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Fashion Glossary


A

A-Line
A dress or skirt that is narrower at the top and gradually flares out to a wider hemline resembling the letter A. This style works well on most figure types; good for disguising bottom-heavy figures.

Accessories
Fashion items including jewelry, hats, bags, etc., used to complement an outfit.

Activewear
Activewear refers to any type of clothing that is designed to be worn for athleisure, sports, exercise and outdoor activities, such as yoga pants, joggers, sneakers, T-shirts, etc.

Apparel
A common term used to describe clothing, attire, clothes and/or garments.

Appliqué
Fabric that has been cut and applied to another fabric or garment to decorate the material. Most appliqués are sewn on to the garment but may also be attached with an adhesive.

Asymmetric
A dress, skirt, top or sweater designed with one side that is not the same as the other, creating a diagonal look. Can appear on necklines, sleeves and hemlines.

Aviator Sunglasses
An oversized style of sunglasses, popularized by pilots.

B

Babydoll
A top or dress with an empire waist (directly under the bust) and an A-line bodice. Can be designed with long sleeves, short sleeves, three-quarter sleeves, cap sleeves or sleeveless.

Bandeau
A band-shaped, strapless covering for the bust.

Bell Sleeve
A long or three-quarter-length sleeve that flares out at the hem.

Bias
A diagonal cut made against the grain of a fabric. Garments cut on the bias have a fluid movement and drape; following the curves of the body.

Bib Necklace
A necklace that features a large front section that is often decorated, embroidered or beaded.

Blazer
A long-sleeve jacket with lapels. Can be worn casually or dressed up.

Blouse
More forgiving than a shirt, with an easier fit that can be tailored, drapey or fluid. A style that flatters a range of body types.

Boat-Neck
A narrow neckline that is open shoulder to shoulder.

Bodice
The upper part of a dress or top.

Bomber Jacket
A loose, waist-length jacket with fitted waist and cuffs.

Boot
A sturdy item of footwear covering the foot, the ankle, and sometimes the leg below the knee. Can also extend over the knee and even up to the hip.

Bootcut
Also called bootleg. A pant or jean style that is tapered to the knee and very subtly flares out to accommodate a boot to be worn under the pants.

Bouclé
A knitted or woven fabric with a looped or knotted texture. Loops are usually similar in size and can range from tiny circles to large curls.

Burnout
A technique of destroying a layer of fabric to create a patterned effect and generally results in a sexy, sheer look.

Bustier
A lingerie-style garment similar to a corset that is form-fitting, usually strapless, and may be made from highly ornamental fabric. Can be worn as an undergarment or alone as a women’s top.

C

Cable Knit
A knit in a raised loop stripe that resembles a twisted cable, used in knitted sweaters.

Camisole
A top or dress with spaghetti straps that can be worn alone or as a versatile layering piece. Also called a cami.

Cap Sleeve
A very short sleeve that extends to just over the shoulder to give that touch of sexy femininity.

Cape
Sleeveless outer garment that hangs from the shoulders and covers the wearer’s back, arms and chest. Usually fastens at the neck.

Capri Pants
Calf-length women’s pants.

Cardigan
A usually collarless knitted sweater, similar to a jacket, that opens down the front. Can have a button or zipper closure.

Cargo Style
Pants or jeans with pockets on the side of the leg.

Chiffon
A light, sheer fabric typically made of nylon, silk or rayon.

Cinched Waist
A feature in a garment that tapers narrowly at the midsection, accentuating the curves of the body.

Cocktail Dress
A shorter style of evening dress worn to formal, semi-formal and cocktail events. Cocktail dresses usually fall to mid-thigh or to the knee.

Cold Shoulder
A top, blouse or sweater with cutout shoulders.

Color Block
Strategically placed contrasting colors paired together on a garment.

Cowl-Neck
A neckline on a woman’s blouse, top or sweater that hangs in draped folds.

Crochet
An open knit in which yarn is looped into a patterned fabric.

D

Dart
A V-shaped tuck that is sewn into a garment to shape the fabric so the garment fits the rounded part of the body. Most darts are located around the bust line, waistline or along the hip line.

Denim
A sturdy cotton twill fabric, typically blue, used for jeans, jackets, jumpsuits and other clothing.

Distressed
An area of fabric that has been artificially aged or worn. Commonly used on denim, this trend lends a worn, vintage look.

Dolman Sleeve
Also called batwing. This style is cut very large at the armhole and extends almost to the waist and then tapers at the wrist.

Double-Breasted
A coat, jacket or vest having one half of the front overlapping the other, usually with a double row of buttons and a single row of buttonholes.

Draping
Garments designed to look as though the fabric is loosely gathered in folds, creating a relaxed, flowing, flattering effect.

E

Embellished
Ornamentation of fabric by using any wide variety of decorative pieces such as sequins, beads, crystals or rhinestones.

Embroidery
Ornamentation of a fabric by using any wide variety of decorative hand or machine stitches in the same or contrasting color with needlework.

Empire Waist
Waist begins just below the bust, which gives dresses and tops a flattering fit. This outline lends a high-waisted look to disguise the stomach area or emphasize the bust.

Eyelet
A type of embroidery with small holes that are cut in the fabric.

F

Fabric Content
The kinds of fibers or materials represented in a garment.

Fashionista
Describes a person who is focused on fashion and clothing styles, or is involved in the fashion industry. They may see fashion as an art form and stay up on current trends.

Faux Leather
Imitation or synthetic leather made of materials other than animal skins. Faux-leather is lighter and easier to clean than genuine leather.

Fedora
A type of hat traditionally made from a soft felt, a fedora can be fashioned from various fabrics and materials. The shape features a pinched front and a snapped brim.

Fit-and-Flair
Refers to a dress style characterized by a form-fitting bodice with a skirt that flairs out toward the hemline, often with pleats or folds.

Floral
Fabric printed with flower motifs.

Flounce Hem
A strip of decorative fabric attached to one edge to create a wide ruffle.

Funnel-Neck
Refers to a fitted, high neckline. Flatters a variety of body types and face shapes.

G

Geometric
Designs based on simple shapes such as the circle, square, triangle and trapezoid.

Georgette
A crinkled, sheer fabric that has a lightweight, flowing look.

Gingham
A medium or lightweight, plaid or checked fabric using more than two colors with a plain weave made of cotton.

Glam
A shortened version of the word glamorous. May refer to someone who wears sexy, attractive clothing and makeup to create an enchanting or captivating look.

Grosgrain
A strong, tightly woven corded fabric that has narrow, horizontal ribs. Commonly used as a trim.

Gusset
A rectangular piece of fabric sewn into the crotch area of shorts or pants to allow for a comfortable fit where the center back and center front seam meet the inside leg seam.

H

Halter
A dress or top that is tied around the neck, exposing the back and shoulders. Also called halter neck.

Handkerchief Hem
The hem of a dress, skirt or blouse that is gently jagged to form flowing points that resemble a scarf. This style works well on most figures. Also called hanky hem.

Hem
The edge of a piece of cloth or garment folded up and sewn down to enclose the cut edge so that it cannot unravel.

Henley
A collarless top with a placket below the round neckline, usually with two to five buttons. Resembles a collarless polo shirt.

High-Low Hem
A top, blouse, sweater, skirt or dress with an uneven hemline varying from long to short.

Hook-and-Eye Closure
Fastening system on garments with a small hook that is inserted into an eye loop.

Houndstooth
A small broken check pattern woven into a fabric.

I

Inseam
The seam in a trouser/pants or short that runs from the crotch to the hem. Leg length is measured based on the inseam. Most often refers to the inside seam of pants. It also refers to the measurement from the pant crotch down to where the pant leg falls on the shoe; the inner seam on the legs of a pair of pant.

J

Jacquard
A fabric with an intricately woven pattern.

Jersey
A stretchy, fine-knitted fabric used in T-shirts, sportswear and figure-hugging clothes. This fabric is great for draping.

Jumpsuit
A garment that incorporates a top and bottom in one piece.

K

Keyhole Neckline
A teardrop or round-shaped cutout that enhances the front or back neckline. Can have a fastened closure.

Kimono Sleeve
Cut as part of the bodice, a kimono sleeve has a wide, sloping shape.

Knee-Length
Refers to a dress or skirt that falls on or about the knees.

L

Lapel
The two triangular pieces of cloth that extend from the collar of a coat or suit jacket.

Leggings
Tight form-fitting pants. Sometimes referred to as tights.

Linen
Cloth woven from flax.

M

Macramé
Knotting technique that became associated with clothing in the 1960s and has had subsequent rebirths since the 1990s, mainly in the form of handbags.

Maxi
A skirt or dress with a long, full length, usually to the ankles.

Maxi Skirt
The name given to a long, full-length skirt.

Mesh
A knit, woven or knotted fabric with an open, net-like texture. Mesh is lightweight and breathable.

Metallic
A yarn or fiber made partially or entirely of metal and having a metallic appearance.

Mini Dress
A dress with a hemline well above the knees.

Mini Skirt
A skirt with a hemline well above the knees.

Monochromatic
All the colors (tones, tints and shades) of a single hue.

N

Natural Waist
A seam or waistband that secures or falls at the natural curve of the body. The indentation between the hips and the ribcage.

Nylon
A synthetic fiber known for its strength and stain resilience.

O

Oversized
Enlarged garments that alter the natural shape of the wearer.

Opaque
Not transparent or sheer.

P

Paillette
Small shiny disks, sequins, or spangles sewn on garments as decorations.

Paisley
A swirled pattern curved with teardrop shapes.

Patch Pockets
A small pocket found on pants or shorts which look like a piece of material sewn on to resemble a patch.

Patent
A high-gloss finish to leather and nylon.

Pattern
A repeated decorative design that can be printed, stitched or woven into a fabric.

Peasant
A romantic style top or dress commonly distinguished by a low neckline, ruffles or free-flowing material. Usually comfortable and easy to wear.

Peekaboo
A part of a garment that has been cut out to reveal skin.

Peep Toe
A shoe style where the front section is cut away to reveal the toes.

Pencil Skirt
A skirt that is cut in a straight line from the hips to the hem and usually knee-length. Can either taper in at the hem or fall straight down from the hip.

Peplum
A short full flounce or an extension of a garment below the waist, covering the hips.

Piping
A fabric trim stitched along the seams or edges of a garment. Trim color can be the same color as the garment or in a contrasting color.

Placket
An opening or slit in a blouse, skirt or dress usually covering fastenings that facilitates putting it on or taking it off. A piece of cloth reinforcing the opening used for closure of a garment.

Plaid
A patterned fabric with repeat horizontal and vertical blocks of color such as tartan.

Pleat
A type of fold formed by doubling fabric back upon itself and securing it in place.

Pointelle
A stitch that creates a tiny, open-worked pattern that adds a lightweight, delicate texture to clothing.

Polo Shirt
A short-sleeve pullover with a small, flat collar.

Poncho
A circular piece of fabric with a hole cut out for the head, usually worn as a cape or jacket.

Popcorn Stitch
A stitch formed by making one stitch into four, forming a nicely rounded compact oval that stands out from the fabric. Popcorn Stitches add texture to garments.

Poplin
A heavyweight and durable, tightly woven plain-weave fabric that has fine, crisscrossing ribs.

Puff Sleeve
A sleeve created by generous gatherings around the armhole. Sleeves can be varying lengths.

R

Racerback
A top where the back is cut away in a T-shape to reveal the shoulder blades.

Reversible
Any garment that can be worn inside out.

Ribbing
A knitting method where small rows are finely knitted together to form a texture.

Romper
A loose, one-piece garment combining a shirt and a short.

Ruched
A sewing technique where fabric is gathered in a repeating pattern creating a ripple appearance. Often used to create draping and texture in a garment.

Ruffle
An ornamental strip of fabric tightly gathered or pleated on one edge and applied to a garment.

S

Sateen
Crafted from a satin weave structure made with spun yarns to produce an ultra-soft fabric with a lustrous finish.

Satin
A silky, lustrous fabric with a smooth, shiny surface.

Scoop-Neck
A low, U-shaped or round neckline.

Seam
The join line formed when two pieces of fabric are sewn together.

Season
A time period that corresponds to the seasons of the year for which designers produce specific garment collections.

Shape
Various outlines or profiles that characterize the body form.

Sharkbite
A type of hem that has an uneven cut with two points in the front and two points in the back. The jagged look has the appearance of a shark bite.

Shawl Collar
A one-piece collar turned down to form a continuous line around the back of the neck to the front.

Sheer
A transparently thin fabric with a very fine knit, often used to produce tights, leggings and stockings in addition to lingerie and blouses.

Shelf Bra
A bra built into the garment.

Shift Dress
A loose-fitting dress with no defined waistline.

Shirt Dress
A dress that resembles a lengthened shirt, commonly worn with a belt.

Silhouette
The outline or contour that a garment creates when worn.

Silk
A soft, lustrous fiber made from the cocoon of a silkworm.

Skinny Leg
A form-fitting, slim-fit jean or pant with a snug fit through the legs and a small, tapered leg opening.

Skort
Shorts that have a front covering to resemble a skirt.

Smocking
An embroidery technique that gathers a section of the material into tight pleats, holding them together with parallel stitches so that it can stretch.

Spaghetti Straps
A very thin shoulder strap on a woman’s garment.

Straight Leg
A pant or jean with a uniform fit from the top of the pant leg to the bottom of the leg opening.

Suit
A set of clothes cut from the same fabric, designed to be worn together.

Surplice
A garment in which the two halves of the front cross diagonally, forming a V-neck.

T

Tailoring
Production in which garments such as suits are completely original and made to the measurements of the specific client.

Tank Top
A short, sleeveless top.

Terry
A pile fabric, usually of cotton, with loops on both sides.

Tie-dye
A pattern created by dyeing the fabric after knotting it to create an irregular pattern.

Tiers
Layers of fabric placed one above the other.

Tulle
A very fine mesh-like net fabric commonly used in evening wear and bridal gowns. Tulle comes in loose and tight weaves, giving the fabric different texture.

Tunic
A woman´s top that is either loose or tight-fitting, and extends to the hips or below. Depending on the length, can be worn as a shirt or a dress.

Turtleneck
A garment with a close-fitting, high collar that folds over and covers the neck.

Tweed
A soft, thick fabric woven from contrasting woolen yarns.

U

U-shaped Neckline
A deeply scooped neckline shaped like the letter “U” or a horseshoe.

Utilitarian
Clothing that primarily serves a functional purpose, such as providing warmth, protection or some other practical use.

V

Velour
A plush, knitted fabric or textile similar to velvet. It is usually made from cotton, but can also be made from synthetic materials such as polyester.

Velvet
A type of woven tufted fabric in which the threads are evenly distributed, with a short, dense pile, giving it a distinctive soft feel. Velvet can be made from either synthetic or natural fibers.

Vent
An opening in the fabric that allows for greater movement.

V-Neck
A neckline with a V-shaped front.

W

Wedge
A shoe with a heel that runs from the back of the shoe to the middle or front. The heel has a triangular or wedge shape.

Wide Leg
Refers to a type or style usually associated with jeans or pants where the entire leg portion is extra wide. Wide-leg pants are designed with a wider fit around the hip, thigh, knee and hem, which helps to balance out curvy hips.

Y

Yoke
A fabric cut that is seamed across the top of a shirt, trouser or skirt.