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It’s a question we get asked frequently so James Morris, our MD, provides some helpful pointers.

In my 30 years of funeral arranging, trends have come and gone as have fashion highs and lows. But one rule remains as important today as it was when I started out.

Respect whatever the family or deceased want. Here’s our quick guide to what’s appropriate – and what’s not.

Look for clues

Today’s funeral notice in both newspapers, social media or through online obituaries, can sometime contain guidance about what is requested by a family. Usually centred around a theme, families may ask mourners to wear particular colours, or a particular outfit or accessory. Football scarves, school blazers, team colours – if a family have a specific idea in mind, they’ll often make it clear.

Err on the conservative

In the absence of any specific direction, my advice is for smart, formal and usually something dark. The days of black mourning or Sunday “best” outfits have gone but you can still find something that reflects respect and takes more effort than everyday wear. In researching this blog, I was amazed to find “funeral dress” brought up a number of high street retailers who have designed outfits to fit the expectations of a modern funeral.

Make it personal

I’ve been to funerals where the mourners reflected the work or hobbies of the deceased. From uniforms such as the police or armed services as well as chefs or nurses to cricket caps or school blazers. A farmer’s funeral stands out in my mind as many mourners arrived in wellies, “because that’s what he would be wearing”. And most recently, our company did a socially distant funeral where friends and family wore white moustaches in tribute to their loved one’s distinctive look.

Think ahead

If you are attending a graveside or woodland burial and the ground is uneven or the weather unforgiving, then your fashion choices will be limited to what’s comfortable and safe. Flip flops for beach funerals, hiking shoes for woodland burials and in Scotland, probably always a waterproof coat.

Making your wishes clear is one of the most thoughtful things you can do for those you love should they have to organise your funeral, so why don’t you download our checklist of considerations, and we’ll send you a Plan of Wishes with extra copies – absolutely free.