Need to know the proper name for your dress? Here is a list including the some common names terms used on eBay.
Sometimes dresses are referenced by their skirts like a circle dress. If you don't see a term that you are looking for please look in the skirt section. Thank you!

A-line  
A dress or skirt that looks like the letter A. The silhouette starts as a form-fitting bodice that flares out at the waistline/
*Ballerina
A full dress or skirt length with the hem line right above the ankles.  
*Ball gown
A dress with a fitted bodice, narrow waistline and a wide, floor-length full flared skirt.
*Bohemian
A trend that connotes a free-spirited attitude toward fashion. Feminine details, including flounces, ties, ribbons, ruffles and embroidery, combine with floaty fabrics or
garish, gypsy-like prints. Also called hippie-chic.
*
Bustier
A sleeveless, strapless top or dress held in place by boning or elastic. It is designed to help shape and enhance the bust line and should stay in place if it fits snuggly at
the waist. Common of 1950s/60s party and prom dresses.
*Caftan
A ankle length full robe with slit neckline, decorated with embroidery and long, full bell-shaped sleeves.
*Chemise (see undergarments)
*Cheongsam
A traditional dress worn by Chinese women, typified by a high collar, long length (mid-calf usually) and button or frog closures near the shoulder. This fitted dress is
often made up in shimmering silk, embroidered satin or other sensual fabrics.
*Circle Dress (see skirts)
*Classic Dress
A dress with a timeless quality, usually one that incorporates clean lines.  
Coat Dress
A dress cut like a coat; with closures (or zipper) up the front and might be lined.
*Cocktail dress
A dress worn for late afternoon and evening social functions; dressier than afternoon dress, but not as formal as a full-length evening gown.
*Column Dress
A long, straight dress.  
*Corset Dress
Incorporates most of the following on the bodice: strapless, fitted, boned, and often laces, buttons, or snaps up the back.    
*Day Dress
Street dress; simple dress suitable for town wear.
*Dressing gown
A robe worn for lounging or before dressing.
Drop Waist Dress
A dress with its waist at hip level.
*Empire Dress / Line
Dress that has a high waistline that starts under the bust. Can also be a seam or panel just under the bust.  
*Evening dress
A very formal style of dress. An evening dress is full length, sleeveless, and usually décolleté.
Gown
An interchangeable term with dress. Usually reserved for formal titles.
House Dress / Morning Dress
Simple style dress made of light comfortable fabric. It usually has front buttons that stop near the waist, a belt and patch pockets.
Jumper
Sleeveless dress with a very low-cut neckline and armholes; it is worn over a blouse or a sweater.
*Kimono
A long robe with wide sleeves typically worn with a broad sash at the waist.
Maxi (see skirts)
Mermaid  
A dress that fits tightly until the knee then dramatically flares.
Pinafore
A fashionable dress that closes at the sides sometimes with a gap. Meant to be worn over another dress. Often used to protect other dresses when cooking or cleaning
Polo Dress
Dress whose bodice imitates the knit shirt.
Princess Dress
Unbelted dress with a fitted bodice and a full or straight skirt whose cut accentuates the figure.
*Romantic Look
A term used to describe a big, floaty, dreamy type of silhouette or dress.  
*Sarong
A long cloth that is wrapped around the entire body. It can be tied at the waist to form a skirt or tied around the neck or underarms for a dress.
Sheath Dress
Unbelted, very tight form-fitting dress.
*Shift
A straight-lined and basic dress of the 1960s that hangs away from the body.
Shirtwaist Dress
Dress with a bodice that resembles a man’s shirt; it usually has a belt and buttons all the way up the front.
*Slip dress
Bias-cut dress with a fitted top, no waistline and camisole straps that often looks like an undergarment.
*Smock
A dress that has a shoulder yoke with gathering for a full sweep.
*Sunday night dress
A sleeved dress, often in bright colors, more formal than afternoon dress but less formal than dinner dress.
Sun dress
Very low-cut dress with slim straps, which leave the back and shoulders uncovered. Commonly misused online!
*Tea gown / Garden Party Dress
A tea length (mid calf) gown worn for afternoon tea. In the 20s and 30s, the name referred to a semi-formal frilly dress.
Trapeze Dress
Unbelted dress with an increasingly flared skirt that hangs from a tight bodice.
Tunic  
A simple slip-on garment made with or without sleeves, usually past the hips or longer, sometimes belted at the waist.
Wraparound Dress
A dress that is open from top to bottom; it is fastened by folding one side over the other and holding them in place with a belt.
    Common eBay Dress terms (this is a work in progress, please be patient!)
*Bombshell
Term used by sellers to describe dresses worn by bombshells (Hepburn, Monroe, Taylor etc.) Either Evening gowns or sexy wiggle dresses featuring at least one of these
elements, a shelf bust, Illusion lace or actual cut outs or a Décolleté neckline.
Jackie O
A sheath or wiggle dress made popular by Jackie Kennedy in the early 60s. Usually a damask or brocade dress accompanied by a jacket or bolero, but the term is
often applied to any professional yet elegant 60s dress.
Kitty Foyle
A dark-colored dress with light contrasting collar and cuffs (1940s, a dress worn by Ginger Rogers in the movie 'Kitty Foyle')
Lucy Dress (see shirtwaist dress)
Feminine styles of shirtwaist and house dresses made popular by Lucille Ball from the "I Love Lucy" show.
Marylin
Styles worn by Marylin Monroe. A term used by sellers, it is a dress with a Décolleté neckline and either a full or wiggle skirt.
Wiggle Dress (see skirts)
Much like a sheath dress except it will have a waist line or treatment separating the bodice from a pencil skirt.
Western/Squaw Dress


*Square Dance Dress
*Swing Dress
patio
Shelf Bust
Boho/Bohemian
Hippie
secretary
Party / Prom
Rockabilly
stempunk
film noir
avant garde
mumu
asian geisha dress?
Lawn Dress
Resources for definitions:   visual.merriam-webster.com    dressking.com   mollybloom.com   edressme.com
PROUD MEMBER
OF THE VINTAGE
FASHION GUILD
2009