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June 1895

"Mourning and Its Usage"

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As far back as the history of gown goes, each nation has had its own expression of grief in color. The civilized world assumed black, and feels when gowned in the deep, gloomy shade that sadness, will gain from the happier world its right-- respect. Among the Eastern people where a dark complexion is the rule, white is mourning, while among other nations' toilettes of vivid scarlet, pale yellow and imperial purple are selected by those who mourn. It is undoubtedly true that with a great sorrow comes a distaste for a bright color, just as there is for gay music, and every human being has a right to express grief as he may desire.

With the English, mourning is shown by a great quantity of crape and other dead black materials, made with the greatest simplicity. The French woman considers that all black is correct, but she allows it to appear in frivolous feathers, in dangling jets, and never, except for the first month, does she cover her face with the heavy crape veil that does not permit a ray of sunshine to come through it.

Of late years English mourning, which is by the best dressmakers conceded to be in the best taste, is heavier than before, but is worn a shorter time. A widow will wear cape, Henietta cloth, bombazine and widow's cap for a year. After that time she will assume all black without crape, and discard even this at the end of another year, putting on whatever colors she may fancy. A daughter wears what is known as "crape mourning" for six months, all black for six more, and then if she wishes, put on colors. The same rule applies to a sister, while "complimentary mourning" which is simply all black assumed for a distant relative or a dear friend, is in order for three months.

Click on this article's sections to view:

 Article Introduction

 Some of the Materials

 Some of the Usages

 A Widow's Mourning

 A Few Last Words

 A Daughter's Mourning

Bibliographical Information:
Mallon, Isabel A. "Mourning and Its Usage",
The Ladies' Home Journal, Vol. XII, No. 5, June 1895, p. 19.

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