- For the general concept of dress, see Clothing. For other uses, see Dress (disambiguation). "Dresses" redirects here. For the song by Betty Blowtorch, see Betty Blowtorch#Discography.
A dress (also known as a frock or a gown) is a garment consisting of a skirt with an attached bodice (or a matching bodice giving the effect of a one-piece garment). In Western culture, dresses are usually considered to be items of women's and girls' apparel.
Dresses increased dramatically to the hoopskirt and crinoline-supported styles of the 1860s; then fullness was draped and drawn to the back. Dresses had a "day" bodice with a high neckline and long sleeves, and an "evening" bodice with a low neckline (decollete) and very short sleeves.
Throughout this period, the length of fashionable dresses varied only slightly, between ankle-length and floor-sweeping.
- See also History of Western fashion: 1795–1820, 1820s, 1830s, 1840s, 1850s, 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, 1890s
- Victorian fashion, Artistic Dress movement, Victorian dress reform.
In Europe and the Americas, dresses are worn by females of all ages as an alternative to a separate skirt and blouse or trousers.
Dresses however can be cooler and less confining than many trouser styles, and are therefore commonly worn in warmer weather.
In most varieties of formal dress codes in Western cultures, a dress of an appropriate style is mandatory for women. They are also very popular for special occasions such as proms or weddings. For such occasions they remain the de facto standard attire for most women.
Dresses can be worn for a number of sports - most notably tennis, netball and figure skating. Their traditional status as formal wear has carried over into ballroom dancing, where they are the garment worn by most female participants.
Types of dress
- Ball gown, a very formal dress, typically elaborate and floor-length
- Bouffant gown, a fancy gown for formal occasions
- Cocktail dress, a semi-formal dress
- Débutante dress, a white dress worn by young women at debutante cotillions
- Evening gown, a long dress worn for evening events
- Gymslip, a sleeveless tunic most commonly worn as part of a girl's school uniform
- House dress, an informal dress worn at home for doing housework in
- Jumper dress, a dress worn over a blouse
- Little black dress, an evening dress or cocktail dress, often quite short, which has enjoyed popularity as a wardrobe staple since the 1920s
- Maxi dress, a long dress, often ankle length, corresponding to the maxi skirt
- Midi dress, a dress of mid-calf length
- Minidress, a short dress with a high hemline equivalent to that found on a mini skirt
- Nightdress, worn as nightwear, which may come in a variety of styles
- Sari, a style of clothing worn by women in the Indian Subcontinent
- Shift dress, a short, sleeveless dress in a simple style with little detailing
- Shirtdress, a dress borrowing details from the style of a men's shirt, often including collar or front buttons
- Strapless dress, a dress with no visible means of support (usually held up by interior corsetry or boning, or by elasticated fabric.)
- Sundress, intended for wearing in warmer weather. It will often be made of a lightweight fabric and will frequently be sleeveless.
- Tea gown, a semiformal gown intended for wear during afternoon tea
- Wedding dress, worn exclusively by the bride at her wedding. In Western cultures, white is the most popular colour.
- Wrap dress, a dress having a front closure which wraps around the body, forming a v-shaped neckline
- Davis, Michael (2007). Art of dress designing (1st ed.). Delhi: Global Media. ISBN 81-904575-7-8.
- Pundir, Nirupama (2007). Fashion technology : today and tomorrow. New Delhi: Mittal Publications. ISBN 81-8324-203-0.
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Brockmamn, Helen L.: The Theory of Fashion Design, Wiley, 1965.
- Picken, Mary Brooks: The Fashion Dictionary, Funk and Wagnalls, 1957. (1973 edition ISBN 0-308-10052-2)
- Tozer, Jane, and Sarah Levitt: Fabric of Society: A Century of People and Their Clothes 1770–1870, Laura Ashley Ltd., 1983; ISBN 0-9508913-0-4
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- Stylopedia – an online dictionary of fashion details
- ApparelSeach glossary of textile and apparel terms