Wikipedia

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).


[1]

It consists of a top piece that covers the torso and hangs down over the legs. A dress can be any one-piece garment containing a skirt of any length. Dresses can be formal or informal. In many cultures, dresses are more often worn by women and girls.

The

hemlines

of dresses vary depending on the

fashion

of the time period and the

modesty

or personal taste of the wearer.


[2]

About

[


edit

]

Dresses are outer garments made up of a

bodice

and a

skirt

and can be made in one or more pieces.


[3]

Dresses are generally suitable for both general and

formal wear

in the West for women and children.

Historically, dresses could also include other items of clothing such as

corsets

,

kirtles

,

partlets

,

petticoats

, smocks and

stomachers

.

History

[


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]

11th century

[


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]

In the 11th century, women in

Europe

wore dresses that were similar to men’s tunics and were loose, with a hemline reaching to below the knees or lower.

By the end of the century, these dresses featured a tighter fit on the arms and women’s upper bodies.

Dresses were made snug by featuring slits on the sides of the dress that were pulled tight in order to fit a woman’s figure.

16th century

[


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]

Starting in the 1550s, middle- and upper-class women in Europe wore dresses which included a smock, stays,

kirtle

,

gown

, forepart, sleeves, ruff and a

partlet

.

Undergarments were not worn underneath.

In England,

Queen Elizabeth

dictated what kinds of dresses women were allowed to wear.

French women were inspired by Spanish-style

bodices

and also wore

ruffs

.

French dresses were known as

marlottes

.

In Italy, dresses were known as

ropa

and

semarra.

Dresses in the 16th century also displayed surface decoration such as

embroidery

, with

blackwork

being especially popular.

Women’s dresses in

Russia

during both the 16th and 17th centuries identified a woman’s place in society or their family.

17th century

[


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]


Holland

, as a center of textile production, was a particularly noted area of innovation in dress during this time period.

During this time period, in Spain and Portugal, women wore

stomachers

.

However, in England and France, dresses became more “naturally” shaped.

Lace and slashing were popular decorations.

Skirts were full, with regular folds and the overskirt allowed the display of an underskirt of contrasting fabric.

Necklines became lower as well.

Embroidery that reflected scientific discoveries, such as new animals and plants discovered were popular.

In the

British Colonies

, the multiple-piece dresses were also popular, though less luxurious.

Wealthy women living in the Spanish or Dutch colonies in the Americas copied the fashions that were popular from their homelands.

The three-piece dress, which had a bodice, petticoat and gown, were popular until the last 25 years, in which the

mantua

, or a one-piece gown, became more popular.


Corsets

became more important in dresses by the 1680s.

Working women, and women in

slavery in the Americas

, used simple patterns to create shifts, wool or linen petticoats and gowns and cotton dresses.

The bottoms of the skirts could be tucked into the waistband when a woman was near fire when near a cooking or heating source.

18th century

[


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]

Large, triangular silhouettes were favored during the 18th century, skirts were wide and supported by hoop underskirts.

One-piece gowns remained popular until the middle of the century.

During the 1760s in France, hoop petticoats were reduced in size.

Lighter colors and lighter fabrics were also favored.


[24]

In Colonial America, women most often wore a gown and petticoat, in which the skirt of the gown opened to reveal the

petticoat

underneath.


[25]

Women also had

riding habits

which consisted of the petticoat, jacket and a waistcoat.


[25]

French fashion regarding dresses became very fast-changing during the later part of the 18th century.

Throughout this period, the length of fashionable dresses varied only slightly, between ankle-length and floor-sweeping.


[2]

Between 1740 and 1770, the


robe à la française


was very popular with upper-class women.

In France, the

Empire style

became popular after the

French Revolution

.


[28]

This style was more simple and was also favored by

Josephine Bonaparte

.


[28]

Other types of dresses that were popular during the revolution included tunic dresses and the

negligée à la patriot,

which featured the red, white and blue colors, symbolic of the revolution.

19th century

[


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]

Early 19th century dress.

Early 19th century dress.

Women’s dresses in the 19th century began to be classified by the time of day or purpose of the dress.

High-waisted dresses were popular until around 1830.

Early nineteenth century dresses in Russia were influenced by

Classicism

and were made of thin fabrics, with some dresses being semi-transparent.


Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun

wore these types of dresses with a short skirt (reaching to her ankles) when she lived in Russia between 1785 and 1801.

Many Russian women copied her style.

By the 1840s, Russian women were turning to what was in fashion in Europe.

Europeans styles in 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. In Russia, metal hoopskirts were known as “malakhovs.”

Skirts of the 1860s were heavily decorated.

To sleep, women in the American West wore floor-length dresses of white

cotton

with high collars displaying decoration.

Various

Native American

people, such as the

Navajo

and the

Mescalero Apache

began to adapt the designs of their dresses to look more like the European Americans they came in contact with.

Navajo women further adapted the European designs, incorporating their own sense of beauty, “creating

hózhó.”

Paper

sewing patterns

for women to sew their own dresses started to be readily available in the 1860s, when the

Butterick Publishing Company

began to promote them.

These patterns were graded by size, which was a new innovation.


[39]

The

Victorian era’s

dresses were tight-fitting and decorated with pleats,

rouching

and frills.


[28]

Women in the United States who were involved in

dress reform

in the 1850s found themselves the center of attention, both positive and negative.


[40]

By 1881, the

Rational Dress Society

had formed in reaction to the restrictive dress of the era.


[28]

20th century

[


edit

]

Model posing in a glamorous 1930s evening gown.

Model posing in a glamorous 1930s evening gown.

In the early twentieth century, the look popularized by the

Gibson Girl

was fashionable.

The upper part of women’s dresses in the

Edwardian era

included a “pigeon breast” look that gave way to a corseted waist and an s-shaped silhouette.

Women called their dresses “waists” if one-piece, or ”

shirtwaists

,” if it consisted of a skirt and a blouse.

The bodice of the dresses had a boned lining.

Informally, wealthy women wore

tea gowns

at home.

These garments were looser, though not as loose as a “wrapper,” and made of expensive fabric and laces.

By 1910, the Edwardian look was replaced with a straighter silhouette.

French designer,

Paul Poiret

, had a huge impact on the look of the time.

Designs developed by Poiret were available in both boutiques and also in

department stores

.

Popular dresses of the time were one-piece and included

lingerie dresses

which could be layered.

At around the same time, in the United States, the

American Ladies Tailors’ Association

developed a dress called the

suffragette suit

, which was practical for women to work and move around in.


[47]


[48]

Another innovation of the 1910s was the ready availability of factory-made clothing.

Waistlines started out high and by 1915 were below the natural waist.

By 1920, waistlines were at hip-level.

Between 1910 and 1920 necklines were lower and dresses could be short-sleeved or sleeveless.

Women who worked during

World War I

preferred shorter dresses, which eventually became the dominant style overall.


[24]

In addition to the shorter dresses, waistlines were looser and the dominant colors were black, white and gray.

By 1920, the “new woman” was a trend that saw lighter fabrics and dresses that were easier to put on.

Younger women were also setting the trends that older women started to follow.

The dresses of the 1920s could be pulled over the head, were short and straight.

It was acceptable to wear sleeveless dresses during the day.


Flapper

dresses were popular until end of the decade.

During

World War II

, dresses were slimmer and inspired by military uniforms.


[28]

After WWII, the New Look, promoted by

Christian Dior

was very influential on fashion and the look of women’s dresses for about a decade.

Since the 1970s, no one dress type or length has dominated fashion for long, with short and ankle-length styles often appearing side-by-side in fashion magazines and catalogs.


[56]

Use

[


edit

]

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

.


[57]

For such occasions they, together with

blouse

and

skirt

, remain the de facto standard attire for many girls and women.

Types of dresses

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]

Time period

[


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]

Lengths

[


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]

See also

[


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]

References

[


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]

Citations

[


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]

Sources

[


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]


Media related to

Dresses

at Wikimedia Commons

dressing style for female, new dress styles, new fashion dresses, fat burning foods

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