Costumers often need information about etiquette and social conventions for the era they are researching. I’m happy to have found this article from March, 1910. I’ve broken it up into segments for legibility. One of the interesting things it mentions is the difference between mourning customs in England and the United States. This magazine, Delineator, was published in both countries and aimed at a middle class or upper middle class reader in the United States, with regular reports on French couture.
The conventions of mourning are different depending on relationship to the deceased. Notice that these three women probably represent three generations; complete mourning dress for a younger girl was shown on the next page.
“The deepest mourning is that worn by a widow for her husband. A widow should wear deep mourning for a year or eighteen months….”
This woman appears to be wearing the widow’s “Marie Stuart bonnet of black crepe with a ruching of white crepe near the face.”
[Presumably your ladies’ maid would be responsible for making new organdy collars and cuffs every day!]
“One can wear pearls and diamonds, … but no gold, silver, or colored jewels…. Black furs…. Sable has always been accepted as the equivalent of black.” [Well, that must have been a relief….]
In America, black “bands on the sleeves are only worn by servants or people too poor to afford proper mourning.”
It’s sometimes not clear whether the word “for” refers to the deceased or to the wearer of mourning. “For a young child may mean “worn by a young child” but the context suggests that a mother is not expected to mourn as long for a young child as for a grown child. [My own great-grandmother had twelve children, but only three survived her.]
All white, especially for [i.e., on] young girls, is considered full mourning…. A girl of 12 or 14 might wear black for a parent or sibling, but it wasn’t obligatory.
“Black and white mourning is only half mourning; in fact, it is worn so much nowadays by smartly gowned women that it hardly suggests mourning at all.”
“For a brother or sister full mourning is worn for a year…. If mourning is worn at all for a grandparent, it is worn for six months; for an aunt or uncle, three months [unless that relative was acting in loco parentis….]
“Mourning means a withdrawal from society, and no formal entertaining or visiting is done throughout its duration.”
“I have said nothing about mourning [to be worn by] children, as there is a very strong feeling against it in this country…. With men, too, mourning is never emphasized as it is for women.”
So, when the husband dies, the wife mourns for 18 months. When the wife dies, the husband wears black for a year, and a black hatband. “Many American men do not wear mourning at all….” [Of course, the widower is expected to “go into society” looking for a replacement after six months or so….]