Glossary

Fashion Glossary

A-Line -

A term coined by Christian Dior to define a dress, coat or top that is close at the shoulders and gently flared at the hemline, resembling the letter A in design.

A-Line Dress -

Form-fitting bodice that flares out from the waistline to a full skirt.

Appliqué -

Stitching in which a design is created by sewing pieces of fabric (or other materials) together onto a fabric background.

back to top

 

Baby Doll -

A short nightgown whose hem terminates just below the hip. A baby doll is longer than a crop top, but shorter than a chemise.

Back Drape -

A length of material attached either at the shoulder or the waist that flows over the back to floor length. In some cases, it’s removable.

Back Yoke -

A fitted or shaped piece at the top of a skirt or at the shoulder of various garments.

Ballerina Flat or Ballet Flat -

A flat shoe with a thin, skid-proof sole, often with a drawstring or elastic top line.

Basque Waist/V-Waist -

A dropped waist that starts at, or just below, the natural waistline, and dips in the center creating a "V" shape.

Bateau Neck/Boat Neck -

A high, wide, straight neckline that runs straight across the front and back, meeting at the shoulders; it has the same depth in the front and back.

Bell Sleeve -

Long sleeve that flares at the bottom like a bell.

Besom Pocket -

A pocket trimmed with welting or reinforced stitching without a flap.

Bikini -

A brief, close-fitting two-piece bathing suit.

Bikini Panty -

Panties with full coverage in the front and back with high-cut sides.

Bodice -

The torso area of a woman’s dress.

Body Briefer -

A girdle/bra that extends from shoulder straps to the thighs.

Boning -

Used to give a garment support and body contouring. Once actually constructed of whale bone, today's boning is usually made of plastic strips slipped into sheaths sewn into the garment.

Boucle -

An uneven yarn made with threads of varying looseness for a luxurious, nubby texture.

Box-Pleated -

Two folds of fabric brought together to form a pleat.

Boy-Leg -

Shorts, undergarments, or swimwear that have a close fitting leg that reaches to the top of the thigh.

Broomstick Dress -

A dress (or skirt) characterized by numerous pleats and crinkled material.

Burnout -

Fabric with an alternating solid and sheer design, often in a floral or animal print.

Bustier -

A sleeveless, strapless top or dress held in place by boning, elastic or stretch fabrics. It is designed to help shape and enhance the bust line.

back to top

 

Cabochon -

Type of gem cut that is higher in the center, sloping toward the rim and smooth, rather than faceted.

Camisole/Cami -

A fitted top with spaghetti straps that can be worn alone or as a layering piece.

Camp Pockets -

Pockets that are sewn to the outside of the garment, usually squared off and characterized by seaming.

Cap Sleeve -

A small, short sleeve that sits on the shoulder, either forming a stiff cap or falling on to the arm to provide minimal coverage.

Capri Pants -

Three-quarter length pants designed to hit mid-calf – first popularized on the Isle of Capri.

Cardigan Jacket -

A usually collarless sweater or jacket that opens the full length of the center front.

Cargo Style -

Pants or shorts with patch pocket or bellows pocket with a flap (usually a button flap).

Carpenter Pants/Shorts -

Five-pocket pants characterized by a hammer loop – a stretch of material connecting the outside seam to the back pocket.

Chanel Style -

Anything that is elegant, simple and easy to wear. Little black dresses and suits. Multi-chain jewelry. Named after Coco Chanel, the French couturière.

Charmeuse -

A manmade, shiny, silk-like fabric.

Check -

A variety of patterns, including gingham, tattersall, houndstooth, plaid and checkerboard.

Chemise -

Usually a short nightgown hemmed below the hip but above the knee. Held up by thin spaghetti straps, the gown should fit snugly at the bust and upper torso and fall loosely and flow flatterringly past the hips.

Chiffon -

A lightweight, plain-weave, sheer fabric made with very fine, tightly twisted yarns. It is very strong, despite its filmy look.

Clog -

A casual shoe on a wood base, usually closed toe with open back.

Cloisonné -

A jewelry technique, featuring small areas of colored enamel separated by thin metal bands.

Column Skirt/Straight Skirt -

Also referred to as a pencil skirt, this skirt is a straight line with no flare or fullness at the hem or waistline.

Concealed Snap/Velcro®/Button Placket -

A slit in a garment where closures are hidden.

Continental Heel -

High narrow heel that is straight in front and curved in back, with square corners at the base.

Convertible Collar -

A rolled collar that can be worn open or closed. Sewn directly to the neckline.

Cotton Poplin -

Medium weight durable textured fabric made with cotton or cotton blends.

Cotton/Spandex -

A blend of lightweight, breathable fabric made with durable, stretchable, manmade fibers of polyurethane and natural cottons.

Covered Heel -

A heel that is covered with leather or man-made materials that match the color and texture of the vamp.

Cowl Neck -

A neckline featuring a piece of material attached to a garment at the neck, which may be used as a hood or draped loosely in a swag from shoulder to shoulder at the front neckline or back.

Crepe -

A fabric characterized by a crinkled, puckered surface or soft mossy finish. Comes in different weights and degrees of sheerness.

Crepe de Chine -

Fine, lightweight silk fabric made with highly twisted yarns in the filling, yielding a slightly pebbly texture.

Crew Neck -

A round neck with ribbed banding that fits close to the base of the neck.

Crinkle Cotton -

Cotton that is treated to give it a rich, plissé texture in the warp that requires no ironing.

Crochet -

A technique for making a garment or shoe with lacelike effect, involving a hook and yarn.

Cropped Pants -

Pants cut to a length just above the ankles.

Cropped Top/Jacket -

Hem is cut just above the waist.

Cutwork -

Designs cut out of a fabric and embroidered with purl stitch.

back to top

 

Décolleté -

When a garment is cut very low at the neckline, revealing shoulders, back and bosom.

Diamond Neck -

A diamond-shaped cutout that fastens at the front or back neckline.

Dolman Sleeve -

Cut as an extension of the bodice, the dolman sleeve is designed without a socket for the shoulder, creating a deep, wide armhole that reaches from the waist to a narrowed wrist. Also called a batwing sleeve.

Double-Breasted -

A style of closure in which one edge of a garment overlaps another with a double row of buttons or other fasteners.

Double-Tee Top -

A layered look with one T-shirt over another, usually connected.

Doupioni (also Douppioni or Doppione) -

Fabric made from silk-like yarn, or silk yarn reeled from double cocoons. The yarn has uneven slubs, rather than smooth, giving a decorative texture to the fabric.

Drape -

The hang or fall of fabric when made into a garment.

Draped Bodice -

An extra piece of material is draped over the bustline.

Dropped Shoulders -

Characterized by the shoulder/sleeve seam falling off the shoulder.

Dropped Waist/Low Waist -

A waistline that is sewn below the body's natural waistline – also called a low-slung waistline; intended to visually help lengthen the torso.

Duster -

A long, open summer coat, with or without a button closure.

back to top

 

Empire Bodice -

A bodice that ends just below the bust, sometimes gathered.

Empire Seams -

Seams that are sewn directly below the bustline.

Empire Waist -

This waistline begins just below the bust.

Envelope Hem -

A hemline open at the bottom with angular, overlapping flounces. Also applies to a shoe’s top-line detail, ie: envelope vamp.

Epaulette -

Any shoulder ornament, usually a button strap; often seen with braiding or other trim.

back to top

 

Faux -

A French word meaning imitation or fake. Used most often in connection with gems, pearls, leathers, and furs.

Fine-Gauge Knit -

A smooth sweater knit garment that has little or no texture.

Fishtail Train -

Fitted around the hips and flares out from the knee to the hemline, longer in the back.

Fitted Point Sleeve -

A long, narrow sleeve that tapers to a point that rests against the back of the hand.

Fixed Underwire -

With the look and feel of a traditional underwire bra, the fixed underwire offers the most support and definition for full-busted women.

Flare Pants -

Pants that flare at the hem. Also called bell-bottoms.

Flat-Front Pants -

Straight pants, often seamless and pocketless.

Fleece -

Wool or synthetic fabric with an extremely soft napped finish.

Floating Underwire -

The floating underwire has a sleek appearance and easy fit while providing more support for average to full-busted women.

Flood Pants -

Pants cut at, or just above, the ankle.

Florentine Neck -

A wide, square-cut neckline extending to the shoulders.

Form-Fitting/Slim-Fit -

Straight from waist to ankle except for a slight curve around the hip.

French Terry -

A woven fabric, usually cotton, with loop pile on one or both sides.

back to top

 

Gabardine -

A sturdy, durable, lightweight twill fabric of cotton, wool or rayon.

Gathering -

A technique that creates fullness by tightening threads in a row of stitching.

Gaucho -

Wide-legged pants or divided skirt reaching mid-calf.

Georgette -

Characterized by its crispness, body and outstanding durability, georgette is a sheer fabric of silk or synthetic material with a dull, slightly crinkled surface.

Godet -

A triangular piece of fabric sewn in to a skirt or sleeve for extra fullness.

Grommet -

An eyelet that is reinforced with metal or plastic; used as a durable closure or decoration.

Gros Point de Venise -

High relief needlepoint lace.

Guipure Lace -

Tape lace in large, dramatic patterns executed on coarse mesh.

back to top

 

Halter Top -

A sleeveless bodice with a high choke or wrap-neck that is usually backless.

Handkerchief Style -

The hem of a blouse or skirt that is gently jagged to form flowing points.

Hemstitching -

Decorative border in which some threads have been removed and some bundled to create an evenly spaced openwork.

High-Low Hem -

A hemline higher in the front or on one side for a dramatic flounce effect.

Hip-Huggers -

Low-slung pants, skirt or belt worn below the natural waist, creating the impression of a longer, leaner torso.

Hook-and-Eye Closure -

A 2-part fastening device consisting of a metal hook that catches over a bar or into a loop.

Horseshoe Neck -

A deep scoop neck resembling the shape of a horseshoe.

back to top

 

Inseam -

The inside seam of a pant leg.

Insole -

Inside of a shoe, usually covered by a sock lining.

Instep -

The arched middle part of the foot between toes and ankle.

Inverted Pleat -

Reversed box pleat with folds meeting at the top of the pleat.

back to top

 

Jacquard -

A raised design or pattern woven into a fabric as opposed to being printed on the fabric.

Jewel Neck -

A high round neckline resting simply at the base of the neck.

Jogger -

A 1-pc. swimsuit usually with a tank or maillot bodice, full-cut attached shorts, inner panty; hides tummy, hips, thighs; comfortable for swim, sports.

back to top

 

Kabuki-Style -

A full-cut, dramatic top with dolman-style sleeves and a collarless square or boat neckline.

Kangaroo Pocket -

A pocket formed by sewing a piece of cloth over the garment leaving two open ends.

Kidskin -

Shoe or glove leather from skins of goats; very soft and fine to the touch.

Kimono -

A long robe with wide sleeves traditionally worn with a broad sash.

Kitten Heel -

Popularized by the actress Audrey Hepburn, this chic little heel is about 1 ½ to 2" high with a feminine curve to it.

back to top

 

Laser-Cut Design -

A modern technique for cutting openwork patterns into fabric or leather using laser-equipped computerized equipment.

Leather -

The dressed or tanned hide of an animal. Any of various articles or parts made of leather. It is protective, comfortable, and it breathes.

Leg-of-Mutton Sleeve -

A loose, full sleeve, rounded from the shoulder to just below the elbow, then shaped to the arm, often ending in a point at the wrist.

Lettuce Edge -

A thin ruffle at neckline, cuff or hem.

Linen -

Fabric that is cooler, stronger and more absorbent than cotton; woven from threads made from the flax plant.

Lycra® Spandex -

The Du Pont® Corporation’s name for their trademarked brand of spandex stretch material.

back to top

 

Madras -

Shirting fabric woven in structured patterns; usually in fine cotton.

Maillot -

(Pronounced “my-yo”). A 1-pc. swimsuit with sewn-on straps and scoop, squared or sweetheart neckline; designed to flatter most figure-types.

Mandarin Collar -

A short, band collar, adopted from the close-fitting Asian collar.

Matte Jersey -

Fine-knitted fabric with a flat finish.

Mermaid -

This skirt hugs the body until it reaches the knees or just below and then ends in a dramatic flare.

Merrow Stitching -

The type and name of machine to stitch overlock edges of emblems.

Microfiber -

A silky synthetic material, usually woven polyester.

Microfleece -

A polyester fleece, very soft and dense, but not bulky or fluffy.

Mocassin -

Soft loafer-like leather shoes constructed with lacing to attach the sole portion to a U-shaped upper. Often elaborately beaded. Derived from designs of Native Americans.

Moisture-Wicking -

Synthetic materials that have been developed specifically to channel perspiration away from the body. Used in active wear and athletic shoe linings.

Moleskin -

A cotton or synthetic twill fabric that has a warm, brushed hand.

Mongolian Wool -

Long, curly woolen fibers used as a fluffy collar or trims on garments.

back to top

 

Natural Waist -

A seam or waistband that secures or falls at the natural curve of the body, which is the indentation between the hips and the rib-cage.

Noile -

Short fibers that create a slubbed effect on the surface of a fabric.

Notch Neck -

A round neckline having a small triangular cutout in the front center.

Notched Collar -

A two-piece collar that can be only worn open.

No-Waist Waistline -

Leaving the waistband out of pants or a dress to achieve an elegant simplicity and a smoother silhouette.

Nubuck -

Suede that is sanded down to a skin-like smoothness and softness.

Nylon/Lycra® Spandex -

With the combined strength of nylon and the supple elasticity of spandex, this fabric is ideal for foundation garments and shape-giving lingerie.

back to top

 

Off-the-Shoulder Neck -

A neckline that lies gently hovering across the top of the bustline with the shoulders uncovered.

Ombré -

Shadings of a single color from light to dark; or the gradual blending of several colors as in a rainbow.

Open Stitch -

Woven or knit fabrics that are loosely-stitched, achieving a semi-transparency.

Organza -

Fine, sheer, lightweight, crisp fabric with a stiff feel. It crushes or musses fairly easily, but it is easily pressed. Dressy type of fabric, sometimes has a silvery sheen.

Ottoman -

Plain, heavy woven fabric having flat, crosswise ribs.

Over-Dyed Denim -

Interesting color-on-color effect obtained by adding color dye during the washing process; the more dye added, the more intense the color.

Overskirt -

A skirt worn over another skirt.

back to top

 

Padded Bra -

A bra with padded lower cups for a fuller bustline.

Paillette -

Small glittering disk, similar to a sequin, sewn together with others on fabric to create a fishscale effect.

Paisley -

Fabric in rich, swirling print either woven in or screened. Based on fine Scottish wool fabrics designed in yarn-dyed colors.

Pareo -

A versatile rectangle of printed fabric worn as a shawl, swimsuit cover-up, skirt, dress or scarf. Based on garments worn by natives of Pacific Islands.

Patchwork Pattern -

Woven fabric that combines together pieces of different prints and designs with stitching sometimes quilted. Often seen in romantic or country looks. Can also be achieved in knits by combining elaborate patterns of stitching.

Pea Coat/Pea Jacket -

Heavy, warm hip-length woolen jacket with double-breasted front and a wide notched collar; originally worn by sailors in the color known as navy blue.

Peachskin/Peached -

Fabric that is processed to achieve a surface that has the soft sueded feeling of a fresh peach.

Peasant Top -

Romantic style often characterized with a low neckline, ruffles, or free flowing material.

Pedal Pushers -

Straight cut pants, often cuffed, that fall just below the knee.

Peek-a-Boo -

Any part of the garment which has been cut out to reveal skin.

Peplum -

Short flounce attached to a snugly fitting waistline.

Picot -

A row of small loops woven along the edge of fabric in ribbon or lace for a decorative effect.

Pieced -

A look created by sewing several pieces of material together to form the garment, much like a quilt.

Pigment-Dyed -

Yarns colored with material that is of animal, vegetable or mineral origin before they are spun into fabric.

Pintuck -

Narrow, sewn-down pleats, usually on the front of a garment.

Piqué -

(Pronounced “pee-kay”). Durable, knit or woven fabric with raised lengthwise cords or squares which are part of the weave.

Placket -

Slit at neckline in a dress, blouse or skirt, usually reinforced with a fold of fabric.

Plissé -

Fabric with a puckered surface. French word meaning gathering, folding, pleating.

Plus-Calf -

Boots with extra fullness at the wide part of the calf of the leg.

Poet Style -

See Bohemian.

Pointelle -

An open-hole stitch usually in the shape of a V, flower or diamond.

Polo Dress -

A long or knee-length sheath designed as an extension of the classic, cotton knit polo shirt.

Polyester -

A wrinkle resistant fabric made from synthetic resin.

Poncho -

Straight piece of fabric, usually waterproof, with an opening in the center for the head. Originally a Latin American garment in colorful woven fabrics that is used as outerwear.

Ponté Knit -

A tight knit weave that’s soft with just enough stretch for comfort.

Poplin -

A finely ribbed fabric, usually made of cotton.

Princess Seams -

Seams that can be found in the front or the back of a garment that create a figure-flattering, form-fitting shape.

Pucker Knit -

A plissé fabric with a crinkled or puckered effect; usually some spandex is required to create this textured, stretchy surface.

Puff Sleeve/Pouf Sleeve -

A full sleeve of varying lengths, created by generous gathering around the armhole.

Pump -

Slip-in shoe with a medium to high heel for day or evening.

Purl Stitch -

Knitting stitch employed to create a ribbed effect.

back to top

 

Raffia -

A fine palm leaf used for decorative effects. Can be woven into shoes or hats.

Raglan Sleeve -

A sleeve that extends in one piece to the neckline of the garment.

Rayon -

Silky, lustrous material manmade from natural fibers, with excellent drape and dyeability.

Ruching -

(Pronounced “rooshing”). Shirring or pleating for a textured effect, or an applied border of pleated ribbon for a ruffled effect.

Ruffle -

Strip of cloth, lace or ribbon at the edge of a garment that creates a rippled effect.

back to top

 

Saddle Stitch -

Small running stitches visible on the outside of shoes and accessories.

Safari Style -

Safari Style Garments adapted from bush jackets worn by hunters on African safaris; including such features as bellows pockets, belting and epaulettes.

Sandal -

A shoe held on by straps or a wide-banded vamp.

Sarong Skirt -

Long cloth that is wrapped around the entire body.

Sateen -

Lustrous cotton or rayon, this fabric has a smooth hand with a soft sheen.

Satin -

A smooth fabric woven with a glossy face and a dull back.

Scalloping -

Edges either cut, knit or crocheted in a tight wave pattern.

Scarf Print -

A print that imitates in part, or in full, the framed shape and elaborate design of a print designed for a scarf.

Scoop Neck/Round Neck -

A low, U-shaped or round neckline.

Seersucker -

Term derived from the Persian "shirushaker", a kind of cloth, literally "milk and sugar". The woven crinkle is produced by alternating slack and tight yarns in the warp.

Shantung -

A heavy fabric with a rough, slubbed surface usually made of silk or some other soft material (often rayon or cotton).

Shawl Collar -

A one-piece collar that is turned down to form an elegant, continuous line around the back of the neck to the front of a garment.

Sheath -

A straight narrow dress fitted to the body with vertical darts or a set-in waist.

Shelf Bra -

A bra that is built into a garment and offers the lightest support. It has a smooth, seamless appearance.

Shift -

A straight lined basic dress of the 1960s, hanging away from the body.

Shirred Waist -

A decorative gathering (as of cloth) made by drawing up the material along two or more parallel lines of stitching.

Shirring -

Gathering of material usually used for visual figure enhancement.

Shirt Dress -

A dress cut similar to a man’s shirt with buttons down the front.

Shrug -

A woman's small, waist-length or shorter jacket.

Silk -

An extremely soft, natural fabric made from the secretions of silkworms.

Skort -

Shorts that have a front covering to resemble a skirt.

Slide -

Any style of backless slip-on shoe.

Slingback -

Any shoe with an open back and strap around the heel.

Smock -

A dress that has a shoulder yoke with gathering for a full sweep.

Soft-Cup -

With light support and a sleek, smooth appearance, soft cups give just the right amount of support for small to average-busted women.

Soutache -

(Pronounced “sootash”). Woven, satin braid used as a decoration for dresses and suits.

Spaghetti Strap -

A thin tubular strap that attaches to the bodice, named for its likeness to a strand of spaghetti.

Spandex -

An elastic fabric made from a polymer containing polyurethane.

Split Neck -

A round neckline that looks like it has been cut in the center to form a small "V".

Square Neck -

An open-yoke neckline shaped in the form of a half square.

Stacked Heel -

A heel constructed from individual layers of leather or manmade material laminated together for strength, durability and pattern.

Stiletto -

A pumps or slingback with a high narrow heel.

Straight Legs -

Pant legs that are cut an equal width from the waist to ankles.

Stretch Cotton -

A cotton fabric usually with spandex or Lycra® spandex for greater comfort, a better fit and superior wrinkle resistance.

String -

A thong panty.

Suede -

Leather that is buffed on the inside to raise a slight nap -- giving it a textured appearance.

Sweetheart Neck -

A graceful, open yoke, shaped like the top half of a heart.

back to top

 

Tanga -

A high-cut panty.

Tank -

A top similar to an undershirt with narrow straps, a U neck and deep armholes.

Tankini -

A two-piece bathing suit with the upper portion resembling a tank top. A tankini provides the coverage of a maillot and the freedom of a bikini.

Tapered Legs -

Pant legs that become progressively narrower toward the ankles.

Tea Length -

A dress hemmed to end at the shins.

Tee -

Knit shirt with short or long set-in sleeves.

Thong -

A sandal held on the foot by a strap between the first and second toes.

Thong Panties -

Briefs with a single strap back, V-shaped front and elastic waist.

Tie-Cinched Waist -

The waist is pulled tight around the body with a tie.

Topline -

The upper edge of a shoe.

Topstitching -

Machine stitching showing on the right side of a garment for decorative effect. Also a shoe detail or decoration.

Trapeze Top -

Tank top style with a fuller bottom sweep.

Trench -

A waterproof overcoat styled along military lines.

Trumpet Sleeve -

Long sleeve that flares at the end like a trumpet.

Tube Top -

A strapless top made with stretch fabric.

Tulle -

A fine sheer net fabric.

Tumbled Leather -

Soft leather with a slightly pebbled grain.

Tunic -

A simple slip-on top that usually falls below the hips or longer. Usually has slits on side. 

Turtleneck -

A high, close-fitting, turnover collar used especially for sweaters and knit tops.

Tweed -

A coarse wool or synthetic fabric used chiefly for casual suits and coats.

Twill -

A basic weave characterized by diagonal wales on the face.

Twinset -

A cardigan sweater over a matching sleeveless or short-sleeve sweater.

Two-Way Stretch -

The quality of woven or knit garments made with spandex that enables them to stretch vertically and horizontally.

back to top

 

Ultrasuede® -

Registered trademark of Springs Mills, Inc. for luxury suede-like fabric.

back to top

 

Vamp -

The upper part of a shoe or boot covering the instep.

Variegated -

Having streaks, marks, or patches of different colors – distinguished or characterized by a variety of different colors.

Velcro® -

Trademark for a closing consisting of a tape woven with minute nylon hooks that mesh with loops on an opposite tape. First used by astronauts.

Velour -

Soft velvety thick pile fabric made of various fibers and yarns. Used primarily for coats, warm-up suits, knit shirts and dresses.

Velveteen -

Cut-pile fabric (often cotton) made with an extra filling yarn. The pile is not more than 1/8'' high. Used primarily for dresses, suits and sportswear.

V-Neck/V-Back -

An open yoke coming to a "V" shape midway down the bodice.

Voile -

A lightweight, open-weave fabric made from wool, silk, cotton, or rayon; soft, used especially for women's summer clothing.

back to top

 

Welt -

Pocket that has a folded strip of material sewn into the front portion of the pocket. The welt extends upward from the seam.

Wide Legs -

Pants or jeans that are cut extra full through the legs, with a wider leg opening.

Wing Collar -

A collar with projections that cover shoulder seams of bodices and doublets

Wrap Top/Surplice Top -

A bodice created by the cross-wrapping of fabric; may be in front or back, and associated with a high or low neckline.

back to top

 

Yarn-Dyed -

Yarn that has been dyed prior to the weaving or knitting of the garment. Yarn-dyed garments hold their color after repeated cleaning.

Yoke -

The fitted top of a garment across the shoulders in front or back, usually a separate piece seamed across the front and back; sometimes lined.

back to top

 

Zepel® -

Trademark of E. I. Du Pont for a compound used to make a fabric stain repellent.

Zip-In/Zip-Out Lining -

A completely removable lining inserted into a coat or jacket by means of a zipper or buttons around the coat facing. Also called a shell.

back to top