A shortened version of the closed, one-piece gown of the 15th century. It was
normally worn under another gown or robe, e.g., levite gown, and differed from
other dresses in that it had a turned-down collar and usually fastened in the
back. When it was first introduced, people viewed it as an "under-dress"
meant to be seen only at home, but as the formality of dress codes relaxed, it
became accepted as decent outdoor attire. (Cunnington,
Main Menu of Leisure Activities