This finely woven straw hat features velvet ties, velvet trim, and a velvet bow. It was most likely worn during the laters phases of the mourning period. In Victorian society, it was customary to follow a strict etiquette for mourning royalty, political leaders and of course for relatives. This hat is a characteristic example of a key accessory that was required as part of the ritual. The production of mourning clothing was a lucrative business and items like this hat were commonly purchased.
The fashion industry had perfected the art of black synthetic dying and so almost any item of clothing or accessories from dresses to headwear or footwear could be purchased in black for mourning. For poorer families, this could be quite a financial burden as it could involve having to purchase a whole new wardrobe. The later stage of the custom, called "half-mourning", would require integrating the colors grey, white and purple into one's wardrobe, indicating the ending phase.