Sitting Shiva is gathered by the grieving family when a loved one or someone of the Jewish religion passes away. During this time, family and close friends come together to provide emotional support to the grieving and pay their respects to the deceased.

Attending a Shiva gathering requires modest and conservative attire. Think of apparel that covers the knees and shoulders, such as a collared shirt and trousers for men and a dress, skirt, and blouse for women. While black is not a traditional mourning Jewish color, both men and women usually select dark, muted colors for the event.

It is a good idea to check around or ask family members whether there are any customs or particular clothes that should be observed, including covering one's head or taking off shoes. Whether you are well-acquainted with Jewish customs or attending to support a grieving friend, this guide aims to provide insights into crafting an outfit that shows compassion and thoughtfulness during times of loss.



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Classic Black Dress

 Woman posing with a black dress and holding flowers

A classic black dress is a timeless and appropriate choice for attending a shiva. Black is a traditional color of mourning in many cultures, symbolizing respect and solemnity.

Choose a knee-length or longer black dress to ensure modesty and reticence. Enhance the look with discreet accessories and jewelry. You can add a pop of color by adding a foulard in a contrasting color.

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Neutral Colored Suit

Woman posing with a black suit 

A neutral-colored suit is a sophisticated and formal choice for attending a shiva, combining respect with a timeless aesthetic. You might choose muted colors like grey, blue, or beige, or you can go with a traditional black suit.

Wear the suit with a crisp white shirt underneath and style it with an elegant watch and comfortable shoes.


Jewish man wearing a black suit

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Elegant Blouse With A Skirt

 Woman torso in a white blouse and black bottoms

Wear an elegant blouse in neutral hues and pair it with an A-line midi skirt or trousers. Choose a blouse with an eye-catching yet respectful design like ribbon closure in the front, balloon sleeves, or modest stone applications. This choice will add a personal and sophisticated touch to your look.

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This ensemble provides a respectful yet stylish option for those seeking modest and elegant attire for a Shiva gathering.



Pencil Skirt

 Woman posing with midi-length pencil skirt and dark blouse

Another classic choice suitable for attending a Shiva is a pencil skirt paired with a button-up. Make sure the pencil skirt you choose fits properly—it shouldn't be overly tight.

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Tuck the button-up into the skirt and add a thin belt to define your waist. Complete the look with closed-toe heels or flats in neutral tones.



Long Cardigan

 Woman torso wearing skinny jeans and long cardigan over a black top

Pair a long cardigan with high-waisted skinny jeans to create a modern and comfortable ensemble to attend a shiva gathering. Choose jeans with a classic wash and no rips.

For the cardigan, go for earthy tones to exude coziness and calmness. The longer length of the cardigan adds a touch of refinement and warmth and allows you to cinch it with a belt to form a stunning hourglass shape. Buy ethically made and eco-friendly cardigans here.

Complete the outfit with ankle boots or closed-toe flats to maintain a polished appearance.



Maxi dress

woman posing with a floral maxi dress 

Craft a gentle and understated look wearing a maxi dress to attend a shiva. Choose a dress with soft floral prints against a neutral-colored background, ensuring a respectful yet slightly uplifting appearance.

Pair the dress with closed-toe shoes, such as ballet flats or low heels, and keep accessories minimal, perhaps opting for a delicate bracelet or stud earrings.




 Black woman wearing a turtleneck and a foulard around her neck

Choose a well-fitting black turtleneck and pair it with slacks for a sophisticated look or jeans for a more smart-casual approach. The high-neck sweater adds an element of modesty and warmth, creating an understated yet refined look.

Tie a colorful foulard around your neck to introduce a subtle pop of color and individuality. This detail will revive the ensemble and give light and color to the outfit.

Complete the look with closed-toe shoes, such as loafers or ankle boots, for a cohesive and considerate outfit.



White Shirt With A Long Skirt

Woman dining in a white blouse and a black long skirt 

Opting for a classic white shirt paired with a long skirt creates a sophisticated and respectful outfit for a shiva. The timeless combination of white exudes simplicity and reverence.

For the long skirt, consider muted tones like navy, grey, or black to maintain a somber atmosphere. A monochromatic color scheme can also be elegant, such as pairing the white shirt with a matching or complementary colored skirt. Buy beautiful and stylish long skirts from these sustainable fashion brands.

Wear simple accessories like a delicate watch, stud earrings, or a thin pendant necklace. Complete the look with loafers or espadrilles to ensure comfort during your visit.



Tailored Jumpsuit

 Woman in a bar wearing a monochrome blue jumpsuit

Craft a modern and comfortable look with a tailored monochrome jumpsuit. Choose a jumpsuit with a well-fitted silhouette, such as a straight or wide leg, and ensure it covers the arms and neckline appropriately. Avoid over-revealing designs such as loose-fitting or strapless jumpsuits to maintain a respectful and modest appearance.

The monochrome design will ensure a sleek and refined look and give you a clean canvas to accessorize with a clutch or a small handbag in a complementary color.

Wear this ensemble with pumps or block-heeled shoes to emphasize the sleek figure.



Beautiful Tunic

 Woman posing with a white tunic with blue embroidery and skinny jeans

Craft a cute feminine look by wearing a beautiful tunic over skinny jeans. The flowy nature of the tunic contrasts nicely with the slim fit of the jeans, creating a flattering and elegant silhouette. Opt for tunics with modest designs, like high necklines or three-quarter sleeves, to maintain a respectful appearance. Consider subtle patterns or embroidery for added interest without being overly flashy.



V-Neck Vest

 Close photo of a woman wearing a vest over a white shirt

Craft an outfit suitable for a Shiva gathering with a V-neck vest over a collared blouse or shirt. Choose a collared blouse or shirt in a muted tone, such as white, light blue, or gray, and pair it with a V-neck vest in a coordinating color.

This combination is highly versatile and makes it easy to pair with various kinds of bottoms. Match it with chinos, jeans, or skirts, depending on your preference and style.

This ensemble makes a beautiful mix of formality and respect, offering thoughtful and considerate attire for expressing condolences during a Shiva gathering. Check out our selection of the best affordable and sustainable sweater vests made under high social and environmental standards.



White Kimono Robe

 Close photo of a woman wearing a white kimono robe

Design a shiva ensemble that combines modesty and cultural sensitivity with a white kimono robe. To wear it in a manner reminiscent of the kittel, consider fastening it with a simple tie or a discreet closure at the waist. Choose a white kimono robe with a simple and elegant design, avoiding excessive embellishments.

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Pair the white kimono robe with tailored trousers or a long skirt to maintain a polished appearance. Stick to neutral tones for the bottoms, such as black or navy. Closed-toe shoes, like loafers or flats, add a touch of refinement while adhering to the solemn atmosphere of the occasion.



Oversized Blazer

Woman with sunglasses wearing a blazer 

Craft a modest contemporary outfit with an oversized blazer and tailored wide-leg pants. Opt for an oversized blazer in earth tones such as rust, marigold, deep navy, burnt sienna brown, terracotta, and turmeric. Earth-tone clothes look good in almost any color, so you can really spice up your wardrobe without breaking out of fashion norms.

Wear the blazer open with a basic top underneath, or clinch it with a belt to ensure a more put-together look. Here is our selection of the best sustainable brands that make recycled blazers for women and men.



Shawl As A Sign Of Respect

Close photo of two women wearing a shawl

Shawls are frequently worn in Jewish tradition people frequently wear shawls. One example is the Tallit, worn by men. Shawls have religious and cultural importance in a range of contexts.

During a Shiva, both men and women may cover their shoulders as a sign of modesty and respect for the solemn occasion. While not a strict requirement, it is a considerate gesture that aligns with the cultural norms and practices observed during the mourning period.

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Use A Foulard To Cover Your Head

Woman posing with a blue suit and a foulard covering her head

It is appropriate to cover your head when attending a Shiva sitting, even if you are not Jewish. In Jewish tradition, covering one's head is a sign of respect and humility, especially in religious and mourning contexts. While Jewish men traditionally wear a skullcap called a kippah or yarmulke, women often wear scarves, hats, or other head coverings.

Covering your head, regardless of your religious affiliation, is a gesture of cultural sensitivity and respect for the mourning environment. It shows your awareness and willingness to adhere to the customs observed during a Shiva gathering.

Opt for a satin soulard with a beautiful design and colors that align with the rest of your clothing.

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About the Author: Iana Jekova

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