The History of Wearing Black for Mourning

Mourning and black go a long way back. From the nienteenth century till today, black color symbolises sadness and grief. At one point in BTIME, women had wardrobes full of black attires for mourning. Today,the expression is not limited to only black dresses. Black in any form , be it a simple ribbon tied to the wrists is used to express your grief and mourn for the loss of a loved one.This article analyzes how black has travelled over time on events of grief.


  • 1

    Victorian Era:

    Nowhere else has black dominated as strongly as in Europe. Queen Victoria, Britain's Monarch in Nienteenth century kept wearing black for forty years, ending on her death, mourning for her husband, Prince Albert. This move by the Queen was seen as an example to be followed by both the elite and lower classes alike.

  • 2

    Early 20th Century:

    After Victorian Ear till early 20th century, traditionally, there were two stages of mourning, both with their own norms. The first stage was known as full mourning and lasted for an year. During this time women were expected to wear black, from the hat to the shoes. Then began the half mourning period where they could wear ordinary clothes but in subdued shades. Slowly, the shades grew brighter and laces and trims could be added as time passed after the death.

  • 3

    Mourning During World Wars:

    TheĀ  heavy mourning period was cut short by the world wars when the number of deaths increased exponentially and nearly everyone was mourning. The duration of the mourning period reduced, however, Black remained as the mourning symbol with refined textures. Many new shades in black itself were introduced, making 'Black' a prominent color for mourning events.

  • 4

    In theĀ 21st Century:

    The changing speed of events and their effects had impact on our griefs, besides any other area. Now people find it hard to stop and grieve for a loved one, despite wanting too. But 'Black' still remains the mourning color, though limited to just funerals.

    People have started wearing other subtle colors too and the emphasis today is on attendiing the funeral rather then on the color of the dress. Two centuries after Queen Victoria, Prince Charles wore a navy blue suit to Diana's funeral because Navy Blue was Diana's favourite color. This shows how the ways of expressing your love and grief have changed.

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