A gown, from the Saxon word, gunna, is a usually loose outer garment from knee- to full-length worn by men and women in Europe from the early Middle Ages to the 17th century, and continuing today in certain professions; later, gown was applied to any full-length woman's garment consisting of a bodice and attached skirt. A long, loosely fitted gown called a Banyan was worn by men in the 18th century as an informal coat. The gowns worn today by academics, judges, and some clergy derive directly from the everyday garments worn by their medieval predecessors, formalized into a uniform in the course of the 16th and 17th centuries.
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