Mourning Dress, around 1900
Foto: Christa Losta
© Wien Museum
Mourning dress symbolized humility and respect for the deceased. Outward signs of mourning were usually observed by women.
They wore deep mourning attire for at least a year after the death of a close relative. Aristoratic widows, like Queen Victoria, or Maria Theresia, in the eighteenth century, wore mourning for the rest of their lives.
Mourning attire had to be of a black and dull fabric. Crêpe was commonly associated with mourning. While men got away with a crêpe band on one sleeve, women were obliged to wear black dresses and hats with heavy crêpe veils. Even accessories such as fans and parasols, had to be black. In the second half of a year of mourning, a women could wear grey or mauve – the first artificially produced colour dye.