Fashion Glossary


Extraneous items including jewellery, hats, bags etc

Activewear refers to any type of clothing that is designed to be worn during an active sport, such as yoga pants, track pants, swim shorts, rugby shorts etc.

Acrylic fabric is a synthetic man-made polymer fabric. Acrylic Fabrics are lightweight, soft and tend not to crease. Acrylic is often used as a substitute to wool in jackets, jumpers, tops and scarves etc. However it is not as warm.

A dress or skirt silhouette that is narrower at the top, flaring gently out to make an ‘A’ shape silhouette. Flattering on most figures in particular pear shapes.

An anorak is a hooded sports jacket specifically designed for extreme weather conditions. (i.e. windy, snowy etc.) An anorak is also known as a Parka, Windbreaker or Windcheater

Androgeny refers to a look that is of indeterminate gender. Most commonly this look features garments and style traits that are commonly associated with the opposite gender to the wearer . i.e. women wearing ties, brogues and oversized dress shirts.

Applique is a method of decorating garments in which one fabric is applied to another, often with floral and leaf patterns, but can be of any design and are stitched around the edged.

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

Derived from the tartan of a West Scotland clan. Argyle is a knitted or woven pattern made from diamond shapes in two or more colours, on a solid background.

An asymmetric design is a garment in which one side is long than the other. Asymmetric cuts are common in necklines, collars and hems.

Ascot Collar
Typically worn with a cravat. An Ascot Collar is a tall collar with points turned up over chin.

Aviator Jacket
A leather jacket typically with a sheepskin collar. Styled around the leather jackets worn by fighter pilots in WWI and WWII.

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


Baby Doll
Popularized by Carroll Baker 1956 film of the same name - A Baby Doll dress is a short dress typically worn as a night dress, that has progressed into everyday wear. Often made of light chiffon fabrics and decorated with lace, ribbon and bows. A baby doll style consists of an empire neckline and micro skirt.

Bags come in all shapes and sizes. Made from leather, plastic or fabric; bags can be worn over the shoulder, across the body, on the back or carried in the hand. Although largely practical bags have evolved into a fashion statement all their own - stemming into clutches, totes, satchels, backpacks, purses, shoulder bags, messenger bags and many more. Designer bags are an easy accessible designer item.

A piece of cloth worn tied around the head or neck.

A narrow piece of fabric worn around the bust as a strapless alternative to a bra.

Popularized in the 1930's and 1980's. The batwing sleeve designed from a large triangular piece of fabric that connects the shoulder to the wrist and the wrist to the waist.

Bell Sleeve
A bell sleeve is a standard sleeve that flares out from the elbow or upper arm to create a bell shape.

Bellow Pocket
A large gusseted pocket that is often featured on jackets, pants and skirts. Often seen on safari inspired garments.

A strip of flexible material made of various materials such as leather, cloth, woven fabrics or chain. Traditionally worn around the waist to support trousers - belts have grown into a fashionable accessory often worn around the waist or under the bust.

Closely associate with French culture, a beret is a soft round hat traditionally made of felt or knitted wool.

Bermuda Shorts
Also known as Walking Shorts or Dress Shorts. Bermuda Shorts are semi-casual short trouser that falls to the knee. Bermuda shorts can be worn cuffed or uncuffed. The name is derived from the country Bermuda - where it was considered acceptable for business and military men to wear short trousers due to the heat.

Bertha Collar
A deep flat collar that falls from neckline to shoulder opening at front or back.

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.

Bishop Sleeve
A long sleeve that fullness in the sleeve and is held by cuff at wrist.

A jacket with long sleeves and lapels. Blazers can be worn formally or casually.

A women's shirt.

A style of jeans or pants that tapers to the knee and then slightly flares to the ankle. Worn by both men and women.

Woven or knitted fabric with a looped texture, popularized by fashion house Chanel.

Breton Stripe
Breton stripes consist of a thin blue horizontal stripes on a white background. Popularized by Coco Chanel in the 1930's and based on the traditional French sailor top.

Originating in the 17th Century Brocade is Italian for embossed cloth. A rich, ornate fabric with elaborate design - often reversible and featuring motifs such as flowers, foliage and scrollwork. Made with a jacquard loom.

A flat heeled, leather, laced-up shoe with a perforated pattern design.


Knit in a raised loop stripe resembling a twisted cable. A popular style of knitted sweater.

Cap Sleeve
A small sleeve (shorter than a normal sleeve) that sits on the shoulder.

Sleeveless outer garment that hangs from the shoulders.

Capri Pants
Women's slimily pants finishing just bellow the knee. Capri pants were first created by Emilio Pucci in 1949 and sold in his boutique on the island of Capri.

A knitted, woolen garment similar to a jacket with button or zipper fastening down front. Worn by men or women and named after James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan.

Cargo Pants
Cargo pants or shorts refer to pants with extra pockets designed for carrying a supplies etc.

Chelsea Boots
Ankle height slip on boot with elasticated side panels.

Loose fitting dress that hangs straight from the shoulders without a defined waist.

Cigarette Pants
Narrow fitted trousers that taper to the ankle.

Outwear worn over a garment to provide protection from the elements. Coats come in varying lengths and styles. Some popular coat styles include Duffel Coats, Trench Coats and Great Coats.

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.

Column Dress
A long, straight cut dress that does not have shaping.

A soft draping of fabric, cut so that the fabric can hang in soft folds. Often found on necklines and backs.

A decorative knitting technique created by looping and knotting fibre with a special needle.


A sewn in fold designed to give garments shape. In particular around the bust, waist and hip areas.

An area of fabric that has been artificially aged or worn. Commonly used on denim.

Dolman Sleeve
Similar to a batwing; a dolman sleeve has a large armhole, extends from the bodice and narrows at the cuff.

Duffel Coat
A heavy woolen cloth coat named after a town in Belgium. Traditionally has wooden toggle buttons.


Elbow Patch
Patch of fabric, usually leather or suede, worn over the elbow for reinforcement.

Superfluous ornament that adds beauty or elegance.

Method of decorating fabric with designs stitched in coloured thread or yarn.

Empire Line
Low cut dress with high waistline and short bodice.

Ornamental strip of fabric on the shoulder. Traditionally used on military uniforms as a device to hold shoulder belt and protect shoulder during wartime.

Evening Wear
An outfit suitable for formal events.

Extra Wide Leg
A type of style of pant which is designed with an extra wide fit around the hip, thigh, knee and hem that helps to balance out curvy hips.


Any material made by weaving, knitting, crocheting, or bonding yarns or threads to form a textile.

A fashion that becomes popular in a culture or subcultures relatively quickly, remains popular, often for a rather brief period, then loses popularity dramatically

A term which describes a person who follows fashion, or is involved in the fashion industry.

Military combat apparel.

Popular hat shape of the 1950s, made from a soft felt and noticeable by it’s center crease on the head. A pinched front and a snapped brim.

A red felt hat shaped like a truncated cone with a black tassel, originating in Fez, Morocco, also called a tarboosh.

Open weave knit, more often associated with hosiery and became a defining feature of Punk dress in the late 1970s.

A fan shaped addition to the train of a dress, popular in evening gowns a fish like train follows behind the wearer.

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

Much like toweling, a short pile fabric, popular in 1970s sportswear particularly shorts.

Fabric printed with flower motifs.

Shoes extending to the ankle, worn to protect the feet and made in a range of styles and materials.

Perfume from essential oils, aroma compounds and other elements to provide a pleasing and attractive smell.

A long sleeve flared at the wrist.


A piece of clothing made up of various pieces of fabric and fastenings. It is the variation in the style of these elements that defines different fashions.

A loop of cloth used to hold up the stockings.

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

A lightweight cotton cloth, usually checked. Typically combines white with red, blue, or green.

Music-related fashion from the early and mid 1970s with colorful ambisexual outfits, such as platform shoes and single piece glitter suits.

A color that refers to an Alloy popular in the 1890's which is a mixture of 90\% copper and 10\% tin.


A top for women with a single, sometimes tied strap that passes behind the back of the neck.

Harem pants
Loose fitting trousers tied or gathered at the ankle, very popular in Turkish dress and ‘belly dancing’.

Harris tweed
A soft thick tweed woven from hand dyed woolen yarns. Popular fabric for coats and suits for both men and women.

A piece of clothing worn on the head, with a high crown and brim.

Haute Couture
Exclusive custom-fitted fashions that are the pinnacle of the fashion industry. French for high sewing or dressmaking.

An element called a top piece that is added to the rear end of the sole of a shoe, lifting the back of the shoe away from the ground.

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

Style for skirts and trousers where the waist band fits low on the hip rather than the waist. Made popular in the 1960s where they were often worn with a large belt.

Tight-fitting knitted garments worn on the feet and legs.

A duotone textile pattern of checks and four-pointed shapes, used particularly for outerwear, jackets, and skirts.


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


A thigh or waist length coat that may be fastened with buttons, a zip, press studs or toggles.

Jacquard Weaving
A versatile weaving method that allows a wrap thread to be raised independently of the other wrap threads.

Decorative objects worn on the person or clothes, often made with precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum and gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.

Stretchy fine knitted fabric, used in t-shirts and sportswear and figure hugging garments; especially good for draping

Tight-fitting trousers worn for horse riding. Named after the city in India where they were originally made, they feature a tight fit on the lower legs but are flared above the knee.


A one piece garment from Scotland made from tartan or plaid cloth.

Japanese coat like garment, Obi sash belted with long wide rectangular sleeves. Fabrics used are often luxurious and highly decorated

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

Very narrow pleats pressed to form regular sharp pleats to skirts and dresses. Particularly popular from the 1920s to the 1950s.

A method for producing cloth from wool or other types of thread, in which loops or stitches are pulled through each other using two or more needles.


Shiny fabric made with either gold or silver metallic threads. Luxurious and glamorous.

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

A material produced from the tanned hides and skins of many different animals, but usually cattle, sheep,pig and goat.

Leg warmers

Knitted footless socks, worn by ballet dancers to conceal warmth during and after exercise. Come in a wide range of colours.

The various different divisions of a garment that are used to describe its shape and appearance.

A variety of garments used by women as underwear, made from materials such as silk, cotton, satin, polyester and nylon.

A graphic symbol designed to represent the character of a company, product, service, or other industry.

Look Book
A publication featuring styles and conceptual creative ideas, influences, and inspirations.

Man made stretch fabric made from elasticated yarns. Since introduction in 1958, lycra has proved an essential component in underwear and other figure hugging garments made popular in the 1980s, especially in sportswear.


Knotting technique popular in home furnishings. Became associated with clothing in the 1960s and has had subsequent rebirths since the 1990s mainly in the form of handbags.

Mary Jane
A flat female shoe with rounded, closed toes and a buckled strap across the instep.

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

Merino wool
Very fine woolen cloth made from the merino sheep. Popular for outdoor garments such as jackets and sweaters.

A very short skirt that barely covers the buttocks.

Mini skirt
Short skirt with a hemline that is usually at least 20cm above the knee.

A silk-like fibre made from the hair of the angora goat.

The use of a single color.

Muscle back
A feature usually in vest tops where the back is cut away to reveal the wearers shoulder blades. Very popular in sportswear for both men and women.


Natural Fibres
Fibres from plants and animals that can be spun into thread such as wool, silk, linen, cotton and hemp.

A man made fabric, used for wetsuits and other water sports attire. Has a stiff, body hugging quality that seals body heat in

A strong, lightweight material with elastic properties used for clothing and other items.


Non transparent or sheer.

Open Back
Refers to a back style that shows the entire back without the use of straps, sheer fabric, etc. to obstruct the view of the back. Open Back is best for those who want to show off their backs and to those whose aim is to dress very sexy and still look sophisticated. Open Back is usually a Halter Neckline to achieve that very Open Back look with no other obstruction.

Enlarged garments, scales are played with to alter the natural silhouette of the wearer.


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

Any part of a garment that has been cut-out to reveal skin or underwear.

An undergarment worn by women under a skirt, dress or sari.

A patterned, woolen cloth with repeat horizontal and vertical blocks of colour such as tartan.

A fold of doubled fabric that is secured in place.

A bag-like container created in a garment for carrying small items.

An outer garment comprising a single sheet of fabric with an opening for the head and perhaps the arms.

Designer clothes sold in standard sizes rather than made to measure.

An inked design applied with pressure to fabrics such as cotton, silk or polyester.

A garment which is put on by being pulled over the head. Such as a jumper or sweater.


Padding technique enclosing a layer of wadding between two pieces of fabric, held in place by sewing a diamond pattern over fabrics


Racer back
A feature usually in vest tops where the back is cut away to reveal the wearers shoulder blades. Very popular in sportswear for both men and women.

A garment such as a coat that can be worn inside out.

A knit pattern that produces vertical stripes of stockinette stitch alternating with vertical stripes of reverse stockinette stitch.

(pronounced roosh) Fabric gathered and sewn into a seam shorter than the length of the fabric. Often used for trim but also used to create draping and texture within the body of the garment


A cloth, usually woven from silk, which has a lustrous top surface and a dull back.

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

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

Various outlines or profiles that characterise the body form.

A semi-transparent and flimsy fabric with a very fine knit, often used to produce tights, leggings and stockings in addition to lingerie and blouses.

Footwear extending to the ankle, worn to protect the feet and made in a range of styles and materials such as leather, plastic, rubber or canvas. Types include: espadrilles, flip-flops, slide, ballet flat, mary jane, ankle strap, clog, stiletto

The outline or contour that a garment creates when worn.

Spaghetti Strap
A very tiny shoulder strap used on garments such as camisoles, cocktail dresses, and evening gowns.

Totally man made fabric, shiny to look at popular sportswear fabric often used in swimwear, leotards and hosiery. Very popular in the 1980s.

A band of cloth or a shawl worn around the shoulders and left to fall down the body front. Such as a mink or fox-fur stole.

A straight band or line differing colour to the material on either side of it.

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


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

Tank Top
A sleeveless t-shirt worn by both men and women.

Tapered Leg
Pant legs that become progressively narrower toward the ankle. Tapered Leg has a relaxed fit through the thigh and knee and tapered from the knee to the ankle.

A repeated multicolored, square pattern in wool cloth created from the coloured threads used to weave it.

Tea length
A dress or gown that extends to the end of the shin.

A narrow piece of cloth that passes between the buttocks and attaches to a band around the hips. Can also describe sandals attached to the wearer’s foot by a thong positioned inside the big toe.

A piece of cloth that is tied with a knot at the throat and worn under a shirt collar.

Top Hat
A tall, flat crowned, broad-brimmed hat.

The long, rear part of a skirt or dress that trails behind the wearer.

Trench Coat
A double-breasted, loose belted knee-length raincoat made of waterproof heavy-duty cotton drill or poplin.

A very fine mesh like net fabric, used in eveningwear and bridal gowns.

A long or short, usually sleeveless, straight, tubular garment.

Formal wear comprising a black, ventless dinner or smoking jacket with silk or satin lapels.

Twin Set
A matching cardigan and jumper set worn by women.


U- Shaped neckline
A deeply scooped neckline shaped like letter "U", where it derived its name or shaped like horse shoe.

Refer to rigid U-shaped rods arcing underneath the base of some bra cups. Underwires are used for support and structure and give the wearer a more pushed-up bust appearance, hence enhances the cleavage.

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


V-shaped neckline
A neckline shaped or cut like letter "V", where it derived its name.

A fabric produced with different coloured yarns or threads to provide streaks, marks, or patches of different colours.

Similar to velvet, Soft material of short pile. Used for tracksuits and other sports wear items, made popular in the 1970s.

Closely woven short pile fabric, soft and rich to touch

An opening in the fabric that allows for greater movement.

Garments originating in, or whose design is inspired by, a previous era.

The current fashion trend.


A sleeveless, upper-body garment cut at waist level with a vertical, button-fastened front opening worn over a dress shirt and underneath a suit jacket of a three-piece suit.

The pattern of interlinking threads or yarns called the wrap and weft created during the cloth production process on a loom.

Wide Leg
Refers to a type or style usually associated with jeans 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.

A fibre found in the coats of sheep and other animals of the caprinae family, such as sheep, goats, alpacas and rabbits.


Any long, continuous piece of entwined fibre that is used for the production of textiles or knits.

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


The moral and intellectual trends of a given era. Taken from the German zeit meaning time and geist meaning spirit, the term’s literal translation is ‘the spirit of the age’.

Zipper Pull
Refers to a metal accessory that allows for the opening of a zipper; usually in various shaped and sizes.