Is Wearing Red to a Funeral Proper Etiquette?

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While traditional funeral attire included only black or dark grey, the modern funeral may allow for mourners to wear other colorings, including red. The most-important aspect of choosing clothing for a funeral is to remain respectful, somber and appropriate.

In general, colorful or vividly patterned clothing is not found at funerals. However, it is paramount that clothing be neat, clean, modest and well pressed, regardless of color. People with a role in the funeral, such as a speaker or honorary pallbearer, typically still dress in darker, neutral clothing unless otherwise directed by the family.

Some families may request that mourners wear a specific color to honor the deceased. In this case, the best way to show respect to the family and their lost loved one is to wear that color. The clothing should still be neat and clean. If red is the requested color, it should be worn.

For religious or cultural funerals, it is crucial to find out if red (or any other color) is acceptable. For example, in Chinese culture, red symbolizes happiness and is never appropriate at funerals. The funeral home director or religious leader can offer advice on what to wear. A funeral is an important time to respect and honor the deceased and the family’s wishes and customs.