February 23rd 2012

Fashion Terms 101

Getting a little frazzled with all the fashion terminology?




Yeah, it’s a little hard to keep up. Here’s a quick and dirty fashion terminology cheat sheet for those who are making their way into the fashion scene.


A-line describes a type of dress or skirt silhouette that is narrower at the top, then flares toward the bottom. It gets its name from resembling the letter A.

Batwing sleeve

Also known as a dolman sleeve, a batwing sleeve is cut very large at the armhole, then extends to close to the waist, and tapers at the wrist.

Bell sleeves
A bell sleeve is a long sleeve, sometimes three-quarter length, that flares out at the hem.

Bias cut
Bias cut is a term used when fabric is cut across the grain in a diagonal. This creates stretch and a curve-hugging look.

Bootleg or Boot cut
This duo term is used to describe a style of pants that is slim at the hips and knee, then has a very subtle flare.  It gets its name to accommodate wearing boots.

Capris are shortened pants that range from knee length to lower calf.

Cap sleeves
These sleeves are found on short sleeves; they cover the top of your shoulders.

This polyester fabric has a glossy finish that looks similar to satin.

Circular skirt
A circular skirt creates a lot of volume by cutting a circle out of a piece of fabric.

Cropped pants
Not quite as short as capris, cropped pants are short pants that are generally around ankle length.

A cumerbund is the waist band that is worn with the tuxedo. In standard dress, it is generally red or black. Cummerbunds come in many colors and can be dyeable for weddings. The pleats in a cummerband always face up.

This is the part of your body between your neck and bust line.

Duffel Coat
A duffel coat is a rugged style coat featuring toggle fasteners for extra warmth and protection. It was originally worn for seaman for cold weather.

Empire waist
An empire waist is separated by a high-waisted seam that sits directly underneath the bust line.

Funnel neck
A funnel neck, unlike a turtleneck, is a high neckline without seams for streamlined look.

Haute couture
Haute couture is a phrase meaning  high fashion, which is a perfectly acceptable term. Haute is also used on its own, in place of the word “hot”.

Knitted fabric
Knitted fabric is a type of fabric which is knitted using plain and pearl stitches. It has a stretch to it, and we know it in most basic clothes, such as t-shirts and fleece.

Kitten heel
A kitten heel is a short, dainty heel that is less than an inch high.

Notched lapel
This type of lapel has a V-shaped indentation.

Outre is a word that describes something that is overdone, excessive or exaggerated.

Pashmina is the finest grade of cashmere. It is from the short, thin inner layer hair from Himalayan goats. It is about 12 to 14 microns in thickness.

Passe indicates that something is no longer in style, faded, or in the past.

Pièce de résistance
This phrase is used as a term to describe the main piece of clothing or accessory that ties your fashion ensemble together.

A pinstripe is a very fine vertical stripe, usually in white or gray, or tone-on-tone in clothing.

Pencil skirt
A pencil skirt is a straight skirt that can taper at the hem or go down in a straight line.

Piping is an often colorful fabric trim added along the seams or edges of a garment. It can also be in the same color or material.

A pleat is a fold of fabric that is pressed flat and sometimes stitched down half the way while the rest is left open.

Raglan sleeve
A raglan sleeve is a sleeve that has a slanted seam from the neck to the underarm. There is no shoulder seam.

The rise of a pair of pants or shorts is the distance between the crotch and the waistband.

Ruching is a type of fabric that gathered and stitched at a centre point. It creates a rippled appearance.

Shrugs are generally made of sweater material and are of shrunken proportions. They are worn as a layering piece.

Thong sandal
A thong sandal is a term used to describe a sandal that has a strap between the wearer’s big and second toe.

Tiers are layers of fabric that are placed one above the other.

Trumpet skirt
This type of skirt is a straight skirt with a hem flounce, which flares away from the body.

Tres chic
In other words, very fashionable.

We might not know the name but are probably familiar with whiskers, which are creases of fabric at the hip and upper thigh.

Woven fabric
Woven fabric is fabric that has been woven squarely on a loom. It does not stretch unless another fabric, such as Lycra or spandex, has been added.

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Andrew's Biography

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.