The polonaise style of women's dress involved the drawing up of the over skirt of the gown in two or three large swags, to reveal the underskirt. It was considered a form of casual dress, since it facilitated walking, especially away from paved areas. It was derived from the apparel of the peasant class, who routinely looped their skirts up while working in the fields or farmyards to keep them clean, and out of the way. It also allowed the wearer to display the often lavishly worked underskirt, both her shoes, (and shocking thought), occasionlly her delicate, well turned ankles.
So a gown of like the polonaise was a step towards this egalitarianism of dress, though to our eyes we might not think so. Of course the pendulum swung back to extensive decoration and overt display rather quickly, being the magpie species that we are. We did, however try the idea of a simpler, more logical, and democratic apparel, on for size.