Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lady in Black

I have a thing for mourning clothes. And mourning jewelry. And mourning customs. It's all endlessly fascinating to me.

It's not often that I see mourning clothes when I'm looking at fashion. The info on this dress, which is at the Met, dates it to 1850. I have my doubts though. The sleeves say it's much later, probably 1855-57. It also closes up the front with hooks and eyes, which wasn't common in 1850.

I'm not dissing whoever dated it at the Met, just pointing out how a familiarity with silhouettes and sleeve styles is helpful when you're looking at mid-19th century women's clothing.

The most interesting thing about it is the pattern on the fabric. This is definitely NOT widow's mourning! Why? Because it reflects light.

This other picture here is a mourning brooch. I have no idea when it dates to and can't even make an educated guess because I just don't know enough. What made me pin it is the hair inside. Whoever owned this brooch, the hair inside is from the person she lost. Could have been her husband, a sibling or a child.

Yeah, I have a thing for Victorian hair art too...


  1. Rachel I am really enjoy looking at all the pictures you are posting of clothing and reading about them :D Just as a random comment, the hari on/in (?) the brooch looks to be from two people.

  2. I tweeted this post, Rachel. How pretty! I agree - the hair looks like it might be two person's.