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15 stylish black dresses you can wear to a funeral & the etiquette to follow

There is an unspoken dress code at funerals...

Following Her Majesty The Queen's tragic passing and funeral procession, some may be looking to guests, such as Princess of Wales, The Queen Consort, Meghan Markle, and fellow female guests to decipher what to wear for a sombre occasion. 

It has been a tradition, and a sign of respect, to wear black to a funeral, but while some may wear a black dress, others may opt for a two-piece suit, or a skirt and blouse. 

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Some women may also opt for a hat, similar to the Duchess of Sussex, or a hat with a black veil like the new Princess of Wales. However, a fascinator has also been known to be worn at funerals too, although it is not essential, and often the discretion of the organisers, or your preference. 

Meghan Markle arrived at the funeral of The Queen wearing Stella McCartney

We know funerals are about showing a sign of respect to lost loved ones, and the families of those grieving, and, for those looking to follow the right dress code etiquette, we can lend a helping hand

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Do you have to wear black to a funeral?

It is a common tradition in the UK to wear black to a funeral, however, you don't have to follow this. Dark colours, including navy blue, or dark grey, are also deemed acceptable, while bright colours or prints are said to be distracting from the event at hand. 

However, it is to the discretion of the lost loved one's family, and the guests, as on some occasions families encourage guests to wear bright colours as a celebration of the person’s life, so each case is unique. 

Do you have to wear a hat to a funeral?

Similar to the colour scheme, this option is totally dependent on your preference. 

Wearing a hat, veil, or fascinator, is typically deemed a sign of respect, but it is not essential.

The general rule of thumb is subtlety is key so as not to distract from the funeral. 

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What should you avoid wearing to a funeral? 

Funerals are a time you must show your respect, which is why casualwear is deemed inappropriate. 

We recommend avoiding short skirts, or dresses, as well as low-cut and revealing garments if possible. Some may also avoid sleeveless, off-the-shoulder dresses, or designs with spaghetti straps, in favour of covering their shoulders in a place of worship. 

T-shirts, vest tops, tracksuits, sandals or flip-flops are an absolute no-go.  

Some may choose to wear black thick leggings instead of tights under a dress, or jeans instead of trousers, and that is a decision only you can make. 

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Where to shop for a black dress for a funeral 

M&S 

Round neck belted black dress, £49.50, M&S

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M&S has a whole host of black dresses, coats, jumpsuits and much more to shop online, from their own brands, as well as other retailers. However, it is this sleek, classy and timeless black dress, which we believe is the most suitable for a funeral. 

Ralph Lauren

Cape Gorgette black dress, £229, Ralph Lauren

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Ralph Lauren’s Cape dress is an elegant option for a funeral. 

This design features a boat neck, and is a straight above-the-knee dress, with cape detailing, which is super flattering and understated.  The only difference between Meghan Markle’s design and this Ralph Lauren style is the length, but pair with tights  for a little extra coverage.

John Lewis 

Ro&Zo black ruffle dress, £65, John Lewis & Partners

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For those looking for a stylish, yet formal, dress to wear to a funeral, we have found it.
This creation features sheer blouson sleeves, but not too sheer it’s inappropriate for the formal occasion.  What we love is it features asymmetric frill detail across the sleeves, as well as the body of the dress, to elevate this look, without being too distracting from the event at hand.

Mango 

Ribbed black midi dress, £32.99, Mango 

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Mango has created this smart midi dress, with slight funnel neck, capped sleeves, and belted detail, which makes this perfect for those attending a funeral. Layer with a blazer, or long tailored pea coat, heeled boots, or heeled court shoes.

Self Portrait 

Self Portrait crepe midi dress in black, £420, Matches

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For those looking for something a little more designer when attending a funeral, and want to take a leaf out of Kate Middleton’s style book, Self Portrait’s Crepe Chiffon Midi Dress may be for you. 

This design looks like a blazer and skirt two piece, when in fact it is a coat dress.  It features a structured blazer with button fastening and peplum detail, to contrast the pleated midi skirting at the bottom.

Ted Baker 

Elynah asymmetric peplum black dress, £109, Ted Baker

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Ted Baker knows how to do formal garments and occasionwear well. This structured design is formal for any occasion, and appropriate for a funeral thanks to the midi length, which falls to the knees, round neck and covered shoulders. 

ASOS 

ASOS DESIGN button detail maxi shirt dress in black, £36, ASOS

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A shirt dress is a good option for a funeral. This particular design falls to the floor, which makes it a more modest choice than similar shirt dresses that fall mid-way down the calf or to the knee.

Boden 

Rib detail knitted black midi dress, £130, Boden 

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A knitted dress is hugely popular around the autumn and winter months, and for guests attending a funeral.  

The thicker fabric makes this design particularly appropriate for those attending a ceremony after losing a loved one, as it is not see-through and holds its shape, which makes you look smart, yet comfortable even on the saddest of days.

Oliver Bonas 

Tie back poplin black cotton midi dress, £79.50, Oliver Bonas

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Oliver Bonas has created the ideal black dress for a funeral, with this smart design for formal occasions.

The lightweight cotton fabric will regulate your temperature, and the minimalist yet flattering detailing, such as the puff sleeve, and embroidered neck detailing, sets this apart from jersey dresses and shirt dresses.

Phase Eight

Hattie Velvet Wrap Dress, £129, Phase Eight

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For those who aren't sure what to wear to a funeral, and are undecided about including a print or textured fabric, this velvet wrap dress is a good style to follow.

Anthropologie 

Somerset black maxi dress, £148, Anthropologie

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Anthropologie's Somerset Maxi Dress is a popular choice, with its simple yet elegant detailing.

This dress includes shirred detailing along the waist, as well as tiered hem detail down the skirt, short sleeves and a round neck, to elevate a plain black dress and still be in keeping with the dress code.

Sandro 

SANDRO ruffled pointelle-knit midi dress in black, £234, The Outnet

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Sandro has created an elegant, and more extravagant black dress perfect for a funeral, which boasts a Victorian-esque style, with the collar ruffle. 

Pair with high heels and tights for a funeral, a smart coat, and a hat, headband or veil should you choose, but our advice is to keep everything simple and leave the detailing to do the talking. 

Nobody's Child 

Nobody's Child blouson sleeve black midi dress, £95, M&S

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Nobody's Child has a collection of dresses to shop, including appropriate black dresses for a funeral. 

The blouson puff sleeve detail and bow tie detail add a little extra touch to a classic black midi dress, but not too much to distract from the sad event. 

Whistles 

Talula broderie trapeze black dress, £135.20, Whistles

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Looking for something in between a midi dress and shirt dress, we have found just the ticket. 

It features long sleeves, is midi-length, and features embroidered detail around the neck. 

Hobbs

Ophelia a-line black dress, £139, Hobbs

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While a long sleeved dress is often preferred at a funeral, this chic sleeveless design can be worn on its own or layered under a blazer, or over a blouse or shirt, which is why it is one design we recommend.  

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