Tea Gowns were popular for wear at home, increasing in popularity during the 1880s and 1890s. The tea gown was a simple loose-fitting garment that was essentially an elaborate dressing gown/wrapper and as such was meant to be worn at home in the company of immediate family and close friends and especially if one was dining or taking tea. The tea gown was meant to be worn without a corset (although some women wore them anyway) and was never worn outside the house. One interesting variation on the tea gown design can be found with these two Classical Grecian-inspired designs that were offered for sale as patterns in the November 1891 issue of the Canadian edition of The Delineator:
Both of the above gowns were princess-cut and shaped by a combination of darts and gores. From the above illustrations, both garments were structured yet gave the illusion that the wearer was wearing a chiton. The loose sleeves go a long way towards enhancing this illusion. Of course, wearing an actual chiton would have been considered to be way too extreme for the time… 😉
We don’t know just how popular these patterns were but at a minimum, they would have been perfect for a fancy dress ball or the like. 🙂 It’s fascinating to see how Victorians interpreted prior periods in their dress and the above is just one instance of this; too bad the pattern isn’t available today. We hope you’ve enjoyed this little excursion into these tea gown variants.