Mourning ensemble


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Fabrics, trims, and accessories distinguished mourning clothing from purely fashionable black attire. The early stages of mourning dress, typically consisting of matte blacks and mourning crape, yielded to a broader range of black fabrics, including silks of some luster such as taffeta, poult de soie, and moiré. A dulled finish suitable for the sobriety of mourning could be achieved by using wool or cotton fibers or through weave structure and finishing techniques. The striated texture of a ribbed or crimped textile was less reflective than the unbroken—and therefore glossy—face of a satin. Although the watered surface of a moiré might seem overly lustrous or luxurious for mourning, it was a fabric commonly sold by mourning retailers, and ensembles similar to this moiré dress with matching shawl were advertised for lighter mourning, especially during the 1850s and 1860s.

Mourning ensemble, silk/wool, silk, American

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