In the Victorian and Edwardian era, wearing mourning was a social obligation but it also helped to protect the feelings of the mourners: Every stranger would instantly recognize the mourning dress, know of their loss and wouldn’t hurt their feelings with unnecessary jaunty remarks.
The colors of Victorian mourning are black, white, gray, purple, lavender and scarlet. Black is the color most associated with mourning wear. However, not all extant black dresses are mourning dresses: Continue reading Victorian Mourning→
Edwardian women were advised not to neglect the importance of dress: ‘Suit your dresses to the occasions upon which they are to be used’ (Household Companion, 1909). ‘A trailing gown of velvet and lace is not adapted for shopping or travelling, any more than a tweed skirt and flannel blouse is appropriate to an afternoon reception.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)
To be well dressed, isn’t costly, as a well fitted gown of cheap material always looks good: ‘the aim of all who aspire to be well dressed should be simplicity and taste’. (Household Companion, 1909)
A well-dressed woman will ‘rather follow than lead the prevailing fashion, and in no event will permit the costume of the day to lead her into violation of good taste and common sense. The golden rule in dress is to avoid extremes.’ (Household Companion, 1909)
In the 1850s, three stages of mourning were worn: Deep mourning, second mourning and half mourning – each stage had its own requirements. Women had to dress accordingly in order not to become a social outcast. Mourning was less strict for working men, whereas young men usually wore mourning as long as women.
Three stages of mourning were worn in the 1860s: Close or deep mourning for the nearest relations. Second mourning for distant relatives or by those who have previously worn deep mourning. Slight or half-mourning was the third mourning stage before mourners returned to wear ordinary dress. Each stage had its own requirements. It was a social obligation to follow the mourning etiquette in order not to become a social outcast. Continue reading Mourning In The 1860s→
Here I’m in my 1840s mourning outfit. The dress is black wool fabric with separate bodice and skirt. The bodice is boned and lined with cotton fabric. Skirt and bodice are closed with hooks and eyes. The entire dress is hand sewn. Continue reading 1840s Mourning Dress→
‘It shows the best taste to make mourning as plain and as little fanciful as possible’. (The workwoman’s guide, 1840)
Mourning customs were very strict in the 1840s, especially in England. However, wearing mourning wasn’t a ‘punishment’, mourning clothes helped to protect the feelings of the person in mourning. Every stranger they met would recognize their mourning clothes and wouldn’t hurt the feelings of the mourner with unnecessary jaunty remarks.
1840s mourners knew four stages of mourning: They began with a dull black dress, gradually adding more luster and color, and finally wearing a lavender, purple or scarlet dress in the last mourning stage before they returned to wear colors.