Female attends virtual funeral on computer wearing black funeral outfit

What to Wear and What NOT to Wear to a Zoom Funeral

Matt Black Photo Atticus Contributor
Matt Black

A Zoom funeral is probably not the way anyone expected to be honored when they pass away, but with current restrictions in place, remote funerals are probably here to stay for at least the foreseeable future. Most of us have become familiar with video chat services such as Zoom by now, but many don’t know what to expect when a memorial service is held using video.

That makes for an embarrassing showing if you don’t do some research ahead of time, as many people have reported feeling “shocked” by the procession. To avoid this feeling, and have you feeling confident in your appearance, Atticus put together these Do’s and Don’ts for Zoom funerals.

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Zoom Funeral

After Clay Dippel, a funeral director at Bradshaw-Carter funeral home in Houston, helped livestream a funeral, he said, 

“I looked over at the phone and I could see [the family] watching [via Zoom]. They had taken the time to dress up in a coat and tie. It’s a little gesture. That’s what a funeral is — gestures.”

Gestures, big and small, show that you care, and since you can’t give in person condolences, your appearance on a video call matters. With that in mind, here’s some helpful tips on what to do, and what not to do.

DO dress up for a Zoom funeral,

For men and women, funerals mean business casual at a minimum. A suit and tie are preferred for men, and a collared shirt is pretty much required. Dresses are preferred for women, but so too are pant or skirt suits, and a collared shirt or blouse. And DON’T FORGET THE PANTS! Or whatever bottoms you’re going with. You may be the only person who knows, but It’s a gesture of respect.

DON’T dress down for a Zoom funeral,

Yes, you’re at home, and maybe there’s no one physically around you, but this is the time to brush up on looking your best. A t-shirt, athletic clothes or pajamas will just not do, and it’s a sign of disrespect. If you really want to be a rebel, skip brushing your teeth. It’s likely people on the Zoom call won’t be able to smell your breath.

DO wear black to a Zoom funeral,

Unless the Zoom funeral is for a Hindu or Buddhist person, who traditionally have mourners wear white during funerals, black is the preferred color for men and women. There is some wiggle room here, as other dark colors and light accent colors are perfectly acceptable. Check our color palette below for reference.

Color swatches of appropriate primary and accent colors for funeral wear
DON’T wear patterns to a Zoom funeral,

Patterns are almost worse than bright colors, and if sticking out like a sore thumb is something you desire, try skipping that notion for a Zoom funeral. If you just can’t take it though, go ahead and wear your funkiest pair of socks.

DO groom yourself for a Zoom funeral,

Gentlemen, we know that no-shave November has been year-round in 2020, and ladies, we know that you’ve been saving a ton of money on make-up, but this is the time to return to normal grooming practices. Ok, you don’t have to get a haircut or makeover, but a shower and a comb or brush will work wonders.

DON’T overdue accessories for a Zoom funeral,

For men and women, jewelry should be just that, an accessory — not a focal point. There are certainly exceptions, but if you’re on the fence, then skip the dangly earrings in favor of stones. 

DO dress up the children for a Zoom funeral,

Having kiddos sit quietly through a Zoom funeral might not be an option, but thank heavens for the mute button! If your children are planning on stopping in, try to dress them as much like yourselves as possible, but make sure they're comfortable. And don’t blame them if their behavior transitions from curiosity to grief or a sudden loss of attention for the event, as children mourn differently than adults.

DON’T have expectations for a Zoom funeral,

That’s right, skip any notion of what’s normal, as most people who’ve shared their Zoom funeral experience tend to all use the word, “weird.” Well, it may be difficult to avoid it, but dressing like you normally would for a funeral goes a long way in helping to make the ceremony feel a bit more normal for you, other friends, grieving loved ones and the surviving family.

DO special requests for a Zoom funeral,

Sometimes families request that people wear the favorite color of the deceased, or perhaps the color of a cause that loved one supported. Pay attention to these requests and honor them. If they tell you to wear fire engine red, then do it, and ignore every piece of above-mentioned advice about skipping "the brights."

Atticus Tip, Check the Obituary - Find the obituary on Facebook, elsewhere online or in the local paper. It may contain special requests such as what to wear.

Small gestures go a long way for the bereaved, and bravo to you for taking the time to figure out how to do that.

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