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Mourning Fashion in HBO's "The Gilded Age"

Let’s talk about mourning dress in episode one of the Gilded Age.

The story begins with Marian Brook coping with the death of her father, which was reflected by her wearing all black to mourn him. Once she’s with her aunts in New York, her aunt Agnes pretty much demanded that Marian immediately start going to social engagements and stop wearing black. However, in an 1881 issue of Harper’s Bazaar it says quote “In this country, no person in mourning for a parent … is expected to be seen at … dinner, party, or any other place of public amusement for three months … to go … before six months have elapsed, is considered heartless and disrespectful.” So this also showed us what little respect Agnes had for her late brother. The next time we see Marian she’s wearing this light purple and black dress, which is in line with half-mourning. And here are two extant dresses from the same period.


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