Mourning dress colors and much more in 1870

If you find a passage from an original source that contains answers to your questions, post it here for others to read as well.
SarahS
Inquiring Mind
Posts: 260
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:31 pm
Location: Lost Sierra

Mourning dress colors and much more in 1870

Postby SarahS » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:17 am

I've noticed some interest on this topic this may answer most of your questions.


From: The art of dressing well: a complete guide to economy, style and propriety of costume by S. Annie Frost, New York: Dick & Fitzgerald 1870.

MOURNING.
IT is difficult to establish rules for a dress upon which there is such a diversity of opinion as that worn by persons in mourning. It is worn by some a very-long time for even a distant relative, and by others but a few months for a parent or a child. There is
really no rule, either for the closeness of the dress or for the length of time it may be worn; but there are rules for the proper degrees of first, second, deep, or half mourning. For deep mourning, nothing but black is worn, unless the wearer is a widow, when the bonnet-cap is of white tarletan, in the form known as widow's cap. The collar and cuffs must be of plain black crape, and the only trimming allowable is black crape placed in folds upon the dress. Imperial serges, bombazine, delaine, barege, and merino are all suitable materials for the deepest mourning. The long shawl of black cashmere, or a square shawl of black barege, with a broad crape border, may be worn, if the street-suit is not made en suite, in which case a sacque of the same material as the dress, bound with crape, may be worn. The bonnet must be of plain black crape, and the veil of crape or barege. Black kid gloves, and in winter dark furs, may be worn in the deepest mourning. No ornaments, excepting those worn to fasten the collar, cuffs, or belt, are allowable, and those must be of jet. For travelling-dresses in mourning, a heavy English serge is most serviceable, and it is allowable to wear a large linen cape, and a brown or green barege veil for the deepest mourning in travelling, since no dress is so disfigured by the dust of travel as close black. Empress cloth and bombazine-finish alpacas are worn in deep mourning, but not the lustrous alpaca. A handsome delaine is also serviceable and proper material far deep black. The next class of mourning is to substitute white linen collar and cuffs for those of black crape, a white facing for the bonnet, and a veil of net or tulle for the crape one, or a short crape veil for a long one. The bonnet may be trimmed with crape or black ribbon, but only a very slight trimming is appropriate. Jewelry of jet alone. Lustrous alpacas may now be worn, trimmed with crape or folds of the same material. For the next stage of mourning, dresses are worn of black and white, of solid purple and solid gray, or of a combination of black, white and purple, or black, white and gray. A purple dress, however, is rather light mourning. A bonnet of black silk, trimmed with crape, of black straw, or Neapolitan, with ribbon and crape trimmings, are suitable, and a

few crape flowers are also worn with this stage of mourning. Quillings and ruches of silk are -worn with lustrous alpacas as trimmings. Half-mourning foulards are a most serviceable dress for light mourning, especially for morning-dresses. They can be handsomely made and trimmed for walking-suits, and if made for wrappers will wash well. For a still lighter mourning, light grays and white with black trimmings may be worn, and in the bonnet different shades of lilac, white, and just a trifle of black. Black lace bonnets with white or violet flowers, are very elegant in this light mourning. The various mourning silks are now suitable, and crape is discarded for a trimming, lighter material being used. Lace or embroidered collars and cuffs, lace shawls and jet jewelry, relieved by setting of gold, is in perfectly good taste. This light mourning is usually a most elegant and universally becoming dress. It admits of as great variety in style and trimming as colors, while the subdued tints can never outrage the most refined taste. It is necessary, however, to remember that the frequent contact of black and white is often injurious to the latter, and care is necessary to preserve the purity of the delicate laces or ribbons, which, to be in exquisite taste, must be of snowy appearance. It is especially to be recommended to buy only the best materials for mourning-dresses. Poor crapes or woolens in black, wear miserably, and. although the finest black goods are expensive, they are the only ones worth making or wearing. Rusty, faded mourning is as shabby a dress as can be worn, while there is always a simple elegance in good mourning. Ladies who are in mourning are often very much annoyed by finding their arms and shoulders dyed by the garments worn, and which often resists successfully the most lavish use of soap and water. A simple remedy is at every lady's command, but must be carefully marked and kept, as it is poisonous. Mix half an ounce of cream of tartar, and half an ounce of oxalic acid, grinding them together in a mortar. It is best to have them powdered and mixed by the druggist from whom they are purchased. Keep the mixture in a covered jar. Wet the stains on the skin with warm water, and while wet rub on a little of the mixture; wash off immediately with clear water, and then wash with soap and water,

when the stains will disappear. This mixture will remove ink from the skin and from white clothes, but must be kept from children, as it is a poison. A few rules taken from a work on good society, recently published in Paris, will conclude this chapter. " The deepest mourning is that worn by a widow for her husband; it is worn for two years, sometimes longer Widows' mourning, for the first year, consists of solid black woolen goods, collar and cuffs of folded, untrimmed crape, a simple crape bonnet, and a long, thick black crape veil. The second year, silk trimmed with crape, black lace collar and cuffs, and a shorter veil may be worn, and in the last six months gray violet and white are permitted. A widow should wear the hair perfectly plain, if she does not wear a cap, and should always wear a bonnet, never a hat. " The mourning for a father or mother is worn for one year. The first six months the proper dress is of solid black woolen goods, trimmed with crape, black crape bonnet with black crape facings and black strings, black crape veil, collar and cuffs of black crape. Three months black silk with crape trimming, white or black lace collar and cuffs, veil of tulle, and white bonnet facings, and the last three months in gray, purple, and violet. " Mourning worn for a child is the same as that worn for a parent. " Mourning for a grand-parent is worn for six months; three months black woolen goods, white collar and cuffs, short crape veil and bonnet of crape, trimmed with black silk or ribbon; six weeks in black silk trimmed with crape, lace collar and cuffs, short tulle veil; and six weeks in gray, purple] white and violet. " Mourning worn for a friend who leaves you an inheritance is the same as that worn for a grand-parent. "Mourning for a brother or sister is worn six months; two months in solid black trimmed with crape, white linen collar and cuffs, bonnet of black with white facing and black strings; two months in black silk, with white lace collar and cuffs; and two months in gray, purple, white and violet. " Mourning for an uncle or aunt is worn for three months, and is the second mourning named above--tulle, white linen and white bonnet-facings being worn at once. For a nephew or niece, the same is worn for the same length of time.

"The deepest mourning excludes kid gloves; they should be of cloth, silk, or thread, and no jewelry is permitted during the first month of close mourning. Embroidery, jet trimmings, puffs, plaits, in fact trimming of any kind is forbidden in deep mourning, but worn when it is lightened. "Mourning handkerchiefs should be of very sheer fine linen, with a border of black very wide for close mourning, narrower as the black is lightened. " Mourning silks should be perfectly lustreless, and the ribbons worn, without any gloss. " Ladies invited to funeral ceremonies should always wear a black dress, even if they are not in mourning, and it is bad taste to appear with a gay bonnet or shawl, as if for a festive occasion. " The mourning for children under twelve years of age, is white in summer, and gray in winter, with black trimmings, belt, sleeve-ribbons, and bonnet ribbons."
SarahS
Inquiring Mind
Posts: 260
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:31 pm
Location: Lost Sierra

Re: Mourning dress colors and much more in 1870

Postby SarahS » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:09 pm

From the same book in the bridesmaid section:

" A young lady who is wearing mourning may officiate as a bridesmaid in a dress of white trimmed with pale lavender, violet, or purple, worn over silk of the same shade, but black is never to be worn at a wedding."
SarahS
Inquiring Mind
Posts: 260
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:31 pm
Location: Lost Sierra

Re: Mourning dress colors and much more in 1870

Postby SarahS » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:19 pm

and at receptions after reiterating the no black rule:

"...persons in the deepest mourning are allowed to wear lavender, white or gray, on these occasions, even if they resume close black immediately afterwards."
valleyviolet
Information Junkie
Posts: 927
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:49 pm
Location: Madison, WI
Contact:

Re: Mourning dress colors and much more in 1870

Postby valleyviolet » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:50 pm

It's rather tragic that the death of a child "under twelve years of age" was so common that it calls for it's own, more seasonally practical, rules.
"The difference between clothing and fashion is a lack of peer pressure."
SarahS
Inquiring Mind
Posts: 260
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:31 pm
Location: Lost Sierra

Re: Mourning dress colors and much more in 1870

Postby SarahS » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:14 pm

Yes it's sad...still is in many parts of our benighted planet.

I found one more reference in the gentleman's dress section:
"The mourning-dress usually worn by a gentleman is a full suit of black broad cloth, a crape band round the hat, of depth governed by the closeness of the black worn, and jet studs and cuff buttons. A widower wears a band the width of his hat, and this is the deepest mourning worn. The fashion, prevalent we know, of wearing only the crape hat-band for mourning, and the rest of the dress of the usual light or dark colors has the advantages only of convenience and economy, but is making a farce of mourning; it would be quite as appropriate for a lady to wear a suit of colored clothes with a heavy crape veil thrown over her bonnet. If mourning is worn at all, the entire dress should be of black. A straw hat is allowable in summer, with the crape band, and in lighter mourning gloves of dark gray or of lavender are suitable ; studs of pearl set in jet, or jet bound with gold are also worn in lighter mourning dress, while the hat band is cut narrower as the rest of the dress is lightened."

Return to “Quotable Quotes”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest