You don’t have to wear all black to a funeral


Wearing black to a funeral is a way for guests to show respect for the person who died and their family during a difficult time of mourning.

But if you don’t have a black suit in your closet, do you need to rush out and buy one? 

Read more: These clothing brands run either too big or too small

Funeral etiquette: When you don’t have a black suit

Reddit user citizens_arrest posted this question to the site recently: 

I need a black suit fast. I’m a pallbearer for a burial on Saturday, and my charcoal suit is not dark enough. Should I rent? Or is there a better solution? I don’t fit in any off the shelf sizes, so I’ll need to get something that can be quickly tailored as well. I don’t plan to use the suit often since I have one very nice suit and that’s all I need most of the time. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Most of the people who responded to the question said there was no need to buy or rent a black suit because the charcoal gray one was perfectly acceptable.

Later on, the man said that the family asked him to wear a black suit to the funeral (since he was a pallbearer).

The user said that he ended up spending $75 to rent a suit instead of buying a “so-so suit” from a place like ‘H&M or Zara,’ which others suggested in the comments section. 

“I bought a suit for $7 at Goodwill. Getting it tailored was expensive, but in the end I had a suit for under $100,” another Reddit user said.

Etiquette expert weighs in 

If he wasn’t asked to wear all black, would the charcoal suit have been OK?

“Most often, a very dark charcoal suit is a good choice, especially when you don’t own a black suit,” etiquette expert Diane Gottsman told “People are more focused on the loss and appreciative for your assistance during this difficult time.”


Gottsman’s exception to this rule is when the family makes a special request, such as in the Reddit user’s case. 

Our expert said the bottom line is that people wear many different things to funerals, and charcoal gray is acceptable because it’s somber and falls under the category of a “dark” suit.

Do you think guests should wear all black to a funeral? Share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more: Plan for your funeral in advance to save big bucks

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