Formal court mourning dress of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, made by Fanni Scheiner, dated after 1877. Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien / Wagenburg und Monturdepot. Photos: (Top): Joshua Greene; (Bottom): Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien. Bodice of black satin trimmed with Chantilly lace and jet bead embroidery, black satin skirt with bustle and train, black lace bonnet and black velvet veil-mask edged with black lace.
Mourning Dress and accessories. During the Victorian era through the early 20th century, mourning ritual and dress were observed for six months to a year. The etiquette of how to dress, in terms of clothing and jewelry was observed by American and British alike,
Dress 1820 Mourning - This mourning dress incorporates the puffed sleeves and ornate hem details that defined 1820s fashions. Standards for family mourning were modeled after court conventions. Upon a royal death in England, orders were issued detailing the duration of each phase of mourning and appropriate materials. Silk satins, taffetas, and velvet, considered too glossy and sumptuous for the first stage, were permitted later.
Black mourning dress reached its peak during the reign of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) of the United Kingdom in the second half of the 19th century. Queen Victoria wore mourning from the death of her husband, Prince Albert (1819-1861), until her own death. With these standards in place, it was considered a social requisite to don black from anywhere between three months to two and a half years while grieving for a loved one or monarch. The stringent social custom existed for all classes.