2018 Events!

-To Ask for Freedom (Suffrage 1918)

Saturday July 14th (2pm-4pm)


-Living History Hayrides at Jefferson Barracks (Suffrage 1918)

Saturday September 8 & Sunday September 9 (10am – 4pm)


-Fort Belle Fontaine Days (Suffrage 1918)

Friday September 21 & Saturday September 22 (10am-2pm)


-Consolations of Memory at Bellefontaine Cemetery (Mourning 1866)

Saturday October 6 (10am-4pm)


-Girl Scouts Troop Roundup (Suffrage 1918)

Saturday October 13 (10am-4pm)


-Historic Home Tour in Alton (Mourning Any Era)

Sunday October 14 (12pm-5pm)


-Campbell House Twilight Tours (Mourning Era TBD but likely 1860’s)

Friday October 26 (6pm-8pm)


-Veterans Day Parade Downtown St Louis (Suffrage 1918)

Saturday November 10 (12pm)

On our radar for 2019!

-Decoration Day Living History Event at Bellefontaine Cemetery (Suffrage 1919) June 2019

- Consolations of Memory at Bellefontaine Cemetery (Mourning 1860’s) October 5, 2019

Dress Like a Suffragist

Dress Like a Suffragist! 1918-1920

Things were changing for ladies in 1918 in more ways than one. Fashion was becoming more modern and less cumbersome as women worked to support the war. These looks can be easy to reproduce by adjusting modern clothing. In this guide you’ll find basic clothing guidelines, fashion illustrations, photographs and a list of local shops and resources to help you get started.

Hats! - Ladies wore a variety of hat styles in this era. Simple round brimmed straw hats were popular as well as tricorn shaped hats and close fitting styles very close to the cloches of the 1920’s. Hats were trimmed simply with ribbon, feathers or a veil. Wool felt, velvet or even fur hats were worn during cold weather.


Blouses, Skirts and Dresses - Monochromatic blouse and skirt pairings were common. Shirtwaists were loose fitting button down tops with either long or 3/4 sleeves. Shawl and sailor collars were very popular. Embroidered silk yoke blouses with simple rounded collars were also coming into style.

Skirts were ankle length or slightly higher with a natural waist and a wide waistband. They featured large pockets and big buttons. Solid colors, vertical stripes and checkered patterns were common. Dresses were styled with a natural or slightly lowered undefined waistline with necklines similar to the blouse styles of the era.


Support Garments - Corsets were underbust styles that smoothed the waist and hips leaving a less defined waist than earlier versions. By this time we are getting very close to what would be considered more of a girdle style that would remain in use until the 1960s. In this regard please wear whatever makes you most comfortable.

Shoes - When walking outdoors a lady would wear lace up or buttoned walking boots. For our purposes a pair of plain comfortable flats will do. Shorter skirts means stocking are a must.


Coats and Outerwear - Coats were cocoon or kimono shaped: wide through the shoulders and narrower at the hem in wool or velvet. Fur coats and stoles were popular. A suit style jacket with a matching skirt was often worn for traveling. Belted cardigans with shawl collars were also popular.


Jewelry and Accessories - Ladies wore very little jewelry due to funds being put toward the war effort. Simple brooches and costume jewelry became fashionable.

Gloves were worn by ladies while outdoors although I see a bit of a break in this tradition in the photographs. It may have been a personal preference by this time. If you would like to wear gloves kidskin, silk or cotton would be appropriate.


Handbags - Ladies carried small silk, velvet or leather handbags in a variety of styles pictured below. Tote bags were used to carry leaflets.


Late Edwardian Hairstyle Tutorials


Vintage Clothing Shops are a great place to look for hats, gloves and handbags

Retro 101 - 2303 Cherokee St - St Louis, MO 63118

Ace of Hearts Vintage Clothing - 2001 Cherokee St - St Louis, MO 63118

Parsimonia Vintage Store - 3194 Grand Ave - St Louis, MO 63118 https://www.shopparsimonia.com/

Vintage Haberdashery - 3181 Morganford - St Louis, MO 63116 http://www.vintagehab.com/


Thrift Stores carry a ton of skirts, sweaters, blouses and other items.

Goodwill University City - 7531 Olive Blvd - St. Louis, MO 63130

Goodwill St. Louis-  10570 Baptist Church Rd, St. Louis, MO 63128

Savers Thrift Store - 9618 Watson Rd - Crestwood, MO 63126

St Vincent DePaul Thrift Store - 3924 Lemay Ferry Rd, St. Louis, MO 63125


Online Resources

Scroop Patterns (https://www.scrooppatterns.com/collections/all) carries a few era appropriate patterns

Wearing History (http://wearinghistory.clothing/sewing-patterns/) also has quite a few Edwardian era clothing patterns

Hint of History (http://www.hintofhistory.com/) has a few dress patterns in a wide size range 6-24

There are a ton of great vintage and reproduction items for sale on etsy and ebay.

GlennasVintageShop on etsy has a great selection of hats and accessories.

Frontier Millinery makes amazing reproduction hats

If you have a resource suggestion to add to this list please reach out to me - kat@mourningsociety.com.

Dressing in Mourning

During times of health and happiness, it is perhaps rather trying to be asked to turn our thoughts into doleful channels; but sooner or later in our lives the sad time comes, for “Who breathes must suffer, and who thinks must mourn," and we have perforce to turn our minds the inevitable and share the common lot of man." Colliers – New York 1882


When to wear Mourning

  • Mourning customs and clothing varied by country, era and socio-economic status. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries people began to follow these rules more loosely until they fell out of favor following World War I. This guide is an attempt to create uniformity in the interpretation by the Mourning Society of St Louis – if you have questions about the appropriateness of clothing you would like to wear for an event please just reach out to us!
  • At Mourning Society funeral reenactments those playing the part of a family member of the deceased should be in full mourning. Those outside of the family should be in their best church attire. Ladies in either of the first two stages of mourning for someone else were not expected to be out or attending funerals.
  • Some events give us an opportunity to show the different stages of Mourning – If a specific stage is required for your position it will be included in the event information.

First Stage or Deep Mourning for Ladies

  • During the first stage of mourning dresses were simple and made from a dull black fabric (usually a coarse silk like bombazine) and covered entirely in black silk crepe. Dresses in this stage would not include beading, lace or any type of ornamentation (even if they are black). If you see black period clothing with these details it was clothing meant for wear outside of mourning or simply ‘fashion black’. In mourning the only trim that was considered acceptable was ‘black crepe placed in folds upon the dress’
  • Mourning collars and cuffs should be black lawn, crepe or other dull black fabric.
  • Solid black gloves kidskin gloves were worn.
  • Head wear included a simple black silk bonnet with a long black silk crepe veil. After three months the long veil could be thrown back and a short veil may be worn over the face. Crepe was a solid black semitransparent fabric. A mourning veil would not be made of lace or have lace trim. Widows would wear a white widow’s cap under their bonnet.
  • The only ornaments that could be worn should be used to fasten the collar, cuffs or belt. They should be jet or other dull black material.
  • Shawls or mantles for cooler weather should be solid black as well – trimmed in crepe if possible – cashmere or wool.
  • If in summer a parasol should be required, it should be of black silk deeply trimmed with crape, almost covered with it, but no lace or fringe for the first year. 
  • Underclothes would include black hose and a completely black or black trimmed petticoat but would otherwise follow the same rules as usual dress for the era (Please see the guide for the year you are portraying for full underpinning details)

Second Stage or Second Mourning for Ladies

  • In second stage mourning a lady could reduce the amount of crepe to trim rather than completely covering the dress and use finer fabrics with some sheen like silk taffeta. A small amount of lace or ribbon trim was acceptable as well.
  • A white collar and cuffs could be worn during this stage.
  • Solid black gloves kidskin gloves were worn.
  • Head wear included the same a simple black silk bonnet with a short black crepe veil that may be worn over the face.
  • Shawls or mantles for cooler weather should be solid black as well – trimmed in crepe if possible – cashmere or wool.
  • If in summer a parasol should be required, it should be of black silk- lace or fringe trim are allowable
  • Jewelry in second mourning included brooches or pins to fasten your collar and cuffs, belt buckles and rings. Materials opened up a bit to include gold, hair-work jewelry, diamonds as well as the basic black jet – Ladies still refrained from earrings or necklaces.
  • Underclothes would include black hose and a completely black or black trimmed petticoat but would otherwise follow the same rules as usual dress for the era (Please see the guide for the year you are portraying for full underpinning details)

Third Stage or Half Mourning for Ladies

  • Dresses in this stage introduced some color into the ladies wardrobe. Gray, pale lavender, violet, mauve and brown were all considered appropriate. A small amount of lace or ribbon trim was acceptable. Third stages dresses often incorporated some black (for example: either a black dress with violet trim or a violet dress with black trim)
  • Collars and cuffs could be white or black
  • Gloves could be black, grey or brown.
  • Bonnets would be black silk or one of the appropriate colors listed above. A veil is not required although a lace veil can be worn for shade if desired. The bonnet could include flowers or other light trim.
  • All other accessories – fans, parasols, shawls etc. should be black, grey or white. Lace is allowed in moderation.
  • Jewelry in second mourning included brooches or pins to fasten your collar and cuffs, belt buckles and rings.  Gold, hair-work jewelry, diamonds as well as the basic black jet could be worn – Ladies still refrained from earrings or necklaces.
  • Underclothes follow the same rules as usual dress for the era (Please see the guide for the year you are portraying for full underpinning details)

First Stage or Deep Mourning for Gentleman

  • Appropriate attire included a black suit, a white linen shirt, and a dull black necktie.
  • Gentleman in mourning would wear a black top hat with a “weed” or band of black silk crepe. The “weed” or the band of black crepe worn around their hat was the most significant sign that a gentleman was in mourning. Often the width of the band would signify the relationship that he had with the deceased.
  • Men would often wear a black armband during first stage mourning.
  • Gloves should be black
  • Cuff links of gold, jet or black enamel were customary. Hair-work jewelry could also be worn.

Second Stage or Second Mourning for Gentleman

  • This stage incorporated grey suits and gloves into the gentleman’s wardrobe
  • Some men gave off mourning all together after three months but would continue to wear crepe on their hat or a black armband until their expected mourning period was over.

Mourning Attire for Children

  • Children from wealthy families might have dull black mourning clothing. It was also considered appropriate to dress children in simple white clothing with black details.
  • Girls and young boys would wear white dresses with a black belt and black ribbons at the shoulders.
  • Boys old enough to wear trousers would wear a black arm band.

You can find examples of the stages of mourning listed in this guide by checking out our Pinterest Board: Examples of Appropriate Mourning Clothing

Sources: Godey's Magazine, Volume 49, 1854 - Cassell's Household Guide, 1869 - The Art of Dressing Well: A Complete Guide to Economy, Style and Propriety, 1870 - Collier's Cyclopedia of Social and Commercial Information, 1882 - Good Manners, 1888 - Men's Wear, Semi-monthly, Volume 29, 1910

Please do not print or reproduce this material for public distribution. This is an internal training document. Katherine Kozemczak 2017

Ladies' Clothing 1860-1867

1860’s Dress

  • Mourning Society 1860’s costume events require what is referred to as a day dress or walking costume. This would be appropriate attire for attending a funeral, making a call or visiting the cemetery. Occasionally there will be positions that would allow simpler clothing worn by household servants or a nurse.  Click here for dress examples 
  • You are not required to be dressed in mourning clothing for every event. See the Mourning Society – Stages of Mourning Guide for more information.
  • Ideally your dress should be made from materials that were available during the era: wool, linen, cotton and silk. Cotton dresses should be a print rather than a solid color.
  • Collars and Cuffs - These usually basted onto the dress and removed for laundering. 1860’s collars are narrow fabric or crocheted.


  • What you wear under your dress can make a huge difference in the appearance and authenticity of your period clothing. Corsets were worn to smooth out and shape the body into the figure that was popular during the mid-nineteenth century and cotton undergarments, which were much easier to launder, provided an absorbent barrier between the body and the heavily tailored garments of that period. For examples of these garments click here 
  • Chemise (required) - This is a loose-fitting, shirt like undergarment similar to a short night dress.
  • Corset (required) - 1860’s versions of this famous garment created an hourglass like figure. You should purchase your corset first and have your dress tailored to fit while wearing it.
  • Under Hoop Petticoat - A full underskirt for warmth and modesty. Knitted or quilted petticoats were worn during the winter.
  • Cage Crinoline or Hoop Skirt (required) - A skirt with a wire framework. Can be round or oval-shaped
  • Over Hoop Petticoats - (required) a petticoat layer over the hoop keeps the framework of the cage from showing through your dress and gives it a draped appearance.
  • Drawers - Most drawers for women in the mid-1800s were split leggings and about knee length. Each leg was finished separately and joined together at the waistband only, leaving the crotch seam open, but crafted so there was a bit of an overlap. They usually had a drawstring at the waist and tied or buttoned at the center back, but sometimes in the front.
  • Stockings (required) - Period appropriate stockings are made from cotton or silk and would require garters, but any modern stocking will suffice.

Outerwear and Other Accessories

  • Shoes - While walking outdoors a lady would usually have worn square toed boots, but for our purposes you may wear black or brown flats. Depending on your position you may be standing and walking quite a bit so please make sure to wear something comfortable.
  • Era appropriate hairnets – If you would like to wear a hair net please be aware that 19th century hairnets were worn over styled hair; they were made with very fine silk thread and matched the color of the ladies hair. The colorful crocheted snoods that you sometimes see are actually from the 1940’s.
  • Bonnets - are usually made of straw or silk and trimmed with silk flowers and ribbon. Ladies did wear hats during this era but they would be worn for summer outings and other outdoor activities. They are not appropriate as funeral attire.
  • Shawls - should be either woven fabric, crocheted or simple knit designs out of non-synthetic fibers.
  • Parasols - can be used during warm sunny days. In the 1860’s they were made of solid fabric and trimmed with lace or fringe.
  • Fans - can be used to keep you cool during warm weather. Try to stick with paper or silk fans without a lot of feathers or embellishment for everyday use.
  • Bags - Reticules (basically a fancy drawstring purse) or a small covered basket can be used to carry your car keys, phone, and other personal belongings.
  • Gloves – Should be worn outdoors or in church. Gloves should be black, grey or brown although they are sometimes seen in other colors like green or lavender. White gloves are usually worn to balls and other special occasions. Thread-weight mesh gloves or mitts can be worn by older ladies.
  • For examples of these items click here 

Gentleman's Clothing 1860-1880

Victorian Gentleman's Attire

"Any man may be in good spirits and good temper when he's well dressed."
"Dignity, and even holiness too, sometimes, are more questions of coat and waistcoat then some people imagine."
Charles Dickens"
'The dress of a gentleman should be such as not to excite any special observation, unless it be for neatness and propriety.  The utmost care should be exercised to avoid even the appearance of desiring to attract attention by the peculiar formation of any article of attire, or by the display of an immoderate quantity of jewelry, both being a positive evidence of vulgarity.  His dress should be studiously neat leaving no other impression than that of a well dressed gentleman."
Martine's Handbook of Etiquette, 1866

"The prosperous emerging middle class strove for respectability and homogeneity and was heavily influenced by the solemn Protestant movement of the time."  We will limit our discussion of attire to the middle period from about 1860 to 1880.  As the evening outfit became more understated and uniform, the need to execute it well became critical.  Superb materials, expert tailoring and the latest styling were not the only traits that could distinguish the attire of a true Victorian gentleman.

The Victorian middle period from about 1860 to 1880, was also known as the beginning of the American Gilded Age.  This period was notable for codifying the standards.   As we look at each of the elements of Victorian men's attire, understand that these are general guidelines for gentlemen of the period.


Generally speaking, the frock coat of the 1860's, was black in color and single breasted.  One would occasionally see other conservative colors such as dark green or brown as a frock suit. The collar remained of black velvet material through the remainder of the Victorian period.  The length of the tails and the height of the waist varied according to the whims of fashion.  With regard to the dress tails, there would be slightly varying styles throughout the 1860's and 1870's. Consult period prints and a reputable seamstress for the look you wish to obtain.


By the 1860's the waistcoat was generally cloth or silk, and limited to black or a complimentary color to the coat and/or trousers. In formal dress the only two variables were the waistcoat and the necktie. The waistcoat is to be black or white with the tie to match. White is the acceptable for the more formal occasion.  More formal occasions called for the waistcoat to be single breasted.   Period images and a reputable seamstress will be good sources for accuracy.


The trousers will either match the black material of the frock coat or can be a muted stripe or plaid in a complimentary color. The trousers and waistcoat often will be of matching material, the coat and waistcoat can match or all three pieces can be of matching color or pattern.

Shirt & Collar

A white shirt with or without pleats is acceptable, depending on the occasion.  Ruffled shirts were falling out fashion by the 1860's. 

Neck Wear

The necktie or cravat were standard wear in the 1860's, a self-tie or pre-tied bowtie in black or subdued colors are acceptable.  Black or white only are acceptable for evening or formal wear.  The style of the tie varies with small changes during the 1860's & 1870"s.  Refer to period prints for your preference.


By the 1860's, the congress boot has become the foot wear in style.  The dress boot, shoe or pumps (often in patent leather), were common for balls or formal wear.  Evening stockings are of black silk.  Black stockings of varying material are acceptable for day and business wear.


The top hat (aka topper) is generally acceptable as the fashioned head wear of the 1860's.  the beaver topper was beginning to be over shadowed by the silk top hat.  This occurred because of the depletion of the American beaver and the significantly lower prince of the silk hat.


"To touch the pure glove of a lady with uncovered fingers is impertinent!" (1857) 

Day wear is grey or other dark color.  White doeskin (or cotton) are mandatory for evening or formal wear.  If wearing leather gloves, it helps to carry a small amount of talcum powder on your person to facilitate the putting on ofthe gloves.


A topcoat or cape is appropriate outerwear.


Be wary of wearing too much jewelry.  A watch with a chain (watch guard) embellished with a trinket or memento is almost expected.  A handkerchief is also an acceptable item to carry on ones' person.

edited from: The Black Tie Guide, 2nd Edition, John Avery

For more inspiration check out our Pinterest Board 1860-1880 Gentleman's Clothing