Train (clothing)

In clothing, a train describes the long back portion of a robe, cloak, skirt, overskirt, or dress that trails behind the wearer.

It is a common part of ceremonial robes in Academic dress, Court dress or Court uniform. It is also a common part of a woman's formal evening gowns or wedding dresses.

Woman's Dress Ensemble LACMA M.2007.211.941a-e (11 of 13)
Court dress with long train. Portugal, c.1845.

Types of train


Woman's Dress LACMA M.2007.211.35 (6 of 7)
Dress with a fishtail train, French, c. 1880. LACMA
Woman's Dress LACMA M.2007.211.35 (4 of 7)
Detail of the previous dress
  • Court train - Worn for formal court occasions, the court train had to fall in with strict dress codes which differed from court to court. For example, the French court code set in 1804 by Jean-Baptiste Isabey prescribed a four-inch maximum width for embroidered train borders for non-Royal wearers.[1] In Britain it was required to be three yards in length at the minimum.[2]
  • Double train - Two trains attached to the same dress, or a single train divided into two trains.
  • Fishtail train - A train popular at various times from the 1870s onwards, flaring out from midway down a close-fitting skirt.[3]
  • Demi-train - A short train formed by having the back of the garment slightly longer than the front.[4]

Wedding dress

Trains in modern (20th and 21st century) bridal wear have their own terminology:

  • Cathedral train - also known as a monarch train, this can measure up to eight feet (2.4 metres). A royal cathedral train is considered the longest, most formal train, measuring up to ten feet (3.0 metres) or more.[5][6]
  • Chapel train - a medium length train up to five feet (1.1 to 1.5 metres) long.[5]
  • Court train - in bridal terminology, a court train is a narrow train extending 1 metre behind.[5]
  • Sweep train - a short train that does not necessarily reach the floor.[5] It is so called because it might just sweep the ground.[6]
  • Watteau train - a modern version of the pleated backs (called 'Watteau pleats') seen in 18th century sack-back gowns.[5]

Brides of the Ndebele people of South Africa traditionally wear long beaded trains hung from the shoulder, known as nyoga (snake).[7]

Trains as part of uniform

Chris Patten
The Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, wearing his official academic dress as the university chancellor

Trains are a common feature of the Royal mantles of Kings and Princes, as well as the mantles of many chivalric orders.

Officers of older, traditional universities generally wear distinctive and more elaborate dress. The Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor may wear a black damask lay type gown with a long train.[8][9][10] In France the train is now usually hooked to the inner side of the robe.

The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, when robed, dresses like a High Court Judge with the distinction of a train to his scarlet robe.[11]

Legal Service for Wales 2013 (162)
Lords Justices of Appeal, full ceremonial dress, 2013

Judges of the Court of Appeal wear the black silk damask gown, trained and heavily embellished with gold embroidery.

French court dress includes a train, now buttoned to the inside of the robe and suspended by fabric bands, a vestige of the former practice of lawyers carrying their trains.[12]

The Lord Chancellor, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and other high dignitaries also wear similar embroidered black robes with trains.[13]

The Lord Mayor of London also wears a robe with a train.[14]

A trained robe, the cappa magna (great cape) remains in use in the Catholic Church for certain ceremonial occasions. Cardinals, bishops, and certain other honorary prelates are entitled to wear the cappa magna, but within the territory of their jurisdiction.[15]

Eastern Orthodox bishops also traditionally use a cloak with a long train known as the Mandyas, which may have parallels with the development of the Catholic cappa magna.

Dainagon Kinto beside a Waterfall LACMA M.2006.136.240
Japanese court attire with train

For male peers, the Coronation robe is a cloak of crimson velvet extending to the feet, open in the front (with white silk satin ribbon ties) with train trailing behind.[16] The Parliament robe of a British peer is a full-length garment of scarlet wool with a collar of white miniver fur, cut long as a train, but this is usually kept hooked up inside the garment.[17]

Court dresses for women were commonly fifteen yards in length.[2] Court dresses for noble women sometimes had trains both behind and in front of the dress.[4]

Japanese Imperial court clothing, sokutai for men and jūnihitoe for women, both include a long train extending from the back of the robe. It remains in use with the Imperial Household of Japan for ceremonial occasions.[18]


Legal Service for Wales 2013 (180)

The Lord Chief Justice, 2013

George Wyatt Truscott Vanity Fair 4 November 1908

The scarlet robe, with train, Lord Mayor of London

John Charles Spencer, Viscount Althorp, 3rd Earl Spencer (1782-1845) by Henry Pierce Bone

Chancellor of the Exchequer Robe of State

Troy - Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1655-1746), marquis de Torcy

Mantle of the Knights of the Order of the Holy Spirit, France

Hoare - William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham

Coronation robes of an earl, William Pitt

Cardeal franc rodé

Cardinal Rode wearing a winter cappa magna

Bishop Irenaeus (Ćirić)

Serbian Orthodox bishop in mandyas


King Frederick William IV of Prussia in mantle

Izabel Bavor

Isabeau of Bavaria with long ermine-lined train; c. late 14th century or early 15th century

La Comtesse de Mailly (ca. 1698)

Mantua with train, 1698

Pauline Bonaparte princesse Borghese

Pauline Bonaparte manteau de cour, a train attached at chest level, introduced by Napoleon,[19] 1808

Fashion Plate (Court Dress) LACMA M.83.161.213

Court dress and train, English, 1822

Toulmouche Love Letter Detail

Evening gown with train, 1883

Liv med släp till brud- och hovpresentationsklänning, Storbritannien - Livrustkammaren - 13441

Court presentation dress and train, 1897

Bride 1920s

Short wedding dress with long train attached. 1920s

Weddingring 2007-6-23-1

Japanese bride in a white dress with train, 2007


  1. ^ "Court train (manteau de cour), ca. 1809". Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. October 2006. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b Dress and Insignia Worn at His Majesty's Court. Various editions 1898-1937
  3. ^ Watt, Judith (2012). Fashion. The definitive history of costume and style (1. publ. ed.). London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 200. ISBN 9781405398794.
  4. ^ a b Cumming, Valerie; Cunnington, C. W.; Cunnington, P. E. (2010). The Dictionary of Fashion History. Berg. p. 208. ISBN 0857851438.
  5. ^ a b c d e Shimer, Elizabeth (2004). The wedding gown book : how to find the gown that perfectly fits your body, personality, style, and budget. Gloucester, Mass.: Quarry Books. p. 44. ISBN 1592530664. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  6. ^ a b Hagen, Shelly (2004). The everything wedding book : the ultimate guide to planning the wedding of your dreams (3rd ed.). Avon, Mass.: Adams Media. p. 117. ISBN 1593371268.
  7. ^ Brennan, Summer. "A Natural History of the Wedding Dress". JSTOR Daily.
  8. ^ The Oxford and Cambridge review, Volume 4. Oxford University. 1847. p. 530.
  9. ^ "Australian National University, Academic and Ceremonial Dress Order 2010". Federal Register of Legislation.
  10. ^ "National University of Ireland, Academic Dress Booklet" (PDF). Academic Dress of the NUI.
  11. ^ Dress worn at Court, 1921 edition.
  12. ^ Renard, Clement. "Dans le secret des robes noire des avocat". Le Parisien.
  13. ^ Campbell, Una (1989). Robes of the Realm. Michael O'Mara Books Ltd: London. pp. 53-54.
  14. ^ Weinreb, Ben and Hibbert, Christopher (1992). The London Encyclopaedia (reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 496.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  15. ^
  16. ^ "No. 39709". The London Gazette. 2 December 1952. p. 6351.
  17. ^ Cox, Noel (1999). "The Coronation and Parliamentary Robes of the British Peerage." Arma, the Journal of the Heraldry Society of Southern Africa. Vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 289–293. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
  18. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica: Sokutai
  19. ^ Ingrid Loschek Reclams Mode- und Kostümlexikon. Reclam, Stuttgart 1987, ISBN 3-15-010448-3, S. 156.
  • Black, J. Anderson and Madge Garland: A History of Fashion, Morrow, 1975. ISBN 0-688-02893-4
  • Payne, Blanche: History of Costume from the Ancient Egyptians to the Twentieth Century, Harper & Row, 1965. No ISBN for this edition; ASIN B0006BMNFS
1550–1600 in Western European fashion

Fashion in the period 1550–1600 in Western European clothing was characterized by increased opulence. Contrasting fabrics, slashes, embroidery, applied trims, and other forms of surface ornamentation remained prominent. The wide silhouette, conical for women with breadth at the hips and broadly square for men with width at the shoulders had reached its peak in the 1530s, and by mid-century a tall, narrow line with a V-shaped waist was back in fashion. Sleeves and women's skirts then began to widen again, with emphasis at the shoulder that would continue into the next century. The characteristic garment of the period was the ruff, which began as a modest ruffle attached to the neckband of a shirt or smock and grew into a separate garment of fine linen, trimmed with lace, cutwork or embroidery, and shaped into crisp, precise folds with starch and heated irons.

Associative interference

Associative interference is a cognitive theory established on the concept of associative learning, which suggests that the brain links related elements. When one element is stimulated, its associates can also be activated. The most known study demonstrating the credibility of this concept was Pavlov’s experiment in 1927 which was later developed into the learning procedure known as classical conditioning.However, whilst classical conditioning and associative learning both explore how the brain utilises this cognitive association to benefit us, studies have also shown how the brain can mistakenly associate related, but incorrect elements together, and this is known as associative interference. A simple example of this would be when one was asked a series of multiplication questions. A study conducted in 1985 showed that over 90% of the mistakes subjects made were actually answers to other questions with a common multiplicand. That is, questions such as 4 x 6 = 24 and 3 x 8 = 24 were very likely to promote errors (8 x 4 = 24) due to associative interference.Associative interference was widely investigated and researchers realised there were different types of interference, namely retroactive interference which investigates how new memories disrupts the retrieval of old memories, and proactive interference which investigates how old memories disrupts the retrieval of new memories. These two were subsequently known as the interference theory.

Therefore, associative interference is a fundamental theory which the interference theory draws upon. The essential difference between these two is time. Both retroactive and proactive interference are concerned with when the interfering elements, or memories were obtained. However, associative interference does not encompass time, as shown by the previous example. The chronological acquisition of the four times table in relation to the three times table is independent as to why subjects made an error, highlighting the difference between the two.

Index of fashion articles

This is a list of existing articles related to fashion and clothing.

For individual designers, see List of fashion designers

See also
Clothing materials and parts
Garment structures
Animal hides / Leather


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