A tea gown was traditionally a woman's "At home" dress for informal entertaining in the late 19th century, and were influenced by feminine Asian clothing - they usually had feminine & frothy detailing.
wrapper and a ball dress. It is made of rather gorgeous materials and goes on easily, and its chief use is not for wear at the tea-table so much as for dinner alone with one's family."Every one knows that a tea-gown is a hybrid between a
It can, however, very properly be put on for tea, and if one is dining at home, kept on for dinner.
One does not go out to dine in a tea-gown except in the house of a member of one's family or a most intimate friend. One would wear a tea-gown in one's own house in receiving a guest to whose house one would wear a dinner dress. – Emily Post, Etiquette, 1922.
In contemporary usage, any flowing dress of sheer or translucent fabric, in pastel colors may be called a tea gown...or more often...a tea dress.
The tea dress is fast becoming my favourite outfit choice - anyone who knows me will verify that I NEVER wear jeans or trousers - and my wardrobe consists mainly of dresses and tunic tops.