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Funeral Attire for Kids | The Ultimate Guide

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Kid's Funeral Attire

Deciding what to wear to a funeral or a memorial service can be stressful and confusing.

We’ve put together a 3-part series about what to wear to a funeral—or memorial service or a celebration of life— for men, women and children to take the stress out of choosing correct funeral attire.

In this Ultimate Guide for Children’s Funeral Attire, we’ve answered every question about funeral attire that you could possibly have!  (And if we’re wrong about that, please let us know about in the comments section below!)

Be sure to check out other guides for What to Wear to a Funeral or Memorial Service for Women and What to Wear to a Funeral or Memorial Service for Men.

Let’s get started…

Kids and Funerals…

Some parents believe that kids don’t belong at funerals or memorial services because kids could be traumatized by the experience.

Their other concern is that their children might be disruptive. (Although this concern can be addressed by sitting in the back row to allow for a quick exit when kids start talking loudly or become fussy.)

Other parents believe that children should attend funerals because death is a natural part of life.

They also might want their son or daughter in attendance if the person that passed away was a family member or a close family friend.

If you decide to take your kids to a funeral or memorial service, the question on your mind is: “What should they wear?”

Do Kids Need to Wear Black Funeral Attire?

A common question is, “Does my child need to wear black funeral attire?”  The answer is “No.”

While children wearing black to a funeral used to be common practice in some areas of the world, in most Western countries it’s no longer considered necessary and is not expected.

First and foremost, black clothing for children is more difficult to find and purchase.

Second, the likelihood that your kids will wear black attire again before they outgrow the clothing is slim.  Therefore, it’s probably a waste of money to buy formal funeral attire.

While black funeral attire is not necessary, there are still a few rules of etiquette when it comes to dressing children for a funeral.

We have created this visual cheat sheet to help you select appropriate funeral attire for your kids from their already existing wardrobe.

Funeral Attire For Boys of All Ages:

DO:  Slacks and Suits

Many traditional funerals or memorial services take place in a church. In this case, your son’s funeral attire should be appropriate for a church setting.

If your boy has a suit that he wears to formal events—like weddings—he should wear it to the funeral—provided that the weather isn’t too hot.

Here are examples of appropriate suits for your son to wear to a funeral or memorial service:

Funeral Attire for Kids: Suits for Boys

If your son attends private school where the uniform is a suit, it would be perfectly fine for him to wear the uniform to the funeral, as can be seen in the next example:

Funeral Attire For Kids: Boy's Uniform

If your son doesn’t have a suit, you don’t need to buy him one. A presentable pair of khakis or other dress pants will do.

Here are examples of simple dress pants or khakis that can be purchased at Gap at affordable prices.

Kids Funeral Attire: Appropriate Dress Pants & Khakis

DON’T: Shorts

Boys should not wear shorts to a funeral, which is a solemn occasion requiring respectful dressing.

The only caveat to this rule is extremely hot weather. In this event, choose plain coloured shorts.

Avoid shorts with loud prints or bold colours, or shorts that look very casual, like denim shorts.  The examples below are of the types of shorts that your child should not wear to a funeral or memorial service.

Funeral Attire for Kids: Inappropriate Pants for Boys

DO: Simple Button-up Shirts

Choose a button-up shirt for your child to wear in white or another neutral colour.  The shirt can either have short sleeves or have full-length sleeves. The sleeve length is typically dictated by the weather.

Definitely avoid button-up shirts with loud prints, bright colours, or prominent logos.

These examples of shirts show that it should be relatively easy for your boy to find appropriate funeral attire.  (Your son could also wear a clip-on tie or bow tie if he has one—provided that the colours and patterns aren’t bold.)

Funeral Attire for Kids: Appropriate Shirts for Boys

DON’T: T-Shirt

T-shirts don’t belong at funerals. They belong at the playground.

If the weather is extremely hot, opt for a short-sleeved button-up shirt instead.

Funeral Attire for Children: Inappropriate Shirts for Boys

DO: Formal Footwear

Boys should wear shoes with closed toes and minimal wear.

Select formal footwear in black, brown, grey, navy, blue, or white.   Please note that the style and condition of the shoes matter much more than the colour.

Not sure if your son’s shoes are appropriate funeral attire?  Check out these examples of styles of shoe that are appropriate.

Funeral Attire for Kids: Appropriate Shoes for Boys

DON’T: Sandals, Sneakers and Flip Flops

Flip flops, sandals and sneakers are playground footwear.  They are not appropriate for kids to wear to a funeral or memorial service.

Even if they are not dirty and scuffed from play, causal footwear is not in keeping with the dignity of a funeral service.

Funeral Attire for Children: Inappropriate Shoes for Boys

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Funeral Attire For Girls of All Ages

DO: Simple Dresses

Pick a simple dress constructed from a quality fabric for your daughter to wear to the funeral or memorial service.

The dress can be a single colour—please avoid bright colours—or have a sweet, tiny print—for example, floral.

It is best to choose a dress with sleeves—a capped sleeve will suffice—or to pair the dress with a cardigan. (More on this further on.)

Here are some examples of simple, cute dresses that your daughter could wear to a funeral or memorial service.

Funeral Attire for Kids: Appropriate Dresses for Girls

DON’T: Sparkly Holiday Dresses

Girls often have special holiday dresses that are very sparkly or highly embellished.

While the dresses shown below are beautiful and festive, they don’t suit the tone of a funeral.  They are examples of what NOT to wear to a funeral or memorial service.

Funeral Attire for Kids: Inappropriate Dresses for Girls

DO: Simple Skirts

When it comes to a solemn occasion like a funeral, a simple and understated skirt would be perfectly fine for girls.

Again, avoid bold colours and attention-grabbing prints.

Most girls have a skirt in their wardrobe that is similar to the examples shown below:

Funeral Attire for Children: Appropriate Skirts for Girls

DON’T: Shorts

Clothes that your children would typically wear to the park or playground are not appropriate funeral attire, no matter how cute they are.

These examples of shorts would be appropriate for play time or an outdoor festive occasion, but not for a funeral or memorial service:

Funeral Attire for Children: Inappropriate Shorts for Girls

DO: Simple Button-up Blouses

Pair your daughter’s skirt with a simple button-up blouse for an appropriate funeral or memorial service outfit.

Again, it’s better to select a blouse with a subdued colour palate and pattern.

It’s best to choose a blouse with at least a capped sleeve.  If the blouse doesn’t have a sleeve, consider adding a cardigan to the outfit.

Consider these examples of appropriate shirts for girls to wear:

Funeral Attire for Kids: Appropriate Shirts for Girls

DON’T: T-Shirt

T-shirts are definitely everyday wear and not special enough for a funeral or memorial service, no matter the age of your child.

Funeral Attire for Kids: Inappropriate Shirts for Girls

DO: Cardigans

If your daughter’s dress or blouse doesn’t have sleeves, add a sweet cardigan to complete the look. (Provided, of course, that it isn’t a sweltering hot day.)

Funeral Attire for Kids: Appropriate Cardigans for Girls

DON’T: Bare Shoulders

Clothing that exposes the shoulders is generally not considered to be appropriate funeral attire.  This rule applies to both adults and children.

Again, it’s best to cover bare shoulders with a cardigan, sweater, wrap, or jacket.

Funeral Attire for Children: Inappropriate Dresses for Girls

DO: Formal Footwear

The funeral footwear rules that apply to boys also apply to girls.

Your daughter’s shoes should be closed in the toe area and in good condition (i.e. not dirty and scuffed).

As with other funeral attire for kids, choose a colour that is either neutral or subdued.  Here are some examples of footwear for girls that is appropriate for a funeral or memorial service.

Funeral Attire for Children: Appropriate Shoes for Girls

DON’T: Sandals, Sneakers and Flip Flops

Playground footwear is never ever appropriate funeral attire for two reasons: it’s too casual and it’s often dirty and scuffed.

Funeral Attire for Kids: Inappropriate Shoes for Girls

Funeral Attire for Kids:  Summary of the Rules

To summarize the rules of etiquette when it comes to funeral attire for children:

Appropriate Funeral Attire for Boys

  • Slacks and suits
  • Simple button-up shirts
  • Formal footwear

Inappropriate Funeral Attire for Boys

  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Sandals, sneakers and flip flops

Appropriate Funeral Attire for Girls

  • Simple dresses
  • Simple skirts
  • Simple Button-up Blouses
  • Cardigans
  • Formal footwear

Inappropriate Funeral Attire for Girls

  • Sparkly Holiday Dresses
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Bare shoulders
  • Sandals, sneakers and flip flops

While children’s funeral attire does not have to be black, stay away from bright colours and bold patterns.

Funeral Planning and Grief Resources

Additional Resources

Did you know that Love Lives On has a comprehensive library of articles on grieving and healing, as well as on celebrating your loved one’s life in unique ways?

Here are some other popular posts on our website:

It Helps to Share…

We hope you found our Ultimate Guide on funeral attire for kids helpful.

Use the comment box below to let us know if you found this post helpful, or if you have any unanswered questions. At Love Lives On, we’re always listening.

You can also check out our Pinterest boards for more funeral attire inspiration for children and adults, and more advice on coping with grief and loss.

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