A long elegant dress worn on formal occasions.
Example: A silk ball gown.
The above is crucial to our understanding of how the gown differs from your average gingham ‘dress’ or backless ‘frock’. If we unpick the example (so kindly) provided by the OED, we have two categories that help us define the gown:
1. The material (silk) and 2. An event (a ball)
Both separate the gown from the perky frilly frock or the average red robe. There are other associations too: what about the time of day (evening) or the suggested length of the gown (always long and probably quite floaty) that make up its natural DNA
Let’s play the association game. Go.
And the dress…
Little Black Dress
The language we use to describe it is more refined and specific, we use time and place as much as material references to continue the legacy of the adorned and luxurious gown.
The ‘dress’ is far more likely to be casual, comfy and socially acceptable during a light lunch with your sister in East Village. Much of our understanding, and indeed our experience of the gown, originates from its etymology as much as the language we use to describe it. A gown, from the late Latin ‘gunna’ meaning ‘fur garment’, was a full-length piece worn by both men and women in Europe. By the Renaissance, the luxurious gown was in full swing as members of high society sought woven silk trimmed with expensive furs. Today, we have the Met gala.
From its origin ‘fur garment’, to the contemporary definition provided by the OED, ‘a long elegant dress worn on formal occasions’, it’s no wonder that the gown stands apart from the frock, dress, robe and skirt. The language we use to describe it is more refined and specific, we use time and place as much as material references to continue the legacy of the adorned and luxurious gown. Find yours now.
The ‘dress’ is far more likely to be casual, comfy and socially acceptable during a light lunch with your sister in East Village.