Civil War Era Chit Chat - May 1862 Peterson's Magazine
Fashions for Mourning
For Deep Mourning, bombazine is considered the most suitable material, though delaine is very much worn, as less expensive. For summer wear there are innumerable materials of the barege family; but these must all be made over black. Black alpaca is a most suitable article for mourning, except for the very deepest kind of black, when its glossiness is objectionable. But nothing can supply its place as a traveling-dress, or a "knock-about" dress, where there is likely to be much dust, as it throws it off so easily. For a lighter kind of mourning, plain black silks can be worn with propriety; but they should be of the kind styled "dead black," that is, without any gloss. Then come the different kinds of purples, grays, lilacs, and mixtures of black and white. Or black may be trimmed with purple, white, or gray; or these colors may have trimmings of black, according to the relationship of the person, or the length of time the mourning has been worn. For deep mourning, such as for a parent, husband, or any other near relative, the trimmings should be of crape only, and but little of even that. It is totally inadmissible to have much trimming in "deep black." The plainer the dress is, the more suitable. Black collars and sleeves are indispensable in such mourning, as well as black crape bonnet and veil. But when the relative is not so near, or when the deeper mourning has been laid aside, thin, plain white collars and sleeves are permitted, more trimming can be worn on the dress, the skirt may be ruffled or otherwise trimmed, and purple or white flowers worn in the face of the bonnet. With this lighter kind of mourning, a silk coat or sacque may be worn, or even a black shawl with a colored border, provided the colors are not too gay. As the season advances, white straw bonnets may be worn, trimmed with black, or even with white or purple, with purple pansies or violets in the face; but if the mourning is deeper, the bonnet should be of black straw, trimmed with crape or ribbon.