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A-Z Fashion Terminology

A

A-Line- A dress of skirt that is narrower at the top, flaring gently wider toward the bottom this resembling the letter “A.”

Almond Toe Shoe- A shoe where the upper portion is closed, and comes to a soft point when viewed from the top.  This shoe is generally not elongated like a pointed toe shoe.

Ankle Boot- A boot where the upper portion is closed in the front, back, and sides, and covers both the foot and the ankle bone.

Ankle Strap- A strap that completely encircles the ankle, generally closed with a buckle or tie; not to be confused with the slingback which goes around the back if the ankle only.

Ankle Wrap/Ankle Tie- A longer strap, mostly a ribbon like material, which is wrapped several times around the ankle and/or lower calf, and tied to fasten.

 

B

Ballet Slipper- A shoe where the upper portion is soft, flexible material, with an elasticized edge, and bow at the top of the toes.  This shoe is very similar to a traditional ballerina’s slipper.

Ball gown- A type of long dress that is fitted at the bodice, with a very full skirt.

Bandeau/Tube Top– A band-shaped covering for the breast

Basque Waist– A low “U” or “V” silhouette.

Batwing Sleeve– Also called a Dolman Sleeve.  This style is cut very large at the armhole and extends to almost the waist where it is then tapered.

Blazer- A long-sleeved sports jacket open at the front.

Bolero Jacket- A loose, waist-length jacket open at the front.

Boot Cut- A pant style that is tapered at the knee and very subtly flares out to accommodate the bulk of a boot.

Bootie- A shoe where the upper portion is closed in the front, back, and sides, and covers the foot entirely up to the ankle bone.

 

C

Camisole- A short, sleeveless garment for women.

Capri Pants- Also known as Peddle Pushers. Slim-Fit pants that range from knee length to lower calf.

Cardigan Jacket– A usually collarless sweater or jacket that opens the full length of the center front.

Cargo- Characterized by sporting a large pocket, usually with a flap and a pleat.

Carpenter Pants/Shorts- Five-pocket characterized by a “hammer holder,” a strength of material connecting the outside seam to the back pocket.

Chalk Stripe- A broad vertical stripe.

Chemise/Skimmer- Simply a straight unbelted dress with varying sleeves and length.

Cheongsam- A traditional dress worn by Chinese women, defined by a high collar, long length (usually mid-calf length) and button or frog closure near the shoulder.  This fitted dress is often made of shimmering silk or embroidered satin.

Chunky Heel- A “chunky heel” is wide where it connects to the sole of a shoe, and the width remains uniform or only decreases slightly from top to bottom.

Coat Dress: A tailored dress featuring button, toggle and tie closures similar to those found on outerwear.  This dress is often made in materials similar to those found in suits (wool, wool blends, and menswear prints.)

Column Skirt/Straight Skirt- Also referred to as a pencil skirt, this skirt is a line with no flare or fullness at the hem or waistline.

Cone Heel- A “cone heel” is wide where it connects to the sole of a shoe, and narrows significantly to the point where it reaches the ground.  This heel resembles the shape of an upright ice-cream cone, or upside-down triangle.

Corset- A form-fitting, usually strapless bodice with either laces or snap closures.

Covered Heel- A “covered heel” is any heel shape that is wrapped in the same material as the upper portion of the shoe.  Most high-end shoes have a covered heel.

Cowboy Heel- A “cowboy heel” when viewed from the side, the front face of the heel is perpendicular to the ground, while the back face of the heel is angled, beginning at the rear of the shoe and slanting forward towards the front of the shoe from top to bottom.

Cowl Neck- A neckline featuring a piece of material attached to garment at  the neck, which may be used as a hood or draped loosely in a swag from shoulder to shoulder at the front neckline or back.

Crew Neck- A round neck with ribbed banding that fits close to the base of the neck.

Crisscross Strap- A shoe strap that forms an “X” shape across the foot.

Cropped Pants- Short pants, generally around ankle length.

Cropped Top/Jacket- Hem is cut just above the waist.

Cuban Heel- A “cuban heel” is a “chunky” four-sided heel where the front remains relatively uniform while the back tapers modestly from top to bottom.

 

D

Diamond Neck- A diamond-shaped cutout that fastens at the front or back neckline.

D’Orsay Shoe- A shoe where the upper portion is cut away on either one or both sides of the foot.  The front or back of the upper portion may be open or closed.

Double-Breasted- Having one-half of the front lapped over the other, and usually has a double row of buttons and a single row of buttonholes.

 

E

Empire Waist- A dress or shirt where the waist is raised above the natural waistline, sometimes as high as right below the bust.

Espadrille Sole- A flexible sole made entirely of jute rope or a similar synthetic material.  This type of sole is usually coupled with a “wedge” heel because of the flexible nature of the material used.  This style is very popular in spring and summer footwear.

 

F

Faux Pas- A false step.  A fashion faux pas means an error in judgement in style.

Flat- A shoe with no height enhancing qualities.

Flat Front Pants- Straight pants, often seamless and pocketless.

Form Fitting/Slim Fit- Straight form waist to ankle except for a slight curve around the hip.

 

G

Gaucho- Wide-legged pants or divided skirt reaching mid-calf and worn with boots

Gauntlets- Dress gloves extending above the wrist.

Glitterati- The beautiful people, the popular crowd, the shiny set, celebrities.

 

H

Halter- A dress or shirt that consists of material that meets behind the neck.  This style may range from thin spaghetti straps that tie to draped fabric that crosses at the collarbone and meets behind the neck.

Hankie/Handkerchief Hem- A dress or skirt where the hem falls resembling a scarf.

Haute Couture- High Fashion.

Hidden Platform- A shoe sole similar to a “standard platform” except the upper portion is attached in a fashion that the thickening of the sole is not apparent when viewed from the side.  (the material of the upper portion of the shoe is used to cover the sole)

 

I

Item du jour- Item of the day.  Something particularly timely and “now”

 

J

Jewel Neck- A high round neckline resting simply at the base of the neck.

 

K

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

Keyhole Neck- A tear shaped or round cutout that fastens at the front or back neckline

Kimono- A long robe with wide sleeves traditionally worn with a broad sash.

Kitten Heel- A short but narrow heel; less than 2″ with a diameter of no more than 0.4″ (1cm) where it reaches the ground.

Knee-High Boot- The upper portion is closed in the front, back and sides and covers the foot, extending up to the knee or just below the knee.

 

L

Louis/Pompadour Heel- A heel that when viewed from the side, the front edge slopes slightly forward toward the ball of the foot, while the rear edge has an hourglass curve similar to a spool.

 

M

Maillot- A woman’s one-piece bathing suit

Mandarin Collar- A short, stand-up collar, adopted from the close fitting Asian collar.

Mary Jane- A “Mary Jane” is a shoe very similar to a “pump” with an additional strap running horizontally across the middle of the foot from one side to the other, usually closed with a buckle.

Mermaid- A dress that is close fitting through the bodice, down through the hips and to about the mid or lower calf where the skirt flares out.

Mid-Calf Boot- The upper portion is closed in the front, back, and sides and covers the foot, extending up approximately midway between the ankle bone and the knee.

Mule- The upper portion of a “mule” is cut away at both the back and the sides of the foot.  The only portion that remains is the front portion and this may be open or closed.

 

N

Notched Collar- A two piece collar that can be worn open.

 

O

Off the Shoulder Neck- A neckline that lies gently hovering across the top of the bustling with the shoulders uncovered or able to be seen through the sheer yoke of net or organza attached to a high collar.

Outrè- Something that is overdone, excessive or exaggerated.

Overskirt- A skirt worn over another skirt.

Over-the Knee Boot- The upper portion is closed in the front, back and sides, and covers the foot, extending up the leg just past the knee.

 

P

Painted Heel- Any heel shape which is painted to match or coordinate with the upper portion; generally found on the lower-end brands as paint tends to flake and chip easily, exposing the underlying color.

Passè– No longer in style.  Faded, in the past.

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

Peek-a-boo– Any part of a garment that has been cut out to reveal skin.

Peep/Open Toe- A shoe where the upper portion is cut away at the front of the foot, revealing the end of the toes.  The sides and back of the upper portion may be open or closed.

Petticoat- An underskirt usually a little shorter than outer clothing and often made with a ruffled, pleated, or lace edge.

Pointed Toe- A shoe where the upper portion is closed and comes to a sharp, often elongated point when viewed from the top.

Prism Heel- A triangular heel of varying with and height.

Pump- A  shoe where the upper portion is closed at the back and sides of the foot, with a low cut that reveals most of the top of the foot.  A pump can be “open toe”, revealing the toes, or closed toe.

Push-up Jeans- Spandex in the jeans that helps to lift and shape your rear.

Q

 

R

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

Round Toe- A shoe where the front of upper portion is closed and has a rounded appearance when viewed from the top.

 

S

Sandal- A shoe where the upper portion consists of one or more straps running over the foot and is more open in design then other shoes.

Sarong Skirt- A long cloth which is wrapped around the entire body.

Scoop Neck/Round Neck- A low, U shaped or round neckline.

Shawl Collar- A one-piece collar which is turned down to form a continuous line around the back of the neck to the front.

Sheath- A dress that features a figure-hugging silhouette with a defined waist (no belt or waistband).

Shelf Bra- A bra built into a garment.

Shirt Dress- This dress borrows details from a man’s shirt.  Some of them are: a collar, a button front or cuffed sleeves.  Frequently made up in crisp fabrics like cotton, the shirt dress often has a looser fit with waist definition given by a belt.

Skort- Shorts that have a front covering to resemble a skirt.

Slingback- A shoe where the upper portion is open at the back of the foot, with a thin strap running around the back of the heel, that holds the shoe on the foot.

Spaghetti Strap- Straps on a dress or shirt that are very thin pieces of fabric, resembling “spaghetti”

Split Neck- A round neckline that looks like it has been cut in the center to form a small “V.”

Spool Heel- A heel that is wide at both ends, but narrower in the middle; resembles an hourglass shape when viewed from the back.

Square Neck- An open-yoke neckline shaped in the form of a half square.

Square Toe- A shoe where the front of the upper portion is closed and has a squared appearance when viewed from the top.

Stacked Heel- A wooden heel in which the stacked horizontal layers of wood are visible; popular for spring and summer styles.

Standard Sole- A sole of minimal thickness; extends from the front end of the shoe to the heel and is of even thickness throughout.

Stiletto Heel- A heel that is long, narrow, 2″ and above with a diameter of no more than 0.4″ (1cm) where it reaches the ground; generally round or square shaped.

Straight Legs- Pant legs that are cut an equal width from the waste to ankle.

Sweetheart Neck- A graceful, open yoke, shaped like the top half of a heart.

 

T

Tank Top- A short, sleeveless top with wide armholes.

Tankini- A two-piece bathing suit with the upper portion resembling a tank top.

Tapered Legs- Pant legs that become progressively narrower at the ankle.

Tea Length- A gown hemmed to the end of the shin.

Thigh High Boot- The upper portion is closed in the front, back and sides and covers the foot, extending up the leg past the knee to the thigh.

Tres Chic-Very fashionable.

T-Strap- A shoe where a thin strap vertically from the lowest cut portion of the upper portion where it meets the toes to an ankle strap

Tunic- A simple slip-on garment made with or without sleeves and is usually thigh length or longer.  This garment can be belted, worn over or under another garment.

Turtle Neck- A high, close fitting, turnover collar used especially for sweaters.

 

U

Unitard- A close-fitting, one-piece garment for the torso, legs, and feet, and often for the arms.

 

V

V-Neck/V-Back- An open yoke coming to a “V” shape.

 

W

Wedge Heel- A heel where the space under the foot is filled in, giving the appearance of a triangle “wedge” under the arch and heel of the foot when viewed from the side; not to be confused with the “platform heel” which refers to a thickened sole under the ball of the foot, although the two often appear together.

Wide Legs- Pants that are cut extra full through the legs.

Wing Collar- A collar with projections which cover the seams of bodices and doublets.

X

Y

Z