Close-bodied gown or robe à l'anglaise of cotton with floral sprigs embroidered in wool, shown with an embroidered fichu or kerchief, England, 1780s, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M.59.25a-c.
A close-bodied gown, English nightgown, or robe à l'anglaise was a women's fashion of the 18th century. Like the earlier mantua, from which it evolved, the back of the gown featured pleats from the shoulder, stitched down to mould the gown closely to the body until the fullness was released into the skirt. Through the 1770s, the back pleats became narrower and closer to the center back, and by the 1780s these pleats had mostly disappeared and the skirt and bodice were cut separately. The gown was open in front, to reveal a matching or contrasting petticoat, and featured elbow-length sleeves, which were finished with separate frills called engageantes.