Fashion Glossary/Women


Style line for apparel in which a dress fits at the shoulder or a skirt fits at the waist and, then, gradually flares out to a wider hemline, causing it to resemble the letter 'A'.


A distinctive feature that accentuates the look and style of a garment. Can be a touch of color, embroidery, etc, that makes a designer's work look unique.
A gender-bending look, neither male nor female but a combination of both.

Jean-Paul Gaultier

Cutting shapes from textile fabrics and attaching them to another fabric or garment in order to decorate the base material. The ornamental fabrics are most often sewn to the base fabric, but may also be attached with adhesive.

Christopher Kane

Knitted or woven in a pattern of diamond-shaped figures of different colors.


A fur of young lambs, with lustrous, closely curled wool, from Astrakhan, a city of southwest Russia.



Designs in which each side of an item of apparel is different in structure than the other side. In a symmetrical design, both sides are the same. Asymmetry may be seen in areas such as collars, necklines, closings or hemlines.

McQ Alexander McQueen

Aviator Sunglasses
The classic is the Erik Estrada version as worn by Francis "Ponch" Poncherello in CHiPs. Now there are slews of take-offs in everything from leather-coated wire to plastic frames from every designer.

Oliver Peoples


Ballet Flats
Light, flat, hard-soled shoes resembling those worn by a ballet dancer.


A term employed in menswear in a variety of applications to mean an item custom-made to the buyer's specification of design, fabrication, lining, details, etc.
Bias Cut
The bias is the diagonal direction of a woven fabric. Unless woven from stretch yarns, fabrics stretch more in the bias direction than in the length or width. Designers can take advantage of this stretch by manipulating the fabric so that the bias areas fall in ways that cause the designs to fit the body more closely or drape into soft folds.

Matthew Williamson

Boat Neck
A high, wide, straight neckline that runs straight across the front and back, meeting at the shoulders having the same depth in the front and back.


Boiled Wool
Wool fabric that has been processed to make it more dense and compact by subjecting the woven fabric to heat, pressure, and moisture.


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

Vera Wang

You know that Britney Spears song, '...Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman'? A bootie is not a shoe, not quite a boot. Get it?

Jimmy Choo

A pant style that tapers to the knee and then flares out gently so as to accommodate the bulk of the boot.


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

Oscar de la Renta

Bubble Skirt
A voluminous skirt, somewhat resembling a balloon.

M Missoni

Button-Down Collar
Designating a collar, as on a shirt, having points fastened by small buttons to the front of the garment.



A full-length garment with elbow-length or long sleeves consisting of a loose, usually brightly colored waist-length or ankle-length tunic.

Roberto Cavalli

A woman's underbodice with shoulder straps usually made of satin, silk or cotton.


Cap Sleeves
A small short sleeve that sits exactly on the shoulder or falling just on the arm.

Ralph Lauren

Capri Pants
Popularized in the 1950's, Capri Pants (aka Peddle Pushers) hit below the knee, but well above the ankle and are named after the Mediterranean island of Capri. (Some dictate that Capris must go to mid-calf length, thus actually being a little longer than Peddle Pushers.)


Car Coat
Car coats are outwear which were originally designed for driving in open cars, which could get cold in the evening or at high rates of speed. The main distinguishing feature of a car coat is the A-line style, flat front, and mid-thigh length. These features make it practical for wearing in a car, because they allow a driver to move comfortably while staying warm.


Cateye Sunglass
A style of women's eyewear with flared outer edges where the arms join the frame that gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s and have since had a resurgence in the fashion world today.

The Row

Chalk Stripe
A stripe in a parallel formation in suiting fabric which is wider and more muted than a pinstripe.
A smooth fabric of cotton made by weaving white or unbleached threads across a colored warp - used most commonly for shirts.

Old Navy

Chandelier Earrings
Long shoulder-dusting earrings incorporating diamonds, precious gems, crystals or beads lending them the look of chandeliers.

Harry Winston

Charmeuse (pronounced shar-MOOSE) is a washable, man-made, silk-like fabric. Unlike silk, charmeuse does not have to be dry cleaned making it a practical substitute for silk in some of today's easy-care lingerie. A couple of short minutes in a warm drier will remove any wrinkles.

Roberto Cavalli

The general shape of a 'V' or a triangular shape used in design.

Marc Jacobs

A fine transparent or almost transparent plain-weave fabric of silk, nylon or rayon.

Nina Ricci

A style made popular in fashion during the eighteenth century by Europeans discovering Chinese imports and developed an intense interest in Chinese clothes, porcelain, tea, and other items. These items were known as chinoiserie. They soon began to incorporate Chinese techniques in their own European designs and soon printed cloth with Oriental scenes of pagodas, temples, and other Chinese-inspired objects and prints.  

Jason Wu

Chukka Boots
A short, ankle-length boot having two or three pairs of eyelets. Also referred to as desert boots, they were originally designed to be worn in the desert by British troops and have become fashion staple for both man and women alike.

Golden Goose

Circle Skirt
A skirt cut so that the hem of the skirt forms a circle without any gathers at the waist.

Christopher Kane

The cloche is a fitted, bell-shaped hat that was popular during the 1920s (cloche is the French word for bell) . Cloche hats were usually made of felt so that they conformed to the head.

Lisa Battaglia

Coat Dress
A coat dress is a tailored dress featuring button, toggle or tie closures similar to those found on outerwear. Often, the coat dress is made in materials similar to those found in suits: wool, wool blends and menswear prints.

Jil Sander

Color Blocking
Usually three or more distinctively different colors separated by shapes or geometric areas on a garment or accessory.

Band of Outsiders

Contour Belt
One that’s curved to form-fit the body, the style is often wider in the back and narrower towards the buckle.

Oscar de la Renta

A durable usually cotton pile fabric with vertical ribs or wales.


A slim fitting top, usually strapless with stiff boning inside as support and either laced up or with hooks as closures, sometimes used as a substitute for a blouse.

Agent Provocateur

Costume Jewelry
Not made of genuine gems or precious metals. Pioneered in the 1920s by Coco Chanel, she showed imitation pearls, emeralds and rubies for daytime as copies of her own real jewels. Now, a mainstay of almost every store and designer.

Suzanna Dai

Cowl Neck
A neckline with material falling loosely from shoulder to shoulder forming soft graceful folds hanging either in the front or back of the garment.

Rick Owens

Crepe de Chine
A lightweight plain weave fabric usually of silk or man made filament yarns with a slight crepe texture produces by using high twist yarns. Used in blouses and dresses.


A rigid bracelet with a gap in the material, usually on its reverse side. The opening lets one easily slip the bracelet over a wrist.



D’Orsay Shoe
Any shoe that has a closed heel and toe but which is cut down to the sole at the sides. It can be made with a heel of any type and any style of vamp (front). This style is one of several fashions named after the Count d'Orsay, a fashionable dandy living in Paris in the mid-1800s.

Jimmy Choo

Day To Evening
A look that can take you from a day in the office straight to a rocking party the same night with just a change of accessories.
Referring to the area of the neckline and bosom when a garment is cut very low.


Is a term used to describe clothing that has been taken apart and put back together in a new unexpected way, or looks unfinished, raw and as though it may be deteriorating.

Costume National

Demi Bra
This style of bra has a half cup, and covers the nipple and approximately half the breast.

Agent Provocateur

Diamond Shape (aka ‘Cut’)
The shape of a diamond traditionally used in an engagement ring setting.
Dolman Sleeve
A sleeve that is very wide at the armhole and tight at the wrist often cut in one piece with the bodice.


Trousers that are continuousy narrow down the entire leg.

3.1 Phillip Lim

The art of creating a dress, top or skirt simply by arranging fabric around a body using the natural fall of the fabric and techniques like pleating and gathering. A form of draping would be the sari.

Helmut Lang


Something that embellishes any clothing, shoes or accessories and is ornamental. It is typically sewn on or attached upon any given material.

Alexander McQueen

Embroidery is an ancient variety of decorative needlework in which designs and pictures are created by stitching strands of some material on to a layer of another material. Most embroidery uses thread or wool stitched onto a woven fabric. Embroidery very often takes on a boho or ethnic vibe.

Moschino Cheap & Chic

Empire Waist
Location of the waistline just under the bust line. The name of this style comes from the high-waisted styles popular during the reign of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1804-1814).

Donna Karan

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



Fair Isle
A traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colors and is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island north of Scotland.


Field Coat
Originally designed for hunting and is typically constructed from cotton canvas and has underarm gussets for ease of movement as well as multiple pockets. Stylized versions are now available from a host of designers.

J. Crew

The level of perfection with which a garment is completed. In the best garments, the inside will look as complete as the outside.
Fishtail Skirt
Tightly fitted around the hip and flaring out from the knee to the ground - also referred to as a mermaid skirt. It is called a fishtail skirt because it resembles the shape of a fish's tail.

Rick Owens

Form Fitting
This style closely skims the body and emphasizes the natural curves. (aka Body Hugging)

Hervé Léger

    An ornamental braid or coat fastenings consisting of spindle-shaped buttons and loops.

Yves Saint Laurent

Funnel Neck
A type of garment neckline that is wide and high, resembling a funnel, attached to the body of the garment, rather than sewn at the neckline.

Alexander McQueen


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

Jason Wu

A cotton fabric, usually woven of two colored yarns in a checked design.

J. Crew

Gladiator Sandals
A flat sandal that has several straps across the top holding the sole to the foot and a strap around the ankle.

Michael Kors

A triangular panel set into a skirt or sleeve to add extra flare.

Junya Watanabe

A term used to describe the direction of the weft (vertical yarns). Clothes are traditionally cut on the grain, i.e. along the length of a fabric. On the cross grain refers to cutting fabric in the direction of the warp (horizontal yarns).


A sleeveless top whose cut leaves the shoulders bare and is quite often backless.


Handkerchief Hem
A hem that falls in several graceful points.

Ann Demeulemeester

Harem Pants
Full trousers pleated or gathered into a band at the ankle. Originally worn by Turkish women, then as eveningwear in early 20th century, they gained wide popularity in the 1930s. The style is all about luxe comfort.


Haute Couture
High fashion, hand made, staggeringly expensive one of a kind pieces that often require three or more fittings. To qualify as an haute couture piece a garment must follow several strict guidelines. For a label or business to qualify as a couture house it must belong to the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture in Paris.

Elie Saab

A collarless pullover shirt, characterized by a 4-6" long slit beneath the round neckline, usually having 2-5 buttons.


Hidden Platform
A platform shoe or boot who's platform has been concealed by an extension of the material used in the shoe's design.

Ralph Lauren

Low cut pants, whose waist rests on or below the hip. An international look that swept the world.
The checks that make up houndstooth are broken/uneven and pointy-shaped (like a hound’s tooth). The houndstooth pattern is traditionally black and white but can be found in a variety of colors and on a variety of garments and accessories nowadays.



A handicraft where the yarns are carefully tie-dyed in a particular design before they are woven together.


The arched middle part of the foot between toes and ankle.
A knitted design resembling a mosaic that is visible on both sides of a fabric.

Emilio Pucci


A fabric which can be made of made of wool, silk, cotton, rayon or a synthetic. It's stretch properties as well as good draping and crease-resistant qualities makes it very comfortable to wear and an ideal choice for travel and packing.

Roberto Cavalli

Riding pants, with loose fabric at the hip and fitting tightly from knee to ankle.

Ralph Lauren


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

Proenza Schouler

Kimono Sleeve (aka Pagoda Sleeve)
A sleeve that is narrow at the top where it fits the upper arm closely, then gradually flares out to become wide at the bottom. The shape is similar to a funnel, and so this sleeve style may also be called a funnel sleeve.

Kiki de Montparnasse

Kitten Heel
A short heel about 1 ½ - 2 inches high with a distinctive curve. Considered very feminine and pretty.

Jimmy Choo


An extension of the collar in a jacket that folds out. The width and length of the lapel varies widely from season to season and designer to designer.

Balmain (detail)

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

Stella McCartney

The inner layer used to cover the inside of garment. Usually of a soft, smooth fabric - the right lining can add give an outfit a more flattering fall.
Little Black Dress (LBD)
A black cocktail dress that has become a fashion staple after being first introduced by Coco Chanel. Reinvented every season.



Madras is a pattern that originated in a city in East India, formerly named Madras. This summer fabric style is distinguished by a pattern of colorful checks and stripes. The stripes of a madras check or plaid consist of different colored stripes that cross each other to form uneven checks. Madras has become a popular preppy pattern for shorts, casual shirts, sport coats and neck ties.

Steven Alan

(Pronounced ‘my-yo‘). A one-piece swimsuit with sewn-on straps and scoop, squared or sweetheart neckline; designed to flatter most figure-types.


Mandarin Collar
A short band stand up collar adapted from the traditional Chinese collar.


The feathers of the Marabou Stork, which are native to Africa, are harvested from their wing covers and tails (the birds are raised in domestic flocks and not harmed) and are typically used to accent jackets, dresses and shoes.


Mary Janes
A shoe styled after school children's shoes. Traditionally with a rounded toe and a flat heel, the chief characteristic of a Mary Jane is the strap over the top of the foot. Today, Mary Janes can be of any heel height.

Saint Laurent

Maxi Dress
A Maxi Dress is a floor- or ankle-length informal dress, formfitting at the top and loose flowing at the bottom, cut to flow over the body. They are usually made out of cotton.

Donna Karan

A style of clothing or accessories for men and women that borrow from military inspirations such as epaulettes, army green, field coats, camouflage and the like.


A handbag for evening that is made of metal pieces that are often highly ornamented with jewels, worked metal, or other decorative techniques. These bags vary in shape, from square, oval or oblong or based on whimsical designs of animals, plants or monuments, often having a short chain by which to carry them.

Judith Leiber

A trend in design where clothes are stripped down to their most basic elements. A look characterized by simple forms and basic color schemes. A minimalist look.

Rick Owens

A 'mini' is a very short skirt or dress falling mid-thigh or higher.


A heavy durable cotton fabric with a short thick velvety nap on one side.

Helmut Lang

Motorcycle (Moto) Boot
A fashion boot styled after men's boots that were designed to protect the driver when driving a motorcycle. These boots typically have a low chunky heel, are made from a thicker leather or suede and are adorned with o-rings or buckles.

Jimmy Choo

Motorcycle (Moto) Jacket
Based on a traditional black leather men's version from the 1950's, you will now find them in a variety of fabrications and color options as well as various lengths, from long to cropped.

Christopher Kane

A shoe without any back strap.



The most popular necklines are V-neck, square neck, round neck, boat neck, scooped neck, halter and keyhole.
Notched Lapel
Having an indentation in a collar in which the seam between the collar and lapel on each side forms a notch.

Rachel Zoe


A French word meaning shaded describing the appearance of related colors shading from light to dark or vice versa within one garment. A popular all-season pattern for accessories and clothing.

Burberry Prorsum

A stiff see-through fabric - usually silk, rayon, or nylon.



Pagoda Sleeve (aka Kimono Sleeve)
A sleeve that is narrow at the top where it fits the upper arm closely, then gradually flares out to become wide at the bottom. The shape is similar to a funnel, and so this sleeve style may also be called a funnel sleeve.

Kiki de Montparnasse

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

Sigerson Morrison

Palazzo Pants
Extremely wide-legged pants for women.

Roberto Cavalli

Panama Hat
A natural-colored, hand-plaited hat (which is then often dyed) made from leaves of the jipijapa plant of South and Central America.


A Tahitian word for a wraparound skirt. The term applies to any piece of cloth worn wrapped around the body, worn by males or females.

Jean-Paul Gaultier

Patch Pocket
A flat pocket applied to the outside of a garment.


Pieces of cloth of various colors and shapes sewn together to form a garment or accessory.

Proenza Schouler

Patent Leather
A leather with a hard smooth glossy coated surface.

Jimmy Choo

Originally, a heavy woolen double-breasted jacket originally worn by sailors, o\it has now been adapted in every color and fabric for both men and women.


Peak Lapel
The peak lapel has two points of fabric that run on both sides of the jacket and project upwards. The fabric narrows even further upon the point nearing the lapel and the collar, and slowly disappears into the jacket. The peak lapel forms a broad "V-shaped" opening on the jacket.


Peasant Top
A romantic style top, often characterized with a low neckline, ruffles, or free flowing material.

Jil Sander

Peep Toe
A shoe which has an opening at the end that shows part of the toes, but not the whole toe line.

Jimmy Choo

A flared section in the construction of a jacket or blouse that extends a short distance below the waistline. Peplums may be sewn to the bodice, cut in one with the bodice, or may be a separate section attached to a belt.

Burberry Prorsum

Pinstripes are thin, vertical stripes that are narrower than pencil or chalk stripes. Pin stripes are usually one to two yarns thick and are sometimes broken. The widths between the stripes vary but are always wider apart than hairline stripes.

Ralph Lauren

A pleat that has been stitched down along the length of a very narrow width (no more that a few millimeters). A popular technique to create added texture.

Isabel Marant

Platform Heels
Shoes with thick soles made of wood, cork, plastic or any other materials creating the illusion of height without the discomfort of regular heels.

Saint Laurent

A technique to create volume in a garment by folding fabric and stitching it down at the top of the fold. Types of pleats include knife pleats (all folds facing one direction), box pleats (two flat folds in opposite directions with edges of the fabric meeting underneath), and inverted pleats (similar to a box pleat but with the fullness on the outer side).

Azzedine Alaïa

A puckered finish given to fabric by treating it with a caustic soda.

Dion Lee

Point Collar
This collar point suitably should have a width of about 2 ½ - 3 inches and this would generally fit most average weight man. It also has a much smaller gap between the collar points and so can be worn without a tie as well.


A blanketlike cloak having a hole in the center for the head.

Tomas Maier

A plain strong cotton fabric with very fine ribbing used in a variety of clothes such as dresses, skirts, pants, shirts, jackets and ties for both men and women.

Ralph Lauren

A French term for ready-to-wear. A lower and more popular price point for garments from most design houses, typically what is available 'on the racks' to buy in stores (as opposed to haute couture).
Prince Of Wales
A woolen fabric with a woven twill design of small and large checks, originally created for men's suits but now also used in womenswear.

Emporio Armani

Polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated as PVC, is the third-most widely produced plastic. It can be made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers, the most widely used being phthalates - it is in this form that it is used in clothing.



Padded, filled, or stitched in the manner of a quilt.



An article of clothing with a T-shaped back behind the shoulder blades to allow ease of movement.


Raglan Sleeve
A commonly-used sleeve that extends in one piece to the neckline of the garment with slanted seams from the armhole to the neck.

Derek Lam

A one-piece garment with the lower part shaped like bloomers.


Creating gathers in cloth by pulling it between two or more lines of stitching. Also known as shirring.

Donna Karan


A garment consisting of a length of printed cloth wrapped about the waist that is worn by men or women. Originated from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Pacific islands.

Emilio Pucci

A light thin fabric, generally cotton or rayon, with a crinkled surface and a usually striped pattern.

J. Crew

A small piece of shiny, often colored metal foil or plastic, usually round, used to decorate a garment.

Hervé Léger

A heavy fabric with a rough knubby surface, made of spun wild silk.

Armani Collezioni

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.


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

Michael Kors

Shirring (Aka Ruching)
A gathering made in cloth by drawing the material up on parallel rows of short running stitches.


Shirt Dress
A shirt dress borrows details from a man's shirt and is frequently made up in crisp fabrics like cotton. It has a looser fit with waist definition given by a belt. Button fronts and forgiving fit make this a flattering look for most bodies.

Alexander McQueen

A shoe-boot. Duh?!

Christian Louboutin

A woman's cropped, cardigan-like garment with short or long sleeves that is typically knitted, a shrug looks like it only consists of a back and sleeves. It is a cousin to a bolero jacket.

Michael Kors

Key shapes a designer uses in his show. Popular silhouettes are A-line, H-line, Bell shaped, Empire line, etc.
Shorts that have a flap in the front so as to resemble a skirt.


A shoe with a strap that wraps around the back of the heel.

Giuseppe Zanotti

Spaghetti Strap
An ultra-thin strap generally used in tops and dresses.

Emilio Pucci

Spectator shoes are shoes with two or more distinct materials or colors, pinked edging and perforated details.

Ralph Lauren

Spread Collar
A shirt or jacket collar with a wide spread between the points.

Jane Post

Stacked Heels
A high heel made of different layers of wood or material simulating wood.

Diane von Furstenberg

Straight Legged
Pants that have been cut straight from the hip to the floor, i.e. of equal width throughout.


Sweetheart Neckline
A low-cut neckline with two curves over the bust, making the bodice look heart-shaped.

Giambattista Valli


Tank Top
Any short sleeveless top with a loose armhole.


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.


Tartan Plaid
Tartan plaid is the pattern that is most often found on Scottish kilts. This plaid consists of vertical and horizontal or diagonal stripes that cross each other to form different sized checks.

Vivienne Westwood

A check pattern that consists of thin, regularly spaced stripes in alternating colors that are repeated both horizontally and vertically. The stripes that create the tatersall pattern often come in two different colors and are usually darker than the background color.

Ralph Lauren

Tie-dye is a method of dyeing clothing originally popularized by members of the hippie subculture. Clothes are tied, either with string or rubber bands into some sort of pattern. The clothes are then dyed by submerging them or by squirting dye solution onto them. Where the fabric is tied, some areas do not absorb the dye which forms a pattern.


Tranny Shoe
A slang term that describes shoes that over-the-top transvestites or female impersonators wear that has been embraced by top fashion houses for 'real' women - usually impossibly high and very dramatic.

Christian Louboutin

Tube Top
Any short top that does not have shoulders or sleeves.

Maison Martin Margiela

Stiffened silk or synthetic netting.


A straight cut dress or long top without darts.


A rough, unfinished woollen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is made in either plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern. Subdued, interesting colour effects (heather mixtures) are obtained by twisting together differently coloured woollen strands into a two- or three-ply yarn.



Ultrasuede is the trade name for a synthetic microfiber fabric invented in 1970 by Dr. Miyoshi Okamoto, a scientist working for Toray Industries. It was the world's first ultra-microfiber. It is often described as an artificial substitute for suede leather.



The portion of a shoe or boot upper that covers the instep and toes.


A trend in fashion now that references designs and other details from bygone eras from the 1920s to the 1990s.

Christian Dior (circa 1980)


Waist Belt
A belt that is designed to be worn around and to highlight the waist.


Wedge Heel
Wedge soles literally form a triangular wedge between the foot and the ground. They provide height and lift under all parts of the foot, not just at the heel.


Welt Pockets
A welt pocket is a small, flat pocket that is commonly used on the exterior and interior breast on a man's suit jacket. It is also common for this type of pocket to be used on the back of men's trousers.
To sew with overcast stitches, as in finishing a fabric edge or binding two pieces of fabric together.

Alexander Wang

A design that looks like a windowpane, with narrow bands of one color forming an over-check that encloses rectangles of another ground color.

Giorgio Armani

Wingtip shoes feature a toe cap that comes to a point in the center, and spreads out toward the sides of the shoes, in a shape that somewhat resembles wings. This part of the shoe is sometimes perforated with small holes around the edges.

Ralph Lauren

Wraparound tops,dresses and skirts involve overlapping fabric around the waist, either in the front or the back to create a fitted waistline.

Diane von Furstenberg


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.

Ostwald Helgason