Mourning fashion came into being following the death of Great Britain's Prince Albert in 1861. His wife, Queen Victoria, went into a deep mourning and depression and wore her widow's weeds until her death in 1901.
Members of the lower classes, looking to emulate this proper and royal etiquette, adopted the queen's mourning traditions and hence Victorian mourning fashion came into being.
Given the extended duration of which Victorian mourning clothing was worn, it is becoming increasingly rare to find such exquisite wearable pieces such as this. This two-piece set is fabulous example of beauty and high-quality craftsmanship that went into a widow's weeds.
This ensemble is fashioned in a wonderfully patterned black silk featuring stripes, polka dots and acorn clusters. In Victorian times, acorns were thought to symbolize fertility, immortality and strength.
The bustle bodice is fully and firmly boned like a corset and lined in a brown glazed cotton. It fastens in the front with 17 hook and eyes. Seams are hand and machine sewn. It features a high collar and gigot, or leg-'o-mutton, sleeves. It also has a draped yoke piece that attaches in the front and is finished with a soft black velvet bow. A matching velvet bow is affixed to the nape of the neck on the high collar.
The skirt is unlined in the front. The back bustle portion of the skirt is lined in the same brown glazed cotton. It is hemmed with thick black velvet on the inside seam. Skirt fastens with hook and eyes and is meant to be worn with a bustle (not included).
** Please note: our model is wearing a corset and is 5'6" tall, which is considered quite tall for the Victorian era. Because of her height, the bodice and skirt lengths are shorter than they would be on a wearer of appropriate height. **
** All measurements are taken on a flat garment and doubled **
Condition: Very Good
Despite the age, this piece is in remarkable, sturdy and wearable shape. With a few minor repairs, this dress will last another 100 years. The silk is starting to shatter on the edge of the collar and sleeve cuffs. (See photos) Both edges could be trimmed in a silk binding to repair the issue. There are no other rips, shreds or shatters to the silk. There is underarm staining on the lining, but it is not visible on the outside silk fabric. Priced accordingly.