< Fashion < Works

Dress (Bodice & Skirt)


(, - present)

Black has long been associated with mourning. This was first apparent in women’s fashions of the post-Civil War era as widows and female relatives grieved their losses. Decorum, a book on social etiquette, recommended two and a half years for deep mourning (all black clothing and accessories) and that no invitations, other than close family or church, be accepted by the mourner. Jet, or fossilized coal, was made into decorative beads and trims that were the only ornamentation allowed for a widow’s garb in proper Victorian society.

Silk “mourning” crepe was often used in a widow’s attire to trim hat veils. Antique silk crepe is delicate and was known to disintegrate when soaked in a common rain storm. Beautiful lace veils were also worn to cover the face of a woman in mourning.


Collection of the Mint Museum FIC2008.15.525A-B

Currently on view at Mint Museum RANDOLPH