Should We Be Wearing Black?

Many of the clothes seen on catwalks and in fashion magazines recently have been vibrantly coloured. We are repeatedly encouraged to dress in a way that cheers us up. Is this not disrespectful at a time when we are mourning the loss of so many lives to COVID-19? 

With this in mind, ShopCurious has put together a small selection of vintage and pre-loved items of clothing that are all black. They are not necessarily the kind of thing you might wear to a funeral, but they do reflect the mood of the moment. 

Our Black collection is inspired by the Victorian era, with its elaborate mourning rituals and overt memorialisation of death. Victorians embraced the concept of a better life in heaven: death was not a tragedy, but to die and not be properly mourned was a deep fear. Funerals and events attached to the burying, immortalising, and remembering of the dead took on enormous importance. 

It’s almost the opposite now, where we’re not even able to formally commemorate death; funerals are limited to all but a few members of close family, and dying words are often relayed via a mobile ‘phone or an electronic device. 

You are welcome to read my research on 19th century mourning dress, and also my article on mourning rituals and digital memorials in the era of Coronavirus. And do take a look at the Black collection too. Will you?

Photographs taken at Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire, exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York - October 21, 2014 to February 1, 2015.