From the seller:
A stunning 1880’s steel gray silk bustle dress. The fabric has a strong purple undertone. There is no discoloration and the small spots are from the camera flash. The high neck collar and waist are made of gray and silver brocade fabric. The bodice is attached at the back waist. The bodice is lined with cotton and has a front button closure. The front of the skirt has deep pleating and a band of center ruching. The back waist area is decorated with two large rosettes. The skirt is fully lined with cotton. The dress is in very good and sturdy condition. There is some mild underarm discoloration, mostly to the inside lining. There are no splits or holes in the fabric. Bust 34 Waist 24 Skirt length 40.
|1888 Fashion Plate via the Barrington House Collection|
Given the somber colors, I wouldn't be surprised if this was for half mourning. For more on mourning and the associated dress, please check out Tchvalier and this website on Victorian Mourning. Although there is some incorrect information regarding children in the first one, the second provides the correct information on children in mourning dress. Women had it the hardest, honestly. Half mourning was the second half of the mourning process - you could wear gray, white, and lilac/purple in addition to the black. Still somber but showing a bit of lightening in the mood.
The extant one above is from about 1888.