Originally Posted by cptjeff
The gown, as a garment, predates modern tailoring, and was not intended to be worn with it.
I don't think this is true. In England, people of several professions still wear gowns, and they always wear them over their suits. My father was a barrister and wore a gown to court; when he became a QC he wore a silk gown inside and outside of court; when he became a judge he wore a different silk gown in court and at ceremonies. When I was at boarding school, all of the teachers wore gowns over suits to chapel; when I went to university, the dons wore gowns for special occasions; indeed, I wore a a kind of gown for matriculation and graduation, over a suit.
I think a gown was always an overgarment.
Of course, none of this is really relevant to a 2013 MBA graduation in the USA -- I just thought I'd mention it.