Have you ever been shopping and read the description of some clothes and didn’t know what the heck the description was talking about? Well, wonder no further. The Budget Shopaholic aims to put your questions to rest with the Fashion Glossary. Maybe you’re confused about a description that reads “georgette halter dress”. Or maybe you want to know the difference between eyelets and keyholes? Guys, maybe you’re trying to find a nice gift for one of your loved ones. You can learn all that and more with the Fashion Glossary. It should steer you in the right direction every time!!
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Acrylic: Acrylic is a synthetic fiber which is lightweight, soft and wrinkle-resistant. Often used in sweaters as an alternative to wool, acrylic is less expensive but usually not as warm.
A-line: An A-line silhouette mimics the letter “A” with a narrow top and a flare. You can find the A-line shape on dresses, skirts and coats.
Appliqué: Any needlework design or pattern applied to the surface of clothing is an appliqué.
Babydoll: A babydoll is a dress or blouse that is modeled on the popular nightgown style with the same name. The babydoll is short and sleeveless with a flowing shape.
Ballerina Flat: A ballerina flat is a ballet-style flat shoe meant for everyday wear.
Bandeau: From the French word for “band,” a bandeau is like a band of fabric around the chest. A bandeau top can have various types of straps (i.e., one diagonal strap, a halter-style strap or spaghetti straps) or be strapless.
Banded sleeve: A banded sleeve has a finished edge that makes the edge of the sleeve fit a bit closer.
Barrel-line cut: Like its namesake, a barrel-line cut gives an elongated, rounded shape to dresses or skirts.
Bateau or boat neckline: A bateau or boat neckline is a wide neckline that mimics the shape of a canoe. It is also known as a slash-neck. (Bateau is French for “boat.”)
Bell sleeve: A bell sleeve is a long sleeve that is fitted at the shoulder and flared at the wrist. Some bell sleeves have a banded edge.
Bias cut: Bias cut clothes have been cut out of fabric diagonally to the fabric’s weave. A bias cut gives clothing a flowing feeling.
Bodice: The bodice is the section of a dress or shirt that fits over the bust and the torso.
Bolero: A bolero is a loose fitting, waist length jacket open at the front.
Boning: Boning is rigid or semi-rigid supports (made of plastic or metal) sewn into fabric that help to maintain a slim, shapely look.
Boot Shaft: The boot shaft is the part of the boot that covers the leg.
Brocade: From the Italian word for “embossed cloth,” brocade is a fabric with designs woven into it.
Bubble or balloon hem: A balloon or bubble hem is a skirt or dress with a balloon or bubble hem has a full, rounded, puffed look that gathers in at the bottom.
Camisole: A camisole is a short top, usually of a flowing or soft material, with little structure.
Cap sleeve: A cap sleeve is a very short sleeve that just covers the shoulder and the top of the upper arm.
Cardigan: A cardigan is a light sweater that buttons, ties, or zips down the front.
Chantilly Lace: Chantilly lace is a delicate lace made from an open, six-sided mesh background with floral designs.
Charmeuse: Charmeuse is a smooth, lightweight fabric that can be woven from silk or synthetic fibers; it is like satin but has a lighter weight.
Chiffon: A woven fabric with a crepe texture, chiffon is sheer and airy and is usually woven from silk or synthetic fibers.
Clutch handbag: A clutch handbag is a narrow, handheld bag with no strap; clutch handbags range in size.
Color blocking: Color blocking is a technique where blocks of various fabrics are sewn together to create clothing with a few different solid colors.
Contrast piping or contrast stitching: These are names for when the edging or stitching on an item of clothing is done in a different color than the fabric, usually white or black against a bright color.
Convertible Handbag: A convertible handbag features a wrist or shoulder strap that may be removed or hidden.
Corset: A corset is a snug fitting garment designed to cinch the waist and lift or minimize the chest area. Lacing in the back allows the corset to be adjusted for comfort. They are boned for additional control and heavier ones can be used for body shaping or training.
Cotton: This well-known natural fiber can be woven into a wide variety of fabrics. Some of the many fabrics woven from cotton are broadcloth, oxford, chino cloth, denim, corduroy, chambray, terrycloth and seersucker.
Couture: Couture is the business of designing, making, and selling fashionable custom-made clothing. Couture differs from haute couture in that couture is not hand sewn.
Cowl Neck: A cowl neck is a loose, draped neckline that was very popular on turtleneck sweaters in the 80s, now often softer and more draping.
Crew Neck: A crew neck is a round, banded neckline that fits close to the base of the neck; it is commonly seen on sweaters and T-shirts.
Crop Top: A crop top is a top extending to just below the chest or to mid-stomach; it typically bares the belly button.
Cuff: A cuff is a decorative, elastic or other band worn around the wrists.
Décolleté: A décolleté is a low neckline that exposes cleavage.
Dolman sleeve: A dolman sleeve is a sleeve that is wide at the shoulder and narrow at the wrist.
Duchesse satin: A heavyweight satin, duchesse satin is usually used for formal dresses or lingerie and can be made of silk or synthetic fibers.
Empire waist: An empire silhouette features a high waist, usually just under the bust, and a flowing, loose bodice. You may see an empire waist on dresses or tops.
Epaulette: Inspired by military uniforms, epaulettes are ornamental shoulder pieces. Epaulettes can be showy, with fringe or other details, or they can be subtle, like the shoulder strap found on trench coats.
Espadrille: An espadrille is a shoe or sandal style that has a woven rope or similar material covering the wedge or sole.
Eyelet: An eyelet is a hole through which a lace is threaded; may be reinforced with a metal ring or grommet.
Faux: From the French word for “fake,” faux is used to describe synthetic items, like faux fur or faux leather; faux also it indicates that something only looks one way, like a faux wrap dress.
Flannel: A woven fabric that is napped (brushed to give a soft feel) on one or both sides, flannel can be very casual (like with plaid flannel shirts), or more formal (like with flannel suits).
Flounce: A flounce is a wide ruffle.
Flutter sleeve: A flutter sleeve is a short sleeve that falls loosely over the upper arm.
French cuff: Usually only found on button-down shirts, a French cuff is a double cuff that folds over and is fastened with cuff links or silk knots.
Fringe: Fringe is decorative hanging thin strips or strings.
Georgette: Georgette describes a sheer silk (or silk-like) fabric with a dull, creped surface.
Godet: A godet is a panel of fabric inserted into a skirt or dress to create a flare.
Gown: A gown is a formal long dress usually extending to the ankles or the floor.
Gusset: A gusset is a piece of fabric that is inserted into a seam to give more room and or to reduce stress on the seam.
Halter Neckline: A halter neckline features a strap that goes around the neck, usually leaving the upper back exposed; a halter neck can be found on dresses, tank tops and swimwear.
Haute Couture: Haute couture (French for “high sewing”) refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn by hand. Haute couture differs from couture in that haute couture is hand sewn.
Hemline: A hemline is the lower edge of any clothing item.
Hobo Handbag: A hobo handbag is a handbag that is roomy, unstructured, and rounded, typically with a single top zipper and shoulder strap.
Inseam: An inseam is the inner seam on the legs of a pair of pants.
Insole: An insole is the lining that runs the full length of the inside of the shoe.
Instep: The instep is the upper, center section of the foot, between the toes and ankle.
Jersey: Jersey is a type of knitted fabric that can be made from wool, cotton or silk.
Juliette sleeve: Inspired by Renaissance styles, a Juliette sleeve is fitted over the forearm and puffed at the top.
Keyhole: A keyhole is a teardrop-shaped cutout that can be found on dresses, tops and swimwear.
Kimono sleeve: Cut as part of the bodice, a kimono sleeve has a wide, sloping shape.
Knit: Knits are any fabric that is formed with loops over a path; something that’s visible in sweaters, but not as much in tee shirts, which are also knits. Knits have a bit of stretch and vary in thickness.
Leather: Leather is tanned animal skins that come in a few different forms (listed below):
• Calfskin is leather created from the skins of very young cows. Calfskin is typically very supple and soft.
• Corrected-grain leather is top-grain leather which has been sanded or buffed to remove imperfections.
• Embossed leather has designs imprinted onto leather and often simulates exotic skin (i.e., croco or snake); may also be a random pattern or designer’s logo.
• Full-grain leather or top-grain leather is made from the upper section of the hide and has not been sanded or buffed.
• Goatskin is made from the hide of a goat.
• Kidskin is a soft, porous leather created from the hide of young goats.
• Kipskin is middle-grade leather created from the skins of young cattle that are larger than calves, yet not fully grown.
• Lambskin is created from the skin of young sheep.
• Lizard is made from the skin of a lizard, typically with a specked, grainy appearance.
• Napa leather is a supple version of sheepskin.
• Nubuck is a lightweight, supple leather used on the upper of the shoe; it is also buffed to have a suede-like appearance.
• Patent leather is a glossy leather that has a shiny appearance; patent leather is typically created from cattle hide.
• Pebbled grain is an embossed-leather grain finish that resembles a pebble surface.
• Pigskin leather is made from the skin of pigs.
• Split leather is made from the part of the hide that is left after the other types of leather have been removed.
• Suede is a type of split leather.
Linen: Made from the fibers of the flax plant, linen is a fabric that is a favorite for summer clothing because of its light weight.
Lining: Lining is an extra layer of fabric sewn into the inside of a garment for added comfort or modesty.
Loafer: A loafer is a slip-on shoe, completely without fasteners.
Mary Janes: Mary Janes are a style of heeled shoe with a strap across the instep.
Maxi dress: A maxi dress is a floor or ankle length informal dress; maxi dresses are usually formfitting at the top and loose flowing at the bottom.
Microfiber: Microfiber is made of a blend of synthetic fibers to make a very soft fabric.
Mini –skirt (or dress): A mini-skirt (or dress) is a skirt with the hemline well above the knee; typically 20cm or more above the knee.
Moccasin: A moccasin is a shoe in which the bottom is a single piece of leather, stitched around a last. The vamp is usually attached by whip stitching to the bottom of the shoe so it encloses the foot.
Modal: Modial is a bio-based fiber made from the cellulose of beech trees. It’s dyeable, resistant to shrinking and fading.
Nylon: Nylon is a synthetic fiber.
Ombre: From a French term for “shaded,” ombre is a color effect where the color gradually changes from light to dark over the item of clothing.
One size fits all: When an item of clothing is described as “one size fits all,” it is usually about a size medium to large.
Pencil skirt: A pencil skirt is knee-length and fitted from the waist to the hemline. Pencil skirts usually have a slit in the back, sides, or front to allow movement.
Peplum: A peplum is a band of fabric at the hem of dresses, blouses or jackets; the bottom part can be ruffled or pleated to create a flare.
Picot: Picot is a series of loops that creates an ornamental trim, usually seen on lingerie.
Piping: Piping is a decorative cord sewn along the edges of a garment, sometimes of contrasting fabric and/or color.
Platform: A platform is the part of a shoe or boot that is beneath the toe area or vamp of the shoe; it can range in height from less than an inch to well over 7 inches. Platforms can elevate the foot and make you taller.
Pleats: Pleats are decorative folds in fabric, often used to add fullness to skirts.
Plunging Neckline: A plunging neckline is a neckline that is cut to form a deep v-shape, thus revealing more cleavage than other styles.
Polyester: Polyester is a synthetic fabric that can be used in woven or knitted fabrics and can be lightweight or heavy.
Polyurethane (PU): Polyurethane is a type of vinyl or faux leather that has a matte (non-shiny) finish and may have a slight grain texture. Often used for shoes and boots to give a matte finish opposed to Patent.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Polyvinyl Chloride is vinyl with a smooth, shiny surface on one side. Often used for shoes and clothing; sometimes called Patent.
Poplin: A poplin is a finely ribbed fabric made from silk, wool, cotton or synthetics.
Raglan sleeve: A raglan sleeve extends from the neckline and has an angled seam from the neck to the underarm.
Ready-To-Wear: Ready-to-wear describes clothes that are sold in a standard size and completely finished, as opposed to clothes that are made by the customer’s requests.
Ribbed: Ribbed is used to describe fabric with raised vertical ‘ribs’ usually made into form fitting designs; the fabric is sometimes made of knit for more body hugging shaping.
Riding Boots: Riding boots are boots designed specifically for equestrian (horse-riding) activities; they are usually knee-high, with goring and a low heel. This term can also describe boots that are designed to look like riding boots.
Rise: The rise is the measurement from the crotch to the waistband of a pair of pants.
Ruching: Ruching is a strip of pleated or gathered fabric that trims an item of clothing.
Satchel Handbag: A satchel handbag is a structured handbag with double handles, closure hardware, and a wide, flat bottom; satchel handbags vary in size from small to large.
Satin: Satin is a woven fabric with a glossy finish and a lustrous texture that can be made of silk or synthetics.
Scallop edges: Scallop edges are decorative fabric edge shaped similar to a line of scallops (or shells) lined up edge to edge.
Seamless: Seamless refers to an item manufactured without seams; seamless items tend to produce a cleaner look for thin fabrics.
Seersucker: Seersucker is a lightweight cotton, linen or rayon fabric with puckers and, usually, stripes.
Self-belt or self-tie: A self-belt or self-tie is made of the same fabric as the rest of the shirt or dress.
Sequins: Sequins are small shiny discs used to reflect light and add design to a garment.
Sheath: Sheath is a short, slim-fitting dress that is cut to cinch in at the waist without a belt or waistband.
Shift dress: A shift dress has a loose fit and lacks a defined waistline; it is usually a short dress, similar to a chemise.
Silk: A luxurious natural fiber obtained from the cocoons of certain types of worms, silk can be found in a wide variety of clothes; silk is often blended with linen, wool or synthetics for easier care and lower cost.
Slip dress: Resembling the undergarment, a slip dress fits close to the body, is usually made of smooth fabrics and has lace trim.
Spaghetti strap: Found on dresses and tops, a spaghetti strap is a narrow strip of fabric that serves as a shoulder strap.
Spandex: A name for elastic fabrics made of polyurethane, spandex is often used in fabric blends to provide a stretchy, forgiving fit such as in fitness clothing. “Lycra” is a copyrighted trade name for spandex manufactured by a specific company.
Stacked Heel: A stacked heel is a heel created from synthetic and leather materials. Often found on spectator shoes.
Stiletto: A stiletto is a very high, slim and tapered heel.
Taffeta: A smooth woven fabric, taffeta is usually made from silk or synthetic fibers; it is used most often for special occasion dresses due to its luster and crisp feel.
Tiered: Tiered means arranged in layers or rows; tops, skirts and dresses are the items of clothing that can be found tiered. When a top, skirt, or dress is tiered it is usually arranged in one layer over another layer and so on.
Trapeze: A trapeze dress or blouse is shaped like a trapezoid and creates a shapeless look; a trapeze dress is usually a mini-dress.
Trumpet skirt: A trumpet skirt is a skirt that has a slim fit through the hips and flares at the hem.
Tulip skirt: Like an inverted tulip, a tulip skirt has more fabric around the waistline and a close-fitting hemline.
Tunic: Although “tunic” has been used to describe many items of clothing throughout history, the term currently refers to a shirt that is longer than average, usually about hip-length or a little longer.
Twill: Twill is a type of fabric weave which features small diagonal parallel ribs, such as denim.
Vent: A vent is the split in the lower back of a jacket or coat.
Wedge heel: A wedge heel is a heel of any height that is as wide as the shoe itself and follows the shoes contour from toe to heel.
Wool: Wool is natural fibers that can come from such as animals as alpacas, Angora rabbits (angora), camels, Kashmir sheep (cashmere), Tibetan goats (pashmina) or Angora goats (mohair); wool is often blended with other fibers and comes in various forms (listed below):
• Super 100 (or 120, 140, 150, 180) refers to the length (in centimeters) one woolen yarn can be stretched; the longer the pull, the smoother the fabric.
• Tropical wool is sturdy but lightweight and airy, making it perfect for summer clothing.
• Virgin wool comes straight from the animal to the mill without any previous processing.
• Worsted wool is any combed wool fibers spun from long fibers which are woven tightly, giving it a smooth surface.
Woven: Any fabrics formed by weaving, woven fabrics only have a little bit of stretch in one direction.
Wrap dress: A wrap dress fits by wrapping around the body and crossing in front to close; the wrap dress is secured with ties and features a deep-V neckline.
Wrap shirt: A wrap shirt fits by wrapping around the body and crossing in front to close; the wrap is secured with ties and features a deep-V neckline.