Mourning dress


Not on view

During the first half of the nineteenth century, the growing circulation of fashion magazines offering guidance on appropriate mourning styles increased demand for mourning attire, which became an indicator of middle-class status. Those unable to afford the purchase of a new mourning wardrobe could dye existing garments and accessories black, while others turned to a range of retailers. Shops specializing in mourning goods had existed since the eighteenth century, though by the mid-nineteenth century they operated on a greatly enhanced scale, aided by the mechanization of the textile industry, which permitted the mass-production of fabrics. From the 1840s, mourning warehouses—grand purveyors of mourning goods—were founded in many European and American cities, making such merchandise widely available. These establishments offered a variety of mourning fabrics and accessories, and many also offered the sewing of finished garments, emphasizing their ability to work at great speed.

Mourning dress, silk, American

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.