Mother Hubbard dress
A Mother Hubbard dress is a long, wide, loose-fitting gown with long sleeves and a high neck. Intended to cover as much skin as possible, it was introduced by missionaries in Polynesia to "civilise" those whom they considered half-naked savages of the South Seas islands.
Although this Victorian remnant has disappeared elsewhere in the world, it is still worn by Pacific women, who have altered it into a gayer and lighter (less hot) garment, using cotton sheets, often printed in brightly coloured floral patterns.
In Samoa and Tonga, the design has taken on a two-piece form, with classic mother hubbard blouses (long, wide, loose-fitting with puffy sleeves) over ankle-length skirts, called "puletasi" and "puletaha," respectively.
In India and much of South Asia, these dresses are referred to as Housecoats. Indian women wear these dresses as a convenient apparel at home, particularly around only the family members when they are not expecting company. In the 1960s and 1970s many local women in Tarawa, Kiribati and a few i-matang women wore a garment which was referred to as a Mother Hubbard. Whilst the lower half of the body was covered with a wrap-around (Lava-lava) or a skirt, the top half was worn a very loose low- necked blouse short enough to expose a band of flesh at the waist. The latter was usually worn without underclothes.
- The Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary with a Concise Hawaiian Grammar by Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert, and Esther T. Mookini (1975), p 30. ISBN 0-8248-0307-8
- The Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary with a Concise Hawaiian Grammar by Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert, and Esther T. Mookini (1975), p 111. ISBN 0-8248-0307-8
- Marshallese-English Dictionary: wau
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