The language of stylists, designers, and those who work in fashion can sound like gibberish to those outside the industry. When talking about clothing and style there are phrases, terms, and words which are not commonplace in the day to day - and can completely confuse the best of us! Here is a quick cheat sheet to help you navigate the world of fashion speak…
Style line for apparel in which the dress fits at the shoulder or the skirt at the waist and gradually flares out to a wider hemline, causing it to resemble the letter A. The earliest A-line designs were created by Christian Dior in the 1950s.
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
Bodycon (short for body-conscious)
Used to describe any item of clothing that fits the body closely (example: body suit, body clothes). The feel of fabric that is flexible, but also solid and compact.
This term can refer to any undergarment worn over a brassiere and ending at the waist, but in modern times, it usually means a blouses or singlet tops which is cut in a shoestring singlet style and looks similar to a nighty top.
An item which is square in shape with minimal tailoring. Most commonly seen on jackets, a boxy-cut lends an androgynous element as silhouettes remain undefined.
This is a sleeve that sits in between sleeveless and short. It is a very flattering cut as it elongates the arms and covers the shoulders.
In design of a garment, ease refers to fullness incorporated into a design so that it will fit comfortably. It can also mean joining a larger section of a garment to a smaller part by very gradually folding or gathering the edge where the pieces will meet until the larger piece is the same size as the smaller piece.
A V-shaped weave resembling the skeleton of a herring fish and is often a popular pattern for tweed and wool outerwear.
The term used to describe clothes that can be bought in ordinary shops in ordinary cities and towns, rather than being specially made by fashion designers
The lower edge of a part of a garment that has been finished off with some type of sewing to cover the raw edge. Among the more common types of hems are a plain hem that is turned up and sewn into place, a rolled hem used on sheer or delicate fabrics and rolled up by hand into a narrow hem that is sewn with small hand stitches and a faced hem.
One of many terms that have multiple meanings in the fashion world, it is often used to refer to the shape of a garment, as in “The dress has a simple line.” It can also refer to the fabric inside of an item, which is called the lining.
The part on each side of a coat or jacket immediately below the collar which is folded back on either side of the front opening
A gradual change of one shade from dark to light (also referred to as degradé)
A ruffle or 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
A loose, pleated waistline that gives the impression of a scrunched bag when gathered at the waist.
The style of a sleeve, where a continuous piece of fabric continues to the neck with no shoulder seam. Often found on bomber jackets and basketball T-shirts, the raglan sleeve says sporty in an instant.
A split in a garment to allow for movement which is common in pencil skirts and also found on trench coats and formal tailoring.
A basic dress style that has simple, straight lines and does not fit close to the body. Very popular in the 1960s and in other periods when unfitted styles are popular.
Originally used to refer to clothing for active sports and later to clothing worn to watch sporting events, this term has come to be applied to the broad category of casual wear and is worn at any time of the day and for a wide variety of activities. Today, the term activewear is more likely to be applied to clothing for active sports. Sportswear is considered by many to be a major contribution of American design to clothing styles worldwide.