A ball gown dress, ball gown or ballgown is a form of formal dress designed for a semi-formal evening event. The ball gown has many variations of length, waist, sleeve, hemline, sleeves, style, and fabric used. A traditional ball gown will typically have a bodice that is sleeveless with either a wide or slimmer neckline, sleeves, and usually be fully covered with a sash or ribbon. It usually has a full skirt and a train (a thin line over the top of the back) and is often trimmed with lace or crystal. Traditional styles may also feature an empire waistline or ruffled skirt and long, flowing sleeves.
A modern version of the ball gown dress is the cocktail. Cocktail ballgowns are more casual than the other types of ballgowns, as they can be found with a shorter, more form fitting bodice, sleeves, and often be hemmed. They can also have an empire waistline or be fitted with ruffled sleeves or halter tops. Cocktail dresses come in a variety of fabrics, such as satin, silk, velvet, chiffon, brocade, or crepe. A popular type of cocktail dress is the cocktail with a halter.
Many styles are made with elaborate detailing, such as rhinestones, sequins, lace, brocade, rich, floral designs, bows, crystals, and even sequins for more formal evening events. Some of these types of dresses can also include a veil to give it a more formal look. Some examples of traditional ball gowns are those that feature a train. This is the dress that goes from the shoulders to the hem and back to the top of the neck. The hemline of the ball gown should be high, at least four inches above the knees. Ball gowns can also feature a short skirt that is cut to an ankle length, with or without a belt or with short sleeves, and a collar that is either open or closed.