I went to a funeral this weekend, and a friend was wearing olive canvas trousers and rugged brown Chelsea boots. It turns out he owns a suit - he just didn’t know to wear it. 
You will have to attend funerals. Be prepared to dress appropriately.

I went to a funeral this weekend, and a friend was wearing olive canvas trousers and rugged brown Chelsea boots. It turns out he owns a suit - he just didn’t know to wear it.

You will have to attend funerals. Be prepared to dress appropriately.

Because You Are An Adult, You Need A Sincere Suit
Not every man should wear a suit and tie every day. I myself wear a suit once a month at most. But every man in America should own a suit. I am defining “man” broadly here - let’s call it sixteen and up. One suit. For when it matters.
"What do you mean, ‘for when it matters?’"
Well, I get an email about three times a week that says, “I’ve got an unexpected (funeral/wedding/job interview/christening/wake/big meeting/court appearance) coming up next week. Where can I get a good suit on short notice for a good price?”
I usually (almost always) help these people. I suggest Brooks Brothers or maybe Suit Supply, two very good sources for suits, and I suggest they try to find a passable alterationist to work on short notice, and I suggest they not try to save money on this because it’s important and because as engineers say: “cheap, fast, good: pick two.”
But there’s something I really want to say to these people that I don’t. Something a little sour. Something I will say to you, man-who-has-not-yet-faced-sartorial-crisis.
YOU’RE A GROWN MAN. YOU SHOULD ALREADY OWN A SUIT.
This particular event may have been unexpected, but did you seriously not expect that something would come up in your life that would require grown-up clothes? Even professional surfers who live in beach huts in Bali have great-uncles who die back in Fresno. And great-aunts who’d feel bad if their grand-nephew showed up at the funeral in khakis and a polo shirt from his catholic high school’s uniform. 
You will need a suit, and it is better to buy it on your time. When you buy a suit on short notice, you get something ill-fitting, you pay too much, you don’t have time to make your own decisions about what you want, you can only go to one store, you might not even be able to get it altered… in other words: you’re fucked from the word “go.”
So get real. Take some time, and buy yourself a good suit. One good suit. What my mom calls a “sincere suit.” It should be solid gray and conservatively styled so you can wear it for a good five or ten years when this stuff comes up. A plain, mid-gray suit can be worn to any event which requires a suit, from Easter Dinner at grandma’s to your co-worker’s unexpected wake.
Get yourself a shirt and two ties, too - one very dark for funerals, one a little happier, though still sober, for not-sad events. Neither of these ties should have Bugs Bunny on them, by the way. And some dress shoes, and socks and a belt. Just one set of basic, serious-business clothes. Because you will need them. Not all the time, but sometime. Inevitably.
You don’t have to be a suit-and-tie guy. You don’t even have to be a wears-pants-instead-of-shorts guy. But if you’re a grown man, you should own a suit.

Because You Are An Adult, You Need A Sincere Suit

Not every man should wear a suit and tie every day. I myself wear a suit once a month at most. But every man in America should own a suit. I am defining “man” broadly here - let’s call it sixteen and up. One suit. For when it matters.

"What do you mean, ‘for when it matters?’"

Well, I get an email about three times a week that says, “I’ve got an unexpected (funeral/wedding/job interview/christening/wake/big meeting/court appearance) coming up next week. Where can I get a good suit on short notice for a good price?”

I usually (almost always) help these people. I suggest Brooks Brothers or maybe Suit Supply, two very good sources for suits, and I suggest they try to find a passable alterationist to work on short notice, and I suggest they not try to save money on this because it’s important and because as engineers say: “cheap, fast, good: pick two.

But there’s something I really want to say to these people that I don’t. Something a little sour. Something I will say to you, man-who-has-not-yet-faced-sartorial-crisis.

YOU’RE A GROWN MAN. YOU SHOULD ALREADY OWN A SUIT.

This particular event may have been unexpected, but did you seriously not expect that something would come up in your life that would require grown-up clothes? Even professional surfers who live in beach huts in Bali have great-uncles who die back in Fresno. And great-aunts who’d feel bad if their grand-nephew showed up at the funeral in khakis and a polo shirt from his catholic high school’s uniform.

You will need a suit, and it is better to buy it on your time. When you buy a suit on short notice, you get something ill-fitting, you pay too much, you don’t have time to make your own decisions about what you want, you can only go to one store, you might not even be able to get it altered… in other words: you’re fucked from the word “go.”

So get real. Take some time, and buy yourself a good suit. One good suit. What my mom calls a “sincere suit.” It should be solid gray and conservatively styled so you can wear it for a good five or ten years when this stuff comes up. A plain, mid-gray suit can be worn to any event which requires a suit, from Easter Dinner at grandma’s to your co-worker’s unexpected wake.

Get yourself a shirt and two ties, too - one very dark for funerals, one a little happier, though still sober, for not-sad events. Neither of these ties should have Bugs Bunny on them, by the way. And some dress shoes, and socks and a belt. Just one set of basic, serious-business clothes. Because you will need them. Not all the time, but sometime. Inevitably.

You don’t have to be a suit-and-tie guy. You don’t even have to be a wears-pants-instead-of-shorts guy. But if you’re a grown man, you should own a suit.

Q and Answer: What To Wear To A Funeral?
DTC asks: Funerals often get mentioned as a slam against the black suit.  However, what is appropriate wear for a funeral? Is only black  appropriately sombre and respectful? What if one does not own a black  suit?
Your goal in dressing for a funeral  should be to reflect the significance and gravity of the occaision.  Traditionally, this means dark suit, dark tie, white shirt, black shoes.
People  don’t generally die on our schedule. For this reason, it’s important to  have something on hand appropriate to wear on short notice. It  certainly doesn’t have to be a $3000 black suit. It really just has to  be something that conveys to the other people at the ceremony that you  understand how important it is, and that you are part of the group of  mourners.
Your general guidelines should be a  dark gray or black suit, a white shirt, black shoes and a dark, sober  tie. No stripes (those are for business) and no color in your  suiting. If you can’t make this minimum standard, and can’t buy  something, then do your best to look like you understand the uniform and  made an effort. There are certainly funerals where a suit would be out  of place, but they’re pretty uncommon, and if they come up, you’ll know.  If you own only one suit, it should be a dark gray one, which will be  appropriate for a funeral or for almost any other suit-requiring  occasion.Note that even at the funeral of  the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, pictured above, the men are  wearing this uniform. Our culture has few shared rituals, and this is  one of them. Wear the special outfit.
One  special note. Depending on the context, it may be reasonable for you to  wear a folded cotton or linen pocket handkerchief in your breast pocket. No matter what the context, it is  appropriate for you to carry a clean one (or even two) in your hip  pockets should anyone need to use it.

Q and Answer: What To Wear To A Funeral?

DTC asks: Funerals often get mentioned as a slam against the black suit. However, what is appropriate wear for a funeral? Is only black appropriately sombre and respectful? What if one does not own a black suit?

Your goal in dressing for a funeral should be to reflect the significance and gravity of the occaision. Traditionally, this means dark suit, dark tie, white shirt, black shoes.

People don’t generally die on our schedule. For this reason, it’s important to have something on hand appropriate to wear on short notice. It certainly doesn’t have to be a $3000 black suit. It really just has to be something that conveys to the other people at the ceremony that you understand how important it is, and that you are part of the group of mourners.

Your general guidelines should be a dark gray or black suit, a white shirt, black shoes and a dark, sober tie. No stripes (those are for business) and no color in your suiting. If you can’t make this minimum standard, and can’t buy something, then do your best to look like you understand the uniform and made an effort. There are certainly funerals where a suit would be out of place, but they’re pretty uncommon, and if they come up, you’ll know. If you own only one suit, it should be a dark gray one, which will be appropriate for a funeral or for almost any other suit-requiring occasion.

Note that even at the funeral of the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, pictured above, the men are wearing this uniform. Our culture has few shared rituals, and this is one of them. Wear the special outfit.

One special note. Depending on the context, it may be reasonable for you to wear a folded cotton or linen pocket handkerchief in your breast pocket. No matter what the context, it is appropriate for you to carry a clean one (or even two) in your hip pockets should anyone need to use it.