Hat Etiquette for Women at Funerals

It's acceptable for a woman to wear a hat to a funeral.
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Dressing for a funeral takes careful thought and consideration. While there are no hard-and-fast rules about women wearing hats to a conventional funeral service, there are certain guidelines that will help you decide whether it's appropriate for you, as well as which style to choose.

1 Styles

There aren't any rules dictating what kind of hat is suitable for a customary funeral, but common sense points to a modest choice. An appropriate style is one that doesn't have outlandish decorations, such as huge flowers, feathers or pieces of jewelry; a subtle veil is appropriate. Skip a hat that's so large it'll prevent people sitting behind you from seeing the service. In short, choose a hat that isn't going to call attention to you or distract the other guests at the service. Choose a feminine hat, as well -- baseball hats and fedoras don't belong at a funeral.

2 Colors

Black, navy blue and neutrals such as brown or beige are proper funeral colors. Mourning etiquette directs you to pass on a brightly colored hat, such as yellow, red or lime green. Don't wear a patterned hat, either, like an animal or flower print. Hats with words are also out.

3 Religious Considerations

If you're attending a funeral that incorporates religious customs, follow those rules even if you don't practice that religion yourself. For example, Muslim funerals typically require a woman to cover her head with a cloth rather than a hat, while certain Jewish customs only require married women to wear a head covering, such as beret or other type of hat. If you're unsure of the deceased's religious customs, ask before the funeral so you can arrive properly and respectfully attired.

4 Additional Etiquette

If you're wearing a man's style hat, such as a baseball cap, the Emily Post etiquette website recommends that you remove it during the funeral. Special funeral hat etiquette can be dictated by the funeral planner. For example, if the deceased was a member of the Red Hat Society, the family might ask women to wear a red hat. If the deceased was an ardent baseball fan, guests might be asked to wear a favorite baseball cap, in which case keeping it on during the funeral is not only acceptable, it's desirable.

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.