This is a repost from an original post in Aug. 2011
Having loss my son a few weeks back this topic has come up a fair amount in my mind. So, I thought I'd share some mourning customs and clothing as presented as social etiquette during the 19th century. Today's tidbit comes from Collier's cyclopedia of commercial and social information ©1882
The mourning for parents ranks next to that of widows; for children by then parents, and for parents by their children, these being ol course identical in degree. It lasts in either case twelve months—six months in crape trimmings, three in plain black, and three in half-mourning. It is, however better taste to continue the plain black to the end of the year and wear half-mourning for three months longer. Materials for first six months, either Paramatta, Barathea, or any of the black corded stuffs such as Janus cord, about thirty-eight inches wide; Henrietta cord about same price and width. Such dresses would be trimmed with two deep tucks of crape, either Albert or rainproof, would be made plainly the body trimmed with .rape, and sleeves with deep crape cuffs Col lars and cuffs, to be worn during the first mourning would be made of muslin or lawn, with three or foui tiny lucks m distinction to widows' with the wide, deep hem. Pocket hand kerchiefs would be bordered with black. Black hose, silk or Balbriggan, would be worn, and black kid gloves. For out. door wear either a dolman mantle would be wom or a paletdt, either of silk or Paramatta, but in either case trimmed with crape. Crape bonnets or hats , if lor young children, all crape for bonnets, hats, silk and crape; feathers (black; could be wom, and a jet ciasp or arrow in the bonnet, but no othei kind of jewelry is admissible but jet—that is, as long as crape is worn. Black furs, such as astrachan, may be worn, or very dark sealskin or black sealskin cloth, now so fashionable, but no light furs of any sort. Silk dresses can be worn, crape trimmed aftei the first three months if preferred, and if expense be no obiect the lawn-tucked collars and cuffs would be worn with them. At the end of the six months crape can be put aside, and plain black, such as cashmere, worn, trimmed with silk if liked, but not satin, for that is not a mourning material, and is therefore never worn by those who strictly attend to mourning etiquette. With plain black, black gloves and hose would of course be worn, and jet, no gold or silver jewelry for at least nine months after the com mencement of mourning , then, if the time expires in the twelve months, gray gloves might be worn, and gray ribbons, lace or plain linen collar and cuffs take the place of ihe lawn or muslin, and gray feathers might lighten the hat or bonnet or reversible black and gray strings.
Many persons think it is in better taste not to commence half-mourning until after the expiration of a year, extent in the case of young children, who are rarely kept in mourning beyond the twelve months.
A wife would wear just the same mourning for her husband'9 relations as for her own ; thus, if her husband's mother died, the would wear mourning as deep as if for her own mother.