot the family and allow them to show their grief through their somber, monotone clothing. 

Some people still choose to follow that tradition even today. Your family may request that you wear black on the day of your loved one’s funeral. Remember, though, that it’s still your choice. Overall what you wear to a family member’s funeral should represent how you feel and how you want to look. 

Therefore, it is okay for family members to wear navy to a funeral. Traditions can be important, but the family matters most when it comes to funerals. Choosing what you want to wear to a funeral can give you a little bit of comfort on that challenging and somber day. 

Is the Type of Outfit or the Color More Important for a Funeral?

Overall, the type of outfit is more important for a funeral than the color of the outfit you are wearing. What counts is that you attempt to dress nicely to respect the deceased. So, a navy suit will be a better option than black jeans, and a gray dress is a better option than black leggings.

When attending a funeral, you want to dress as modestly as possible while remaining professional. In fact, some people compare the way they dress for a funeral to how they would dress for an interview. So, the overall professionalism of the outfit you choose is more important than the color. 

Formal clothes can leave a much better impression than casual. The main goal for choosing clothes for a funeral is to be respectful and honor the deceased. Formal clothes can portray this a lot better than casual. In fact, formal attire can give off many impressions about you, whether you’re attending a funeral or a job interview. 

A study by the American Psychological Association showed that formal attire is directly associated with reliability and trustworthiness. The people in this study tended to trust those dressed in nicer clothes compared to casual. 

So, you can show a lot about yourself by choosing to wear formal clothing. During such a trying time, it’s important to show family and friends that you’re reliable and trustworthy as they may be looking to you for comfort. 

From this study, we can surmise that the formality of our attire is more important than the color. Sure, a yellow suit might not be a good idea, but there are some other options besides just black. 

For example, a navy dress will be much more appropriate for a funeral than black jeans, as people see jeans as casual attire. So, focus more on the formality of the clothes you choose than the color. As long as your clothes are formal and don’t draw too much attention to yourself, like pink or yellow, then you’ll be seen as respectfully dressed for a funeral. 

Final Thoughts

Navy is a great color for a funeral as it’s neutral and dark. Wearing navy is a safe option for any funeral, whether you’re family or just friends of the deceased. So, don’t be afraid to wear it to a funeral. 

Remember, the main idea behind dressing for a funeral is to avoid casual clothing. Try not to overthink the color choice, especially if it’s a conservative color like navy. So, a navy suit or dress is appropriate attire for any funeral. 


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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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