This is a list of fashion-related words that differentiate the fashion talk of the common man from the fashion elite. You can call it the fashion jargon tossed around by the designers and editors who decide the course of fashion.
The fashion connoisseurs use them as part of their everyday conversation. Some of these words are common terms but some were unfamiliar to me, even technical.
If you want to be part of the fashion crowd you have to sprinkle some of them in your conversation or at least know some of them so that you know what they are talking about.
In the meantime, you may want to check out some other categories very much related to fashion
I have skipped these terms in this post, because they are better elaborated elsewhere. But they are also very much related to fashion and you may want to read them after this one is over.
- What is fashion? 8 types of fashionwear
- 45 world famous fashion designers
- Evolution of fashion – a short history
- Fashion illustration: 6 types of fashion drawings.
- 10 important elements of fashion
- 40 different fashion styles.
- Sewing terms – a glossary of 100+ words used in sewing
- A Glossary of clothes
- A Glossary of Fabric names with explanations
- Textiles – in detail.
- 45 Different types of Tops
- 12 basic dress silhouettes
- 80+ different names of Fabric prints & patterns
- 15 colour combinations for fashion
- 12 Different types of Pants
- 45 Different types of Dresses
- 17 Different types of shorts.
- 60+ Different types of necklines
- Different types of collars
- 40+ Different types of sleeves
- Different types of textile fibers
- 10 Different types of fabric printing
- 90 + Different types of cotton fabrics
- Different types of Linen
- Different types of silk
- 12 Different types of denim
- Different types of leather
- Different types of knit fabrics
- Different types of faux leather
- Different types of fabric trims
- Different types of stretchy fabrics
- Different types of transparent fabrics
- Different types of Stiff fabrics
- Different types of eco-friendly fabrics
- 26 Different types of bags
- 18 types of bag handles
- 17 different types of skirts.
- 60+ Different types of embroidery
- 30 best fabrics with texture for sewing
- 47 ways to add texture to the fabric
- Different sewing techniques and tutorials
- 15 terms related to pant fitting
- Parts of a Bra – 15 related terms
- Parts of a shirt & related terms
- 10 different waistlines in dresses
- 70+ fabric finishes & treatments
- 25 types of fabric pattern repeats
- 40+ fabric laundry care labels you find in clothes explained.
- Japanese traditional clothing
- Arabian clothing -10 elements
- 7 important female bodyshapes
- 30 most important fashion accessories
- Fitting guide for Pants – 15 terms that matter
- 20 different types of fashion belts
- 15 different types of T-shirts
- 15 different parts of Jeans
- 40 different types of socks
- Top 10 Fashion Magazines in the world
- Fashion in the 1980’s
- 20 Design lines and How to use them in fashion designing.
- Acid wash
- Achromatic colours
- Androgynous style
- Antique style
- Anti Pill
- Army look
- Art deco
- Art Nouveau
- Academic costume
- Accent shades
- Active sportswear
- Advanced colours
- a la mode
- American Style
- Androgynous style
- Apparel manufacturing
- Athletic clothing
- Au naturel
- Body clothes
- Balance / symmetry
- Barfly apparel
- Black tie event
- Body-con clothing
- Boyfriend style
- Bib and tucker
- Border print
- Bohemian style of fashion (Boho)
- Business Formal dress code
- Business Casual dress code
- Bulky clothing
- Capsule wardrobe
- Cut of a garment
- Camouflage clothing
- Care label
- Casual wear
- Channel suit
- Cine mode
- City wear
- Cocktail dress code
- Colour coordination
- Colour blocking
- Country look
- Cool colours
- Contemporary style
- Continental style
- Conservative styles
- Cosmetic colours
- Composite style
- Costume jewelry
- Dandy style
- Design elements
- Double Denim Trend
- Earth colors
- Eclectic style of fashion
- Electric colours
- Elegant dressing style
- Eponymous fashion brand
- Effortless dressing
- Fabric swatches
- Fabric Finishes
- Fashion 2.0
- Fashion capitals
- Fashion Cycle
- Fashion Faux Pas
- Fashion Forecast
- Fashion forward
- Fashion icon
- Fashion Line
- Fashion press
- Fashion show
- Fashion house
- Fashion icon
- Fashion sense
- Fashion police
- Fashion sketch
- Fashion subcultures
- Fashion tribe
- Fashion victim
- Fabric Prints
- Face of the fabric
- Fashion Label
- Flat sketches
- Formal clothing ( evening clothes)
- Garcon look
- Greek Chic
- High stepper
- Hand of a fabric
- Haute Couture
- Heavy metal fashion
- High Fashion
- Hippie style
- Hourglass figure
- Hot number
- Iridescent colours
- Impact colours
- Jewel tones
- Knock Off
- Lagenlook style ( Layered style)
- Limited edition clothing
- Look Book
- Long line clothing
- Made to measure garments
- Marine style
- Mass produced / Fashion
- Masculine style
- Monotone clothing
- Mood Board
- Neutral Colours
- Off the rack
- Over size
- Pantone colours
- Pret-a- porter
- Peek-a-boo style
- Peasant style
- Placement prints
- Post modern fashion
- Print on print
- Ready to wear or RTW
- Reversible clothing
- Rockability fashion
- Safari style
- Sanforized clothing
- Sleek style
- Slip on clothes
- Slim fit
- Statement Jewelry
- Street wear
- Stonewashed fabric
- Stylist (Fashion)
- Surfer look
- Supportive clothing
- Style Surfing
- Throwback fashion
- Theme board (mood board)
- Tone on Tone
- Trunk show
- Twin prints
- Unisex style
- Up cycled clothing
- Utilitarian clothing
- Wasp waist
- Warm colours
- X-ray Fabric
- 70’s style
- Abbreviations used in fashion
Emphasis given to a distinctive characteristic of a garment
In fashion accessories refers to items with a useful or decorative purpose used in conjunction with one’s outfit. They complement and enhance the clothes worn. Include Belts & Suspenders, Bridal Veils, Eyewear, Footwear, Gloves & Mittens, Handbags, Handkerchiefs, Headwear, Jewelry, Legwear, Neckwear, Shawls & Wraps, Umbrellas, Watches
Treatment done on fabric to fade the colour with bleach solution. Check out the post on different ways (15) to distress your jeans to look fashionable
This refers to having no colour ; in fashion it means black or white colours.
Androgyny in fashion refers to dressing in styles that makes it difficult for the viewer to determine the gender of the person.Gender neutral fashion. Also called Unisex fashion
Anime is short for animation and refers to a dressing style that follows the fashion on Japanese Anime cartoons. Mostly features punk style clothing.
Dressing in styles different from the fashion of the day; showing an indifference to fashion and its varying trends
A style of the past
Treatment done on fabric to increase the wear resistance, preventing uneven and worn look of fabric surface
A style that resembles an army uniform (military style)
Style incorporating geometric patterns in typical colours of yellow green gold silver and black
Style that incorporates linear and curvilinear designs
Characteristic clothes worn by those studying or teaching in colleges/ universities
This is an emphasis given to something like a colour or trimming or accessory
Bright dark colours like fluorescent colours. These are used as an emphasis rather than as the whole colour of a design.
Refers to things like shoes, hats, jewellery, neckwear, belts, scarfs, gloves, corsets, lingerie boutonnieres that is added to an outfit to make it more fashionable
The process of adding accessory to clothing on display
Clothes worn by the participants in sports events
Garment/design similar to another original design/model but having some characteristic changes
Warm colours like shades of red
a la mode
French term for fashion
A popular or the latest style of clothing, hair, decoration, or behavior.
A sporty easy going casual style of clothing
A style that is neither strongly feminine or masculine
Another word for clothes, clothing and garments
Involves assembling, cutting, finishing, grading, labeling, marketing of garments in an industrial set up
One sided , not balanced
Large dressmaking organization
Clothing worn for athletic activities. Brands like Puma specialize in athletic clothing
This french origin word is used to indicate something in its natural state. Like a nude body
Refers to never seen before innovative designs by designers who are original thinkers bringing change to fashion
Balance / symmetry
Having two opposing sides of same dimension
This refers to a made-to-order garment made as per the customer’s characteristic measurements and specifications. Usually said about men’s formal clothes or wedding clothes
Clothing suitable for wearing at cocktail bars
Exaggerated style ; over ornate clothing style
Clothing suitable for beach
The fashionable world
Black tie event
A dress code for evening events and social functions ; involves a tuxedo, tie and formal shoes. For girls, this is a long gown.
The term used for flashy ostentatious accessories
Tight filling clothing eg. Bodycon dress
A store or shop ( usually high end expensive store) selling unique items to a specific set of customers
Meaning borrowed from boyfriend; Clothing style belonging to males adapted to suit females; eg. Boyfriend jeans
Bib and tucker
Colloquial term for clothes ( wear one’s finest clothes)
A design that is seen along the border of a fabric
Bohemian style of fashion (Boho)
An unconventional style of dressing that draws inspiration from bohemian and hippie influences. Boho chic is a stylish bohemian fashion with many celebrities and socialities following this trend. Check out
Business Formal dress code
Garments suitable for a formal event – suits for both men and women and tailored dresses for women.
Business Casual dress code
Clothes suitable for a semi-formal event – pants and shirts for men, pencil skirts and blouses for women ; not too casual like jeans or too formal like suits.
Loose fitting clothing
This is a term used for a collection of a few timeless and essential items of clothing . Check out the post on the 18 pieces you should have in your capsule wardrobe
Cut of a garment
Style and shape of a garment and how it hangs on the body
Design with elements of camouflage in it like the print / khaki colour
A mandatory label found in all clothes that denotes atleast one method of caring for that garment/fabric in lieu of symbols. They usually have fabric details, its content, washing drying, bleaching and ironing instructions
Informal wear; everyday garments
A platform along which models walk to display clothes in fashion shows.
A prestigious coveted suit for women designed by the Famous french designer Coco Chanel
Stylish / sophisticated
A fashion with origin in the movies
Street clothes with a sophisticated style
Cocktail dress code
This is a party event – a suit for men and party dress for women
Usually held twice a year in spring/summer and fall/ winter
Design incorporating colour theory and colour harmony
A style which is deemed timeless
As per Wikipedia clique is a small close-knit group of people who do not readily allow others to join them.In fashion cliue refers to a group of very fashion conscious people who share a common sense of style.
A set of creations of a designer for a particular season.
This is a technique in which large blocks of solid coloured fabric are joined (usually sewn) to form the garment ; placing blocks of different colours side by side this way provides a visually striking effect
This refers to a dyed fabric’s ability to resist fading or colour running when it is washed, exposure to sunlight etc.
A fashion industry terminology for a product in a specific color.
A pastime of dressing up in costume (Oxford dictionary)
A rustic look ; wearing tweeds
These are colours in the blue family
A current look
This refers to the European style of clothing
In fashion this refers to using colours which are in stark contrast to each other and hence both stand out.
Traditional dressing style
Colours that relates to makeup/cosmetics used
Dress style that is universal rather than localized
Garments based a theme or a story
This is a french term for male designers. The female designer is a couturiere
A fashion which becomes extremely popular for a short period
A combination of distinct styles; simple and refined; cool and feminine; feminine and flirtatious ; funky and fun.
This is jewelry made to complement a particular fashionable garment/collection ; usually inexpensive than real jewellery
Style of clothing which is Out of fashion (no longer fashionable)
Area from the neck to the chest.
A modestly priced line of garments made by an haute couture designer
Process in which fabric is artificially aged or worn
The way a fabric falls/hangs on a body
Drop tail style
This refers to clothing with the back having more length than the front.
This is a term related to men’s clothing – indicating a flamboyant self-absorbent style of dressing
Clothing that has never been worn, often from previous season.
In fashion, this refers to Color, Shape, line, texture, balance, harmony, proportion, pattern etc which are very important in designing well-liked clothes
Double Denim Trend
This is a style of wearing more than one clothing in denim at a time Eg. Denim Jacket with denim jeans. Also referred as Canadian Tuxedo
Colours in the brown family
Eclectic style of fashion
This is a fashion style composed of elements drawn from various sources;A mix of various styles
Elegant dressing style
A sophisticated graceful style
An outfit ( totally) that is coordinated and harmonious
Eponymous fashion brand
When a designer decides to name a brand his own name ie creator gives his own name to his brand. eg LOUIS VUITTON
Native or traditional
Style that is fascinating and evoking the look of a foriegn land
The addition of decorative details or features
A set of clothes that give out a look of unity and coordination
A person who thinks up ideas for making extremely characteristic garments
A presentation of clothes
This refers to a style which is high end but looks effortless.
Small pieces of fabric used as a sample
This refers to the application of certain resins/chemicals or making the fabric undergo some processes so that its functional or aethetic appeal is enhanced.
A short lived fashion ; the popularity fades pretty fast after a burst.
Fashion in the digital age with social media and websites leading the way for major upheavals in fashion.
Refers to high fashion cities like Paris, New York, Los Angels, London, Tokyo, Berlin, Barcelona
This refers to the rise rule and decline of a style
Fashion Faux Pas
A misstep made in fashion like a wrong choice of clothing
A prediction as to the fashions / styles/ trends that will be popular in the coming future
A person who is ahead and knowledgeable of fashion trends
Some one who is very popular for his/her fashion style that every one looks up to him/her.
All of the clothing a fashion designer produces for a specific category
Those reporting the fashion events / shows / displays etc
Displaying Formal collection of fashion styles by designers to merchandisers/ customers
A company involved in fashion design
A devoted follower of fashion
A term used to refer to someone or something that has become popular for being extremely fashionable
Knowledge of how to dress fashionably.
An imaginary police force that ensures that people dress according to fashion.
An initial drawing made for the purpose of garment design. It will give a basic idea about the garment
Subdivisions of society that influence fashion and have a heavy influence on the fashion elsewhere everywhere. The attitude and beliefs of he subculture is reflected in their clothing. Grunge, punk, goth, alternative, bohemian,rock, rap,and hip-hop are such subcultures
A group of people who share a common sense of dressing style / fad/ fashion
A person who slavishly follows current fashion.
These are many prominent patterns which are very popular like animal prints African prints . check out the post on the 55 popular fabric patterns you will usually find
Face of the fabric
The outer surface of the fabric ( also refers to facing)
A collection of expensive clothes belonging to a particular upcoming designer
Military combat apparel.
Technical sketch of a design as if it were laying flat- the details include stitching techniques etc. Also called flats.You can make this by hand or with software like illustrator.
Fabric printed with floral patterns
Formal clothing ( evening clothes)
An occasion dressing style ;Long evening gown for females and suits / tuxedos for men
Undergarment worn to smooth a figure
Garconne; A boyish fashion worn by women ; also called flapper look
Shades of the same colour
Style associated with the thinking man/woman, technology workers/professionals.Tailored suits, over sized glasses
A messy unco-ordinated style of dressy seen in people who follow or like grunge music. Ripped jeans, layered clothing, black boots
Sewing notions like buttons zippers etc; also refers to a men’s clothing shop
A colloquial term for a person who is very aware or conscious of fashion and how he/ she looks.
Hand of a fabric
The feel of the fabric
Expensive, fashionable clothes produced by leading exclusive fashion houses. It means the finest dress making in French language; simply termed as couture.
Heavy metal fashion
Fashion adopted by fans of heavy metal music ( metal heads or headbangers); skinny fit jeans, jackets, clothes with patches and badges
The designing, making, and marketing of expensive, fashionable exclusive clothes ( as opposed to mass-market clothing); haute couture
An unusual ( to western style) bohemian fashion style characterized by long hair, jeans bell bottom pants peasant blouses tie and dye fabric, long full skirts etc
Tight fitting knitted garments worn on the leg and feet. It is usually made of highly stretchable fabrics like spandex.
A female body shape with narrow waist and proportionately bigger hips ad bust ; considered to be the ideal shape for women eg Hourglass figure of Marilyn Monroe
In the fashion world, a fashion house is a name used for a company dealing in fashion.
A style which sells very fast at that time
A fake or copy ; usually used for describing fur and jewellery
Imitating the colors of the rainbow
A color used in a fashion design for an impact
Kawaii is a cute fashion trend that originated in Japan. It follows the definite meaning of Kawaii – Japanese artistic and cultural style that emphasizes the quality of cuteness, using bright colours and characters with a childlike appearance.
In fashion refers to low quality style; garish style
A design that is a copy of a more expensive clothing
Lagenlook style ( Layered style)
This is a style in which different garments are layered over each other, in different lengths
Limited edition clothing
A collection of styles shown to a producer in a given season
A reference guide used by people connected with fashion detailing garment styles price, colour, fabric details etc related to a line.
A book with all the photographs of a model, photographer, style, stylist, or images representing the full clothing line of a designer. It is meant as a catalog for marketing to be presented to the buyers.
Long line clothing
Clothing meant for tall people
Garments worn around the house
Made to measure garments
This refers to the use of preexisting template patterns and then making the garments out of them after adjusting to the measurements of the customer
A style that looks like the clothing of sailors
Mass produced / Fashion
Styles/ fashion that is widely accepted and hence made in large quantities
This refers to women’s clothing made to look like men’s ( also called mannish)
A fashion which is mixture, combination of things, elements or trends
A simple understated look; a fashion consisting of simple styles and plain colours.
Clothes of a single colour
A physical or digital collage of design ideas used by fashion designers to consolidate their collections or get ideas. Will have details of an idea, drawings or photos, fabric swatches etc.
A design used in a pattern/ print / embroidery etc ; usually found recurring
This is a trial garment made to test a pattern ; it is originally made in the fabric muslin cotton
Neutral means without colour. In fashion Classic colours like black, white, gray, brown and beige and sometimes blue are called neutral colours
Off the rack
Another name for ready to wear mass-produced clothing in standard sizes that is made in a large number and is readily available in retail stores.
This refers to the style in which color graduates from light to dark
Garments which are of a much looser fit.
Refers to anything that is No longer fashionable; out of date fashion.(pronounced pasei) This is deemed an insult in fashionable circles
Style which represents flamboyance or confidence
Pantone colours refers to a colour reference system developed by the company Pantone Inc that standardizes the colours in the CMYK process. The pantone colours correspond exactly to the inks and dyes used to colour the fabric by various industries , basically for printing purposes and manufacture of coloured fabric.
A template used as a guide to make a garment.
Refers to ready to wear clothes
Refers to adding cut out details or sheer elements in garments which reveals parts of the body
A style which is reminiscent of the country women folk with embroidered blouses and long skirts
This refers to fabric patterns with print that consists of a large motif or design which is a stand out design and which is strategically placed on the garment which makes it a highlight
Post modern fashion
In this trend decoration is given more importance than function. Jean Francois Lyotard first explained this phenomenon; Vivienne Westwood, Alexande Mcqueen etc were proponents of this style, which had a lot of theatrical style to it.
Refers to a style of dressing that emphasizes one’s power. The word was coined in the 1970s and it meant a smart tailored dressing meant to impress.Now represents clothes that men and women wear to workplaces and meetings to make them look powerful.
A collegiate look; for boys polo shirts, chinos and navy blazers
This refers to high-end collections of fashion designers marketed to upscale stores for customers expecting to spend the post-holiday season in warm-weather climates.
Print on print
Colorful and vibrant clothing with lots of different prints mixed in.
This is style which epitomizes the punk subculture with its roots in music and emerged into prominence in the western world during the mid 1970s. Distressed jeans, metal studs, chains, body piercing and leather jackets all are characteristics of this style.
Resort wear (Cruise wear)
This is line of clothing meant as holiday or travel collection; it is meant for a relaxed living for the affluent people ; clothes meant for the poolside life. Also refer Pre-spring collection
Ready to wear or RTW
This is the term for factory made clothing in standardized sizes
Style imitative of or derived from the trends of the recent past.
Garments that can be reversed and used from both sides. The seam allowances etc will be hidden with clever construction methods.
The fashion following the dressing style of music icon Elvis Presley;
characteristics are tight jeans or black pants (drainpipe pants), brothel creeper shoes, motorcycle jackets
The kind of clothing that resemble clothes worn during hunting
A garment made to be shown to the retailers/merchandisers
Outline or shape of a design or garment
A person who sews
The finished edge of the fabric ( on opposite sides of the lengthwise fabric)
A shrink control process used on fabric
The style which gives a slender slim streamlined look
Slip on clothes
The type of clothes which are worn without any fastenings / just slip on through the head
Clothing made to fit close to the body.
This is a type of basic pattern that is used as the building block for all other pattern making without any ease or design elements ( craftsy.com)
This refers to the wordings printed or worked across the bodice of a garment. Eg slogans on the chest of a tshirt
A casual style of clothing meant for a relaxed look but can be used in a casual business setting too. American style dressing
Bold and Attention grabbing Jewelry meant to grab all eyeballs. Eg Statement necklace.
This is basically clothes meant for the streets – skater friendly garments. It is a broad difficult to define fashion and may mean simply urban fashion.More on Streetwear fashion here
A fabric faded through a specific process
A person who dresses clients in styles that she /he curates. It could be for editorial purposes, for celebrities, for branding purposes in marketing.
A carefree dressing style sported by surfers on beaches
Anything related to Tailoring, clothes, fashion or style of dress.;Of or pertaining to tailors and their trade (www.dictionary.com); it is also used in relation to the quality of a dress
Clothes that are bought separately and cover only part of the body but can be mixed and matched to create combinations. Eg: pants and shirts
This refers to clothing that gives support ; eg. muscular support for sports, support for bust, support for legs with ailments like a varicose vein
“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is What you choose.” Lauren Hutton
This refers to shifting from clothing style of one subculture to other; sometimes combining and transforming styles
Cotton jersey sports wear
Making of made to measure/custom made garments
Fashion belonging to the past
This refers to a concept behind a collection of clothes designed by fashion designers – usually they have a message or an attitude
Theme board (mood board)
A board with fashion drawings, sketches, swatches used to create a mood about a product.
This is a clothing made by a fashion designer or a seamstress for testing purposes – it can be made to test a pattern or a design, to see how the garment will look and drape and whether it needs any alterations or additions. It is usually made in a cheap fabric
Tone on Tone
General term for Colour combinations with shades of the same colour.
A general direction in which something is developing or changing ( oxford dictionary)
An adjective used to describe someone who is very fashionable or stylish
Display of a designers collection in a store
Two prints that share the same colour combination in one garment
Clothing suitable for both female and male gender. Also called Androgynous style.
Up cycled clothing
This is creative reuse of old clothes by changing certain design elements.
Functional clothing rather than decorative ; Clothes that serve a practical purpose. Usually points to work clothes. They are practical and functional rather than decorative. eg: a Raincoat protecting from rain
Clothing inspired from a previous era. Fashion/Things belonging to the time 20 years or older can be considered to be vintage.
Exaggeratedly narrow waist making the hips and bust look bigger in comparison ; usually achieved by using corsets. This was the popular way of dressing in the 19th century England
Red, yellow and orange and in between colours in the colour wheel
Full name – Women’s Wear Daily a magazine considered to be the bible of fashion
In the fabric, fibers that run the width of the fabric.
Sheer fabric used to make clothes.
Style of clothing characterized by Wide legged trousers, slouchy silhouettes, big prints.
Abbreviations used in fashion
LBD – Little Black Dress
OOTD – Outfit of the Day
Reference : The Magic of Fashion: Ritual, Commodity, Glamour
By Brian Moeran