Evening vs. ball gown

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Andrea L
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Evening vs. ball gown

Postby Andrea L » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:32 am

A sudden thought came to me the other day...what is the real difference between an "evening gown" and a "ball gown"? Typically I think of evening as lower cut neckline in front and sleeves that are 3/4 or thereabout, and ball is the low cut in front and back and no sleeve or small poof sleeve. More to the point, in what situation(s) would you wear either of them? Are ball gowns only worn to balls or other sorts of gatherings that involve dancing, and you wear an evening gown to everything else? Or do you wear an evening gown for something like a dinner party or other event that doesn't require tons of movement and wanting to "be seen" like at a ball? Or is it blurred since a woman's evening could involve both? I'm confused...

Thoughts?
Heather
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Re: Evening vs. ball gown

Postby Heather » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:11 am

I usually think of an Evening Dress as a dinner dress. But it can also be for a smallish evening party after dinner. I agree, that the dinner/evening dress is more often on the shoulder, slightly more conservative neckline. The ball gown would be the lowest cut, short or no sleeve. Some references state that the evening dress is of darker colors, while the ball dress is of lighter colors. Dinner dresses usually have plainer skirts, were ballgowns are richly trimmed. I am sure some women wore evening dresses to balls, and vice-versa. Not everyone has a full wardrobe for every occasion, except the upper classes. I imagine middle classes to have mostly evening dresses and not ballgowns.
Andrea L
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:51 pm
Location: Florissant, Missouri

Re: Evening vs. ball gown

Postby Andrea L » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:46 pm

Thanks Heather! I knew there was a difference, just didn't know specifically. Now that you mention it, middle class people wouldn't go to balls and other fancy events all the time, come to think of it, but they would have more dinners and other intimate affairs. Haven't decided if I'm going to take this route with the dress I have in mind, but I may go ball instead of evening...and groan over the decorations and trim, which is not my strong suit with Victorian clothing. I'll happily make the garments...just don't ask me to trim it...
rajani
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Re: Evening vs. ball gown

Postby rajani » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:06 pm

I'm just the opposite, Andrea. I get bored with the basic dress and I am all about the trims! In fact I'd guess that most of the time I probably go overboard for the type of dress I'm making.

Love love love those fancy trims!
Andrea L
Inquiring Mind
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:51 pm
Location: Florissant, Missouri

Re: Evening vs. ball gown

Postby Andrea L » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:30 pm

I'm fond of trim, but I'm not a creative person (so says the person who sews and writes!). Okay, I'm not a visually creative person. Someone can come up with a dress idea and know exactly what type of lace or other trim to put on it and how the decorate it. Me, I get the basic idea of the dress, the shape and construction of it, but the "creative" part with putting on trim, especially copious amounts of trim like with ball gowns, my mind just goes blank. It's the same with hats. I'll make the hat, but when it comes time to artfully arrange feathers and flowers and all that stuff, my mind goes blank. And with a lot of Victorian stuff, dissecting something to copy it is an art and a science on its own. So I get woefully uninspired once the garments are actually made, unless it's a rare rare case that I have an idea in mind.

Or I can say I'm a broke college graduate (which is worse than a broke college student), and trim is pricey. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :lol:

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