Back in the stone age, when women did not wear slacks or jeans or sweat pants...women who worked at home wore housedresses. While I could not find a picture of the housedress I remember., cotton, light printed plaid or wild florals, this came close enough. Probably from the 30s or 40s, but you get the idea.
They were for working. You wore an apron to cover it and the dress probably was to stay clean a couple of days. Even if you sweated or slopped dirty water on it while washing the floor or using your wringer washing machine.
My one grandmother, who never once wore slacks, wore housedresses. Only around the house or in her garden.
My other grandmother was a bit more savvy and did wear slacks. She was more trendy. More American, even if she never once read a book in her life. The other, less trendy grandma, read romances by the stack!
Now, my mother didn't wear housedresses that I remember, but she did wear skirts and blouses and a girdle. Far from trendy, she did dress up nicely for very special occasions. Her make up consisted of powder and lipstick. Perfume, sometimes.. She said it made her feel like a French whore, which she pronounced hoor.
Well, that's it for dowdy housedresses.
Did your mother wear them?