|Belle Assemble morning gown, 1818|
The length of one's mourning period depended upon the relationship to the deceased, and customs could vary by social class.
In addition, there were two types of mourning, Full and Half. In Full mourning, one wore matte black, but after a suitable period (about halfway through the mourning period), one could transition to Half mourning and wear subdued colors like lavender.
The guidelines listed here are by no means comprehensive, but they give us an idea of what mourning was like during the Regency.
Lengths of Mourning Period:
Spouse: 1 year
One's child: 6 months – 1 year (the older the child, the longer the mourning period)
Parent or In-Law: 6 months–1 year
Grandparent: 6 months
Sibling: 6 months
Aunt or Uncle: 3 months
Cousin: 1 month
What did a woman wear and do during mourning?
|Fashion Plate 1810, Wikipedia commons|
If she mourns the death of her husband, she must not marry again for a year. This way, if it was discovered she was expecting, there would be no doubt of the paternity of the baby.
|Fashion Plate, Half Mourning,|
|1809, From the artofmourning.com|
|Mourning hats, 1805|
Many gentlemen wore black anyway, so they often wore clothes they already had in their closets, like black coats. They could also wear black neckcloths, an armband of black crepe, black ornamentation on their hats, and black gloves.
A widower was expected to take time to grieve, but business or parliamentary obligations necessitated that he did not hide away for long. He could remarry within the year.
In Half Mourning, a gentleman might resume his regular wardrobe but continue to wear a black armband.
Considering how many relations one had, and that the life expectancy was not what it is today, a person could possibly spend years wearing mourning attire!