Funerals are solemn occasions, so it can be quite confusing and stressful to decide on the type of outfit to wear especially if it is during the summertime. If you are lucky enough to seldom attend funerals, it won’t be too obvious what clothing or footwear is appropriate. It is even more complicated when the funeral is outdoors and the sun is scorching, and you are not sure if your favorite pair of sandals are formal enough for the formal setting. Read on to find out if sandals can be worn to a funeral.
Can you wear sandals to a funeral? Although sandals are generally considered to be casual, some varieties can be worn to a funeral.
A funeral is considered to be a formal occasion where flashy sandals or casual options such as flip flops and slides are considered to be inappropriate. On the other hand, some types of sandal designs such as slingbacks and dress sandals are considered to be more acceptable in such settings. Other than the design, the color is another important consideration when choosing sandals to wear to a funeral. Black has always been considered to be the standard color for funerals, so you will never look out of place in black sandals. Deep blues and dark grays are also highly appropriate, and lighter grays, brown shades, and other earthy colors are also suitable for most funeral services.
Modesty is crucial at any formal occasion, but even more so at funerals. Therefore, you want your footwear to be appropriate, even if you plan on wearing sandals.
Determine the type of service you are attending
Before picking out a pair of sandals, you need to establish the kind of service you will be attending. The appropriateness of your footwear will depend on the type of funeral service being held.
- A traditional funeral – Traditional funeral services usually occur when the feelings of loss are still raw and fresh, so the mourning is at its most intense. Therefore, it is an understandably somber affair. While it is common to wear formal footwear to such occasions, it is not a requirement, so you may be able to get away with sandals designs that are more formal and provide a bit more coverage such as slingbacks, peep toes, and dress sandals.
- A celebration of life – In some cases, the family and friends of the deceased may opt to hold a celebration of life event instead of a funeral. Such occasions are usually more informal and the dressing more casual, but you should still be respectful. Wedges, mules, and tasteful flat sandals may be acceptable, but you will want to avoid flip flops and flashier options such as gladiator sandals.
- Respect the wishes of the family – Sometimes an invitation to a funeral may come with specific instructions on what the guests are expected to wear, and this may include the footwear. In such cases, you want to strictly adhere to these specifications, whether you are requested to dress formally or informally.
The culture and religion aspect
If the funeral is a religious or cultural service, there may be specific rules regarding footwear. Therefore, you want to countercheck and see if there are any specifications about attire during mourning. For example, some cultures or religions may require that you wear flat shoes instead of heels during the service. In such a case, you will want to leave your stiletto sandals at home in favor of a pair of flat sandals.
Considerations for wearing sandals to a funeral
1. The design
There are a variety of sandal designs to choose from, with some being more casual than others. Here are some options you might want to consider to wear to a funeral service:
- Wedges – Wedge sandals are one of the trendiest footwear during the summer. They are distinguished by their joint heel and sole that is usually made of the same material such as cork, wood, or Perspex. They are very versatile, which makes them a great option for a celebration of life type of service. Opt to pair them with a flowy dress that is of the appropriate length.
- Dress sandals – Dress sandals are the go-to footwear for fancy summer events. For a funeral, you want to look for a more toned-down design that does not have any embellishments that will make them stand out too much. Consider pairing them with wide-legged pants or a chic modest dress.
- Slingback sandals – As you might guess from the name, slingbacks feature a strap that loops behind the ankle or heel. You can pair them with a variety of outfits, including A-line skirts, dresses, and pantsuits. Since they are often considered to be more on the conservative side, you can wear them to a more formal funeral service.
- Mules – Mule sandals come in the form of flats and heels. Flats are casual and may be more suited for a celebration of life service, while their heeled counterparts are more versatile and can be worn to a formal funeral service as well as a more casual service. Both types of mules can be paired with dresses or trousers.
- Peep-toe sandals – These are sandals that expose the toes when worn. They are one of the more traditional designs of sandals, which makes them ideal for formal funeral services. Try pairing them with an A-line dress for an elegant yet muted look.
- Flat sandals – These sandals are perhaps the most casual on this list, so you are better off wearing them to a casual funeral service. That being said, you will want to avoid bare sandals that expose most of your foot and go for a pair that provides more coverage instead.
2. The color
Color plays a major role in funeral footwear, so it is important to take the color of the sandals you plan to wear into consideration.
- Black – Black is usually the most common color worn to funerals as it symbolizes formality and perfectly captures the somber nature of the service. If there are no specifications on the color to wear but you are not too sure of the color to go with, you can always go with black.
- Deep blues and dark greys – Deep blues and dark greys have become widely accepted as funeral colors, so you can opt to wear sandals in shades of these colors.
- Nude tones and earthy colors – Nude colored sandals will go with almost any outfit and is also a great color to consider as it is muted. Earth colors such as brown, beige, and tan are also great options and generally acceptable for funeral services.
- Color consideration based on culture – Some cultures have different color options when it comes to funeral services. For instance, white is considered to be appropriate for a traditional Hindu funeral as it symbolizes purity and respect for the departed. On the other hand, black is considered to be disrespectful and impolite to the deceased. Another example is the Chinese culture where wearing red to a funeral service is considered to be highly offensive as the color is considered to symbolize happiness and celebration. In such cases, you want to make inquiries on what is appropriate to wear to avoid unintentionally offending the family of the deceased and embarrassing yourself.
3. The comfort
Comfort is always an important consideration regardless of the event. When attending funerals, you want to go for sandals that are not too showy, but this does not mean that you should compromise on comfort as well. You will most likely spend a lot of time standing and walking during a funeral, so you want to wear comfortable sandals.
The heel height of a sandal is an important factor when it comes to comfort. High heels are great for elevating a modest outfit, but a funeral is the last place you want to stand out. Additionally, standing and walking in heels for extended periods can be very hard on your feet. By the end of the day, you will likely experience foot pain and even back pain. High heels can also cause you to lose your balance very easily and even fall and hurt yourself. To avoid the possibility of such occurrences, opt to go for low heel sandals that are not only more comfortable but also generally more acceptable.
The fit of your sandals is another key determinant in how comfortable you will be. Sandals, just like with any other type of footwear, should fit you without too tight or to loose. If you choose to wear sandals that are too big and loose on your feet, they will keep slipping off and you will have trouble maintaining balance. If they are too small, they could exacerbate bunions and corns or cause blisters to develop.
Whether you are attending a formal funeral service or a more casual celebration of life event, you always want to be as modest as possible. If you opt to wear sandals, always go for simple designs that are not too showy. The color of the sandal you pick should also blend in rather than stand out. For your sake, opt to wear sandals that will keep your feet comfortable even if you spend most of the time on your feet. Taking the aforementioned aspects into consideration, sandals are a viable option of footwear for a funeral, especially during the summer.