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For the song by Mick Jagger, see Wandering Spirit.
Wedding - Bridesmaid in long gown
Evening gowns shown at a Los Angeles fashion show, 1947

An evening gown is a long, flowing lady's dress usually worn to a formal affair. It ranges in length from tea and ballerina to full-length. Gowns are often made of a luxury fabric such as chiffon, velvet, satin, or silk. Although the terms are used interchangeably, ball gowns and evening gowns differ in that a ball gown will always have a full, flared skirt and a strapless bodice; in contrast, an evening gown can be any silhouette - sheath, mermaid, A-line or trumpet shaped - and may have straps, halters or even sleeves.

It corresponds to men's semi-formal wear for black tie events. (For white tie equivalents, and for debutantes, see Ball gown.)

For a brief history of the gown, see Clothing terminology.

Alternatives to the gown

  • In the 1940s, couturiers introduced dancing costumes, a party dress with a full skirt specifically made for semi-formal and formal dances. The dancing costume was shorter than the evening gown.
  • A ball skirt is a variant fashion which resurfaced in the 1990s, consisting of a full, long skirt that can be worn with a cashmere sweater, lace camisole, or other dressy top.

See also

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