Like most fashion relevant questions, the answer depends upon who you ask. In terms of dresses & gowns it is not easy to find an exact technical answer.
The difference between a dress and a gown is largely one of semantics and personal preference. The word "gown" tends to refer to more formal garments, like those worn for weddings, proms or balls. A "dress" can be any one-piece garment with a skirt of any length, and can be either formal or informal.
A dress is a garment consisting of a skirt with an attached bodice (or a matching bodice giving the effect of a one-piece garment). It consists of a top piece that covers the torso and hangs down at least partially over the legs. A dress can be any one-piece garment containing a skirt of any length. Dresses can be formal or informal. The hemlines of dresses vary depending on the whims of fashion and the modesty or personal taste of the wearer.
A gown, from medieval Latin gunna, it is a usually loose outer garment from knee- to full-length. The gown technically would be any full-length woman's garment consisting of a bodice and attached skirt. A skirt is the lower part of a dress or gown, covering the person from the waist downwards.
Before the Victorian period, the word "dress" usually referred to a
general overall mode of attire for either men or women, such as in the
phrases "evening dress", "morning dress", "travelling dress", "full
dress", "priest's gown" which are white, and so on, rather than to any
specific garment, and 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". Today, the usage is chiefly British,
except in historical senses or in formal cases, such as evening gown and
wedding gown. Formal gowns generally have a fitted bodice and a
full-length full skirt.
An evening gown, evening dress or gown is a long flowing women's dress usually worn to a formal affair. It ranges from tea and ballerina to full-length. Evening gowns are usually made of luxurious fabrics such as chiffon, velvet, satin, organza, etc. Silk is a popular fibre for many evening gowns. Although the terms are used interchangeably, ball gowns and evening gowns differ in that a ball gown will always have a full skirt and a fitted bodice; in contrast, an evening gown can be any silhouette—sheath, mermaid, A-line or trumpet shaped—and may have an empire or dropped waist.
A wedding dress or wedding gown is the clothing worn by a bride during a wedding ceremony. Color, style and ceremonial importance of the gown can depend on the religion and culture of the wedding participants. In Western cultures, brides often choose white wedding dress, which was made popular by Queen Victoria in the 19th century. In eastern cultures, brides often choose red to symbolize auspiciousness.
In many cultures, dresses or gowns are more often worn by women and girls.
In the opinion of Apparel Search, a gown is a type of formal dress.
By the way, do you know the meaning of the word "frock"? Frock has been used since Middle English as the name for an article of clothing for men and women. In Standard and World English the word is used as an alternative term for a girl's or woman's dress.
In your opinion, what is the difference between a dress & gown?
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