Dress of the day

Before the Victorian period, the word "dress" usually referred to a general overall mode of attire for either men or women, as reflected today in such phrases "evening dress", "morning dress", "travelling dress", "full dress", and so on, rather than to any specific garment.

At that time, the most-often used English word for a woman's skirted garment was gown. By the early 20th century, both "gown" and "frock" were essentially synonymous with "dress", although gown was more often used for a formal, heavy or full-length garment, and frock or dress for a lightweight, shorter, or informal one. Only in the last few decades has "gown" lost its general meaning of a woman's garment in the United States in favor of "dress".


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