What to Wear at a Wake

Many people worry about appropriate clothing for a wake as death is a sensitive issue. While choosing your wake outfit, the most important thing is to show respect to the deceased and the family by dressing in a way that conveys sympathy and mourning. You also have to be aware of the culture, tradition, and religion of the decedent’s family.

Let’s have a look at some appropriate attire you can select to maintain the decorum of a wake event.

What is a Wake

what to wear to a wake

A wake is generally an informal gathering hosted by the family of the deceased and is held before the funeral. A wake involves family and close friends. It’s a time to share memories about the person who died to console the family and share grief in a relaxed environment. It can be organized anywhere – at home or a restaurant or a church hall.

What to Wear at a Wake

A wake outfit should be similar to a formal work outfit. Your clothing should reflect the calm and conservative environment. If there are no specific instructions from the family, it is best to stick to muted colors and modest styles. You can wear all black, but that is not mandatory. Keep your accessories and makeup minimal.

Appropriate Wake Dressing Ideas for Men

  • Black or dark suits are always appropriate
  • A long sleeve white or blue shirt with a collar
  • Neutral color dress pants
what to wear to a wake for men


  • A black, blue or grey tie with a subtle pattern
  • A dark belt and a tucked-in shirt
  • Consider a blazer
  • Polished black, brown, or grey loafers, oxfords, or dress shoes
men wake outfit ideas


  • Dark dress socks
  • A basic wristwatch
  • Avoid jeans, t-shirts, shorts, etc


how to dress for a wake for men



Appropriate Wake Dressing Ideas for Women

  • Black dress or suit
  • A neutral color suit or dress in grey, brown, or navy is also acceptable
  • Skirt suit
wake outfit ideas for women


  • Choose subtle patterns such as lace or pinstripes
  • Cover your shoulders
  • Dress or skirt should be knee-length
  • Light color pumps with a medium heel or flats


what to wear to a wake woman


  • A classy handbag in a neutral color
  • A simple pearl necklace or diamond stud earrings always look sophisticated
  • Natural makeup to complete your look
wake dressing tips for women



Seasonal Wake Outfit Ideas

What to Wear at a Wake in Summer

Choose smooth and light fabric like cotton or linen for both men and women in summer. For men, choose lightweight khaki slacks paired with a collared button-up or polo shirt. Wear dress shoes or loafers in dark colors.

what to wear to a wake in summer


For women, a dress should be knee-length. You can wear a sleeveless top with a silk or satin shawl or cape as a cover-up. Chiffon tops with formal pants are also acceptable. Avoid anything too revealing.

Pencil Skirts With Tops

How to dressup in a wake ceremony?

Pencil skirts have always been favorable formal outfits. A gray-black-white combo is an ideal choice but not the only choice. You can try out other colors. Just keep in mind not to go for vibrant colors. Choose subtle or dark colors. Remember, the main concept behind a wake is to pay respectful tribute. Present yourself respectfully with a proper pencil skirt, paired with a modest top. Add a pair of small earrings to your look and wear flats, pumps, or wedge sandals.

Check Dress

What outfit is suitable for wake ceremony

Dresses like this also reflect subtlety. It is always safe to choose darker colors like black, navy blue, etc., for wake ceremonies. Such outfits will help you keep your bold attitude without violating the ethics of such occasions. Pair the outfit with flat pump shoes and a black bag.

What to Wear at a Wake in Winter

For Men, wear a nice wool coat and accessorize with gloves, scarf, and hat in winter. Waterproof boots are a good option if the event is organized at an outdoor venue; you should wear normal footwear for an indoor service.

what to wear to a wake in winter


For Women, choose a black or neutral color trench or wool coat and winter boots. You can accessorize with a beautiful scarf.


Formal attire for wake ceremony

Ideal winter formals are blazers. You can most definitely wear a blazer to a wake because they are formal wear and winter essentials. Choose a subtle shade for your blazer as well as the rest of the outfit. Wear white sneakers and carry a beige-brown bag. I haven’t really suggested any hairstyles for a wake, but a high ponytail is a highly recommended style. It looks sophisticated and cultured.

Cardigans With Jumpsuits And Long Dresses

how to dressup for attending a wake ceremony in winter

Cardigans are cupboard essentials. This makes it easy to put it on anytime you want. So, to pull off an effortless look, try a long cardigan over a plain jumpsuit, preferably a darker shade. This outfit makes you look modish even when you do not intend to look so. You can also pair up a cardigan with long dresses. Choose flats or pumps with these outfits. Avoid vibrant colors to blend in the event environment.


Funeral outfits for ladies

Here is another winter element. Ponchos come super handy in such situations because you don’t really feel like putting a lot of effort into your look when you are about to go to a wake. A poncho is effortlessly stylish and makes you look fashionable even when you don’t simply care. Also, they are easy to put on. If you are in a hurry, you can just wrap them around and get going. I’d suggest a black and white combo poncho because that is ideal for the given occasion. Wear flat pumps with ponchos because they blend pretty well.

What to Wear at a Wake in Spring

Bodycon Midi Dress

how to dress for a funeral

Midi dresses are appropriate outfits for wakes. However, make sure they have long enough sleeves and fall below the knees. Avoid light colors and go for dark-shaded outfits. Pair your dress up with flats and Cover your toes. You can add long stockings to your look. They make the outfit more sophisticated and modest.

Midi Dress

modern funeral attire female

A below-the-knee midi dress serves right in a wake ceremony. A royal blue or sea green dress with nude pumps will look sophisticated and well-put. Carry a light-colored purse and dedicate yourself to pay a respectful tribute to the departed person. 

What not to wear to a wake

Heels And Boots

formal funeral attire

Heels are deemed inappropriate for wake ceremonies. They are informal and are usually worn to accentuate a woman’s figure. Wake is not a place to look hot. This is where you try to look modest, sophisticated, yet stylish. Boots are yet again informal footwear. They are for casual events, and you should absolutely avoid wearing boots to a wake ceremony which is a formal event. You can expect a stern look from people if you decide to wear boots to a wake ceremony.

T-shirts And Jeans

What not to wear in funeral

T-shirts also fall under the informal outfit category. Wake is a completely formal event for paying tribute to the dead. You have to carry yourself with modesty and sophistication. So, avoid wearing casual outfits to wake up.

Heavy Accessories And Makeup

What should avoid for attending a formal funeral

Now, when I say avoid accessories, I do not mean that you completely omit them. Sometimes, a pair of small earrings or a thin bracelet works just fine with such ceremonies. Just remember not to overdo it with your jewelry. Long earrings, gorgeous necklaces, and thick bracelets are a big no. With your makeup, try to be subtle. Bright lipsticks are better to avoid. Instead, go with nude or natural shades. Tone it down with your eyes. Just a small wing and some mascara should be enough.

To summarize, wear clothes that reflect respect for the deceased.  A wake is a time to remember the one we have lost, not bring attention to ourselves. So the ultimate rule of dressing for this occasion is to remain modest. Hope this guide helps you solve your struggle with what could be an appropriate wake outfit.




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