Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire
Is there such a thing as funeral attire?
New York had an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art made up of Funeral Attire.
The exhibit showcased 30 mourning looks from the 19th & 20th centuries.
It will reflect on the emotional expression of the grieving process through one dress.
So how has funeral style changed? Hasn't it always been black clothing. It has for one thing become less formal.
And what did the very fasionable Scarlett O'Hara wear at her time of mourning?
Can you imagine a mourning dress so
popular they made it into a doll.
Only someone so vain as Scarlett would be seen dancing during her
time of mourning.
Historical Mourning imagery accompanying the exhibit reveals dark colored full length corseted garments and such fabrics as
silk crepe, mousseline and corded silks, at times, long trains that would need to be lifted as you walk. Each look was accessorized
with dramatic veils, wide brimmed adorned hats, umbrellas and scarves.
Because of the solemnity associated with death, there is still a sense of dressing for the
occasion which generally means wearing something more formal than usual to a funeral.
Some people want a traditional funeral, where you usually wear dark, more somber colors where others want a celebration. If you
been asked to wear your favorite Hawaiian shirt or to dress in the deceased favorite color, your clothing should not be a
distraction from the service no matter, what kind of service it is.
As for the dress code of the widow, it continues to evolve beyond the introduction of color as societal pressures of expressing
grief through fashion lesson. Wearing long black gowns almost seems easier than defining new rules in the absence of Victorian
This is the dress Mary Todd Lincoln wore to President Abraham Lincoln's funeral.
Even as veils and dark colors were meant to shield tear stained faces, social
ettiquette and code became a stronger force in showing the loss of loved ones.
In modern times black is a more popular choice in daily wear and a range of dark colors has become more
acceptable to wear to funerals, making mourning almost impossible to spot through one's dress.
Our take on this! While veils, umbrellas and larger silhouette aren't exactly called for these days, dress is the main
extension of our emotions when honoring a loved one and its ok to be subtle in color or formality as long as you reflect the
seriousness of the occasion. Trust your instincts but don't be flashy.