What to Wear to a Wake
Unsure what to wear to a wake? It’s easy to get confused over dress codes for the various events that take place after someone passes away. This guide helps to answer the question “What exactly do you wear to a wake?” and gives further suggestions on what you should try to avoid wearing to a wake, as well.
What to wear to a wake vs funeral for both males, females, and non-binary people
When it comes to dressing for a wake and a funeral, both males and females can wear basically the same type of outfit to each event. If you’ve never attended a wake or funeral, both events typically call for relatively conservative clothing in darker colors. You can typically dress less formally at a wake than a funeral, but both events more or less call for similar clothing.
What to wear to a wake as a woman or non-binary individual
If you’re stuck asking yourself “What should I wear to a wake?”, this article is for you! Wakes generally don’t have super strict dress codes, but having an understanding of what’s typically acceptable can help you pick the outfit you feel comfortable wearing. Here’s some outfit ideas for what to wear for a wake.
Classic Black Dress:
- Choose a knee-length or longer black dress with a modest neckline and sleeves.
- Pair it with closed-toe black pumps or flats.
- Keep accessories minimal with a simple necklace or pearl earrings.
- Complete the look with a tailored black blazer or cardigan for added elegance and warmth.
Conservative Pantsuit: - Select a well-fitted, dark-colored pantsuit in black, charcoal gray, or navy blue. - Wear it with a button-down blouse in a complementary color, such as white or light blue. - Opt for closed-toe dress shoes in a neutral color like black or dark brown. - Accessorize with a small, understated pendant necklace or stud earrings.
Subtle Patterned Dress: - Choose a knee-length or longer dress in a subtle, dark-colored pattern, such as a small floral or abstract print. - Stick to a modest cut with a higher neckline and sleeves. - Pair it with black or dark-colored pumps or flats. - Keep accessories simple with a delicate bracelet or small earrings.
Black Skirt and Blouse: - Combine a knee-length or longer black skirt with a conservative blouse in a complementary color. - Opt for a blouse with 3/4 sleeves or long sleeves. - Wear closed-toe heels or flats in a neutral color like black or dark brown. - Accessorize with a simple pendant necklace or small hoop earrings.
Dark Trousers and Blouse: - Pair dark-colored trousers (such as black, charcoal gray, or navy blue) with a conservative blouse. - Choose a blouse with a modest neckline and sleeves. - Wear closed-toe dress shoes in a neutral color. - Add a touch of elegance with a delicate necklace or stud earrings.
Hopefully these outfit ideas help you decide what to wear to a wake. For women or non-binary individuals, you can feel pretty safe just following the above guidelines and checking in with anyone else attending the wake just in case there are special rules you’ll want to follow.
What to wear to a wake for men and non-binary individuals
If you’re looking for a more masculine take on an outfit for a wake, here are five outfit ideas that may suit you:
Traditional Dark Suit: - Opt for a well-fitted, dark-colored suit in black, charcoal gray, or navy blue. - Pair it with a crisp white or light-colored dress shirt. - Wear a conservative tie in a solid color or subtle pattern that complements the suit. - Choose black or dark-colored dress shoes and matching dark socks. - Complete the look with a simple pocket square and a classic wristwatch.
Charcoal Gray Suit with Light Shirt: - Choose a charcoal gray suit for a slightly softer and less formal look. - Pair it with a light-colored dress shirt, such as white or light blue. - Opt for a complementary tie that adds a touch of elegance. - Wear black or dark-colored dress shoes and matching socks. - Consider adding a lapel pin or a tasteful pocket square for a subtle touch of style.
Navy Blue Blazer and Trousers: - Combine a navy blue blazer with matching trousers for a sophisticated yet slightly less formal option. - Wear a light-colored dress shirt underneath, such as white or light blue. - Skip the tie for a more relaxed look, or add a knit tie for a touch of refinement. - Choose brown or black dress shoes and coordinating socks. - Add a final touch with a stylish belt and a polished wristwatch.
Dark Sweater with Dress Pants: - Select a dark-colored sweater in black, charcoal gray, or navy blue. - Pair it with well-fitted dress pants in a complementary color. - Wear a collared dress shirt underneath the sweater for a polished appearance. - Opt for black or dark-colored dress shoes and matching socks. - Keep the overall look sleek and sophisticated with a minimalist belt and a classic timepiece.
Classic Black Dress Shirt and Trousers: - Choose a black dress shirt for a sleek and sophisticated look. - Pair it with well-tailored dress pants in a neutral or complementary color, such as gray or charcoal. - Wear black or dark-colored dress shoes and matching socks. - Skip the tie for a more contemporary and understated style. - Consider adding a refined pocket square or a stylish lapel pin for a touch of individuality.
Remember, when choosing what to wear at a wake for males, simply try to be presentable, in nicer clothes, with darker colors and minimal accessories. Appearing neat and groomed in a darker outfit will generally be your best bet. These outfit ideas provide a starting point, but it’s a good idea to consider the specific customs or guidelines provided by the family or religious institution if there are any particular dress code requirements for the wake.
What not to wear for a wake
In answering these questions, one question that’s gone unanswered is “What do you not wear to a wake?” Below are some guidelines on clothing that’s generally okay to avoid wearing when planning an outfit for a wake:
- Bright or vibrant colors: Avoid wearing bright, loud, or vibrant colors that may appear festive or celebratory. Opt for darker and more subdued colors such as black, charcoal gray, or navy blue.
- Extremely casual or informal attire: Skip casual clothing like jeans, t-shirts, shorts, or athletic wear. Instead, choose more formal or semi-formal clothing that aligns with the solemnity of the occasion. (This is, of course, not the case if you’re attending a wake that’s specifically requested for more casual attire.)
- Revealing or provocative clothing: Try to dress modestly and avoid wearing clothing that is revealing, tight-fitting, or provocative.
- Excessive accessories or jewelry: Keep your accessories and jewelry minimal and understated. Avoid wearing excessive or flashy pieces that may draw unnecessary attention or appear inappropriate for the occasion.
- Loud patterns or graphics: Avoid clothing with bold patterns, large logos, or distracting graphics. Opt for more subtle or muted patterns, or stick to solid-colored clothing.
- Casual footwear: Choose shoes that are formal or semi-formal in style. Avoid wearing sneakers or flip-flops.
- Strong fragrances: While not directly related to attire, it's worth mentioning that wearing strong fragrances should be avoided. Some individuals may be sensitive to scents, and it's important to maintain a subdued atmosphere without overwhelming others.
By being mindful of these considerations and selecting attire that is respectful, understated, and appropriate for the occasion, you can show your support and sympathy to the grieving family during the wake while presenting yourself appropriately.