A tea gown or tea-gown is a woman's at-home dress for informal entertaining which became popular around the mid 19th century characterized by unstructured lines and light fabrics. Early tea gowns were a European development influenced by Asian clothing and historical approach from the 18th century which led to the renaissance time period of long and flowing sleeves. Part of this European sense of fashion came from the Japanese Kimono as they were worn by Japanese women during a wedding or any formal ceremonies.
Tea gowns were intended to be worn without a corset or assistance from the maid; however, elegance always came first.
Although tea gowns were meant for midday wear, they could be worn into the evening. Women started wearing tea gowns in the evening for dinner or certain events at home with close friends and family by 1900. Tea gowns intended for day wear usually had high necks, while evening tea gowns had lower necks.
- Takeda and Spilker (2010), p. 112
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- Takeda, Sharon Sadako, and Kaye Durland Spilker, Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915, LACMA/Prestel USA (2010), ISBN 978-3-7913-5062-2