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Can You Wear A Hat To A Funeral? [Must Knows]

Alex Marcombe
Last updated

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When it comes to attending a funeral, there are many questions about appropriate attire. One common question that arises is whether it is acceptable to wear a hat. The type of hat you wear will depend on the specific customs and traditions of the funeral you are attending.

In general, you can wear a hat to a funeral, but it’s important to follow certain guidelines. In this article, we’ll explore the etiquette around wearing hats to funerals in more detail.

What Type of Hat Is Acceptable for a Funeral?

can you wear a hat in a funeral home

In most Western cultures, a subdued and formal dark hat is considered appropriate for a funeral. Fedoras, bowlers, and other styles of dress hats fall under this category. The style of the hat will vary depending on personal preference and the dress code of the event.

To be safe, choose a hat that is understated and conservative in style and color. Hats that are too flashy or adorned with large logos or designs may not be acceptable. Remember, the purpose of attending a funeral is to show respect for the deceased and their family, so it’s important to choose a hat that is tasteful for the occasion.

What Type of Hat Should You Not Wear at a Funeral?

It is best not to wear anything too casual or informal to a funeral. To be safe, avoid the following options:

  • Baseball caps
  • Cowboy hats
  • Beanies
  • Sun hats or visors
  • Bucket hats
  • Trucker hats
  • Hats with slogans or logos
  • Beach or straw hats
  • Bright, patterned or flashy colored hats 

When in doubt, consult the family or the funeral director for advice on appropriate attire. Exceptions may be made where guests may wear a specific type of hat in tribute to the deceased.

The Rules for Wearing a Hat at a Funeral

When it comes to etiquette on wearing hats to funerals, the rules are less strict than they were in the past. Here are some modern norms for wearing hats to funerals:

  • Hats are generally acceptable at funerals, as long as they are appropriate and respectful.
  • Make sure that the hat worn appears clean and presentable (don’t use the cap you garden with!).
  • When entering a funeral home or place of worship, it is customary to remove your hat as a sign of respect for the deceased and their family.
  • After the funeral service, you can put your hat back on when leaving the funeral home or when socializing with other guests.
  • If you’re unsure about whether a hat is appropriate for a particular funeral or cultural tradition, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and leave your hat at home.
  • Keep in mind that different cultures and religions may have customs regarding hats and other funeral attire, so it’s important to do your research beforehand and follow those guidelines accordingly.

Finally, the most important thing is to dress respectfully for the deceased and their loved ones, avoiding anything that could be considered inappropriate.

Can a Woman Wear a Hat To a Funeral?

Yes, women can wear hats to funerals. The hat should be formal and conservative, avoiding anything too flashy or bright. Good options include fascinators, small headpieces, or formal wide-brimmed hats.

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Can a Man Wear a Hat To a Funeral?

Yes, men can wear hats to funerals. A formal hat such as a fedora or a dress hat is appropriate for this occasion. However, baseball caps, beanies, or any casual hats should be avoided.

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Can I Wear A Hat to Outdoor Funerals?

While wearing a hat to an outdoor funeral is generally acceptable, it is important to consider the dress code and the family’s preferences. You can leave your hat on until the ceremony begins, but once it starts, take it off and avoid blocking others’ views. Put it back on after the funeral, but take it off when approaching the deceased. 

While it is not necessary to remove your hat when expressing condolences, doing so shows additional respect. The same rules apply to sunglasses. Follow the family’s lead regarding attire and remove your hat if others aren’t wearing one. Above all, prioritize honoring the deceased.

Considerations When Deciding What to Wear to a Funeral

When choosing what to wear to a funeral and if a hat is appropriate, there are several factors to consider:

  • Your relationship to the deceased: If you are a close family member or friend, it is typically expected that you dress in more formal clothing as a sign of respect and to honor their memory. If you are a more distant relative or acquaintance, dressing conservatively is still appropriate, but the dress code may not be as formal.
  • Dress for the Location: If the funeral is being held in a church or funeral home, it is customary to wear more formal attire. If the funeral is taking place outdoors or in a more casual setting, you may be able to dress in less formal attire and wear a hat to protect you from the elements. 
  • Time of day and formality of the service: While there are no firm rules here, a day service is typically less formal and offers more flexibility to dress in lighter colors. If the service is in the evening or more formal, it is generally accepted that you wear darker and more formal clothing.
  • Personal preferences: While dressing appropriately for a funeral is important, it is also important to feel confident in your clothing. You can wear something respectful and appropriate while still expressing your personal style and preferences.

Note that the invite to the funeral will often provide some guidance on dress code. Refer to this in the first instance when picking what to wear.

History of Wearing Hats to Funerals

can a woman wear a hat to a funeral

Wearing hats to funerals has been a common practice throughout history in many cultures and religions. Hats were seen as a way to show respect and mourning, and to convey a sense of formality and solemnity.

In Western culture, the tradition of wearing black clothing and a hat to funerals dates back to the 19th century. Back then, wearing a black hat or veil was a way to show respect for the deceased and their family. Black was also considered the appropriate color for mourning, and wearing a hat or veil in this color was a way to show that you were grieving.

Exceptions or Religion Considerations

While wearing hats to funerals is generally accepted across many cultures and religions, there are some exceptions and considerations to keep in mind.

In some Christian denominations, such as Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, it is customary for women to cover their heads in church, but hats may not be appropriate for all church events, including funerals. In Judaism, wearing a head covering, such as a kippah or yarmulke, is a sign of respect and humility, and it is customary for men to wear one during funeral services.

In some cultures, certain types of hats may have specific meanings or associations that are not appropriate for a funeral. For example, in some African American communities, wearing a fedora or a wide-brimmed hat may be seen as a sign of respect, but wearing a baseball cap or other casual headwear would not be appropriate.

In Vietnamese culture, hats and sunglasses are generally not worn during a funeral. However, the family of the deceased will adorn a white cloth headband to signify mourning and respect.

When attending a funeral, it is important to be aware of the specific customs of the deceased and their family. If you are unsure about what is appropriate, it is always best to ask the family or a religious leader for guidance. They’ll probably appreciate the fact that you were thoughtful enough to check in.

Frequently Asked Questions – Wearing Hats at Funerals

can you wear a baseball cap to a funeral

Can you wear a hat to a viewing?

In general, it is best to avoid wearing a hat to a viewing unless you are certain that it is acceptable to do so. It is important to be respectful and considerate of the family’s wishes and cultural or religious traditions.

Should I wear a hat to a Catholic funeral?

Traditionally, it is not considered appropriate to wear a hat to a Catholic funeral service. However, the decision ultimately lies with the family and their preferences.

Is it okay to wear a cowboy hat to a funeral?

Wearing a cowboy hat to a funeral may be seen as inappropriate or insensitive to the solemn occasion. It is best to choose more formal and traditional attire for a funeral.

Why is it disrespectful to wear a hat at a funeral?

Wearing a hat at a funeral is generally considered disrespectful as it is perceived as a breach of decorum and etiquette. Hats are often associated with casual or informal attire, and wearing one to a funeral can be interpreted as a sign of disrespect or lack of reverence for the deceased and their family.

Can you wear a baseball cap to a funeral?

Wearing a baseball cap to a funeral is generally inappropriate because it is considered a casual and informal accessory. It is best to avoid wearing a cap and instead opt for more formal attire.

Can you wear a beanie to a funeral?

In general, wearing a beanie to a funeral is considered inappropriate because it is too casual for such a solemn occasion. Funerals are typically formal events, and it is customary to dress in a respectful and conservative manner.

Photo of author
Alex is a freelance journalist and former mortuary attendant who cut his teeth in his family’s large funeral home business. In his spare time, Alex likes to dabble in photography and contributes many of the images used in Funeral Circle’s content himself.