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Fashion Glossary

Your Guide to Materials, Fabrics, Styles and More

Browse our Fashion Glossary below to find important information about materials, fabrics and styles trending in womens clothing.

Quick Links:   A - E  |   F - J  |   K - O  |   P - S  |   T - Z

A

A-line A dress or skirt that is narrower at the top and gradually flares out to a wider hemline resembling the letter A. This style works well on most figure types; good for disguising bottom heavy figures.

Acrylic Synthetic manufactured fabric that is soft and wool-like.

Acrylic is usually found in winter garments such as sweaters and dresses.

Ajour Knit A crochet style where the fabric has knitted openings.

Appliqué Fabric that has been cut and applied to another fabric or garment in order to decorate the material. Most appliqués are sewn on to the garment but may also be attached with an adhesive.

Asymmetric A dress, top, or sweater with one shoulder strap or sleeve. The other shoulder is bare. Hemlines are often diagonal.

B

Babydoll A short nightgown that is typically empire waist with thin straps. See Negligee.

Balconette Bra Bra that is minimal cup, half or three-quarter coverage that covers the nipples and lifts the top half of your breasts. It creates nice, rounded cleavage, but doesn't fully cover your breasts.

Bandeau Bra Simple bras made from a single band of material around your chest with no wires. Sometimes there are built-in cups, but usually there are none.

Batik A fabric dyeing technique where dye does not penetrate the textile fully to leave blank areas.

Bell sleeve A long or three quarter length sleeve that flares out very wide at the hem.

Bikini A two-piece swimsuit that includes a top and bottom and typically exposes the midsection.

Bikini Brief A panty that is cut to cover most of your cheeks, but is very narrow on the side, providing a high, flattering leg opening.

Bishop Sleeve A wide sleeve that blossoms out then narrows at the wrist.

Blazer A long sleeved sports jacket with lapels.

Blouson A loose jacket that has elastic or a drawstring at or below the waist, which causes it to blouse.

Boat Neck A narrow neckline that is open shoulder to shoulder.

Bodice The upper part of a dress or top.

Bohemian Also known as Boho. A style inspired from the 60s and 70s that is characterized by free and flowy fabrics, floral prints, and crochet details.

Bolero jacket A short jacket with long sleeves.

Bomber jacket A loose waist length jacket with fitted waist and cuffs.

Boot A sturdy item of footwear covering the foot, the ankle, and sometimes the leg below the knee.

Bouclé A knitted or woven fabric with a looped or knotted texture. Loops are usually similar in size and can range from tiny circles to large curls.

Bodysuit A one-piece form-fitting garment that covers the torso and the crotch. The style of a basic bodysuit is similar to a one-piece swimsuit and a leotard.

Boy Short Seamless stretch, form-fitted style offering full rear coverage that hits upper thigh.

Burn-out A technique of destroying a layer of fabric to create a patterned effect and generally results in a sexy, sheer look.

Button Fly Buttons are used instead of a zipper as the closure on bottoms.

Bra Extensions A detachable closure that hooks onto your bra to expand the length of the band.

Bralette A soft, unlined bra that does not have underwire. Typically in a lacey style.

Bustier A highly structured garment, which extends from bust to hip, although it will vary in length.

Most bustiers have flexible boning throughout the body of the garment for additional shaping, and close in the back with a long column of hooks and eyes.

C

Cable Knit A knit in a raised loop stripe that resembles a twisted cable, used in knitted sweaters.

Camisole Also called cami. A top or dress with spaghetti straps that can be worn alone or as a layering piece.

Canvas An extremely durable woven textile.

Capri Pants Calf length pants.

Cap sleeve A very short sleeve that extends to just over the shoulder.

Cardigan A sweater that opens down the front.

Cargo Pants or jeans with pockets on the side of the leg.

Carmen An off-the-should blouse that typically has a ruched neckline.

Cashmere A fine, soft downy wool. A luxury fiber because it’s one of the rarest and most expensive fabrics. Cashmere is found in winter garments such as sweaters, dresses, and coats.

Chiffon A light, sheer fabric typically made of nylon, silk, or rayon.

Cheekies A panty that has less coverage than bikini style, but more than thongs. The front and waist portion are mostly covered, exposing the most flattering part of the rear.

Cinched Waist A feature in a garment that tapers narrowly at the mid-section, accentuating the curves of the body.

Cold Shoulder A top with cut out shoulders.

Control Briefs A panty that rises to the waist, or sometimes extending to the naval, and has full coverage of the rear. They are designed to offer support while giving a slimming appearance.

Color Blocking Wearing bold, solid colors in an outfit.

Convertible See Multiway.

Cookies Cookies are oval shaped, removable demi pads. These are generally used in push-up bras, which are designed to create dramatic, yet adjustable enhancement.

Corduroy A pile fabric with vertical ridges, usually made of cotton.

Corset A tight fitting top, often reinforced by stays, worn to support and shape the waistline and bust.

Cotton A natural fiber that can be made into a variety of fabrics. Cotton is very breathable, absorbent, and soft.

Cover Up Beach garments typically worn over a swimsuit; some styles can be worn as regular clothing.

Cowl Neck A neckline that hangs in draped folds.

Crew Neck A close-fitting, round neckline, especially on a sweater of T-shirt.

Crochet An open knit in which yarn is looped into a patterned fabric.

Crossback X-back design that offers full bust support and range of motion.

Culottes Trousers that go to the knee or just below that have a wide hem, giving the appearance of a skirt.

Cut Out A part of a garment that has been cut out to reveal skin.

D

Dart A V-shaped tuck that is sewn into a garment in order to shape the fabric so the garment fits the rounded part of the body.

Demi-cup A bra that has a sexy, cleavage enhancing shape. These bras offer less coverage than a full cup and more than a balconette.

Demi bras cover approximately half to ¾ of the breast, and will create you cleavage and uplift.

Denim A sturdy cotton twill fabric, typically blue, used for jeans, overalls, and other clothing.

Distressed A finish that makes clothes seem worn, ripped, or frayed.

Draping Hanging fabric in folds or covering the fabric in loose folds. Hemlines are often uneven.

E

Elastane A synthetic fiber that is extremely stretchy and can revert back to its original shape.

Embellished Ornamentation of fabric by using a wide variety of decorative pieces such as sequins, beads, or decorative pieces.

Embroidery Ornamentation of a fabric by using any wide variety of decorative hand or machine stitches in the same or contrasting color with needlework.

Empire Waist Waist begins just below the bust which gives dresses and tops a flattering fit. This outline is especially flattering to pear shapes wishing to disguise the stomach area or emphasize the bust.

Eyelet A type of embroidery with small holes that are cut in the fabric.

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F

Fabric content The kinds of fibers represented in a particular garment.

Faux leather Imitation leather made of materials other than animal skins. Faux leather is lighter and easier to clean than leather.

Flare Sleeve Similar to Bell Sleeve, but the sleeve is less wide at the wrist.

Fleece A synthetic or natural textile that has a pile surface of both sides. Fleece is lightweight, warm, and soft.

Flounce Hem A strip of decorative fabric attached to one edge to create a wide ruffle.

Fringe A decorative trim of loose pieces of fabric.

Front Closure Bra A bra that, unlike conventional bras, only have one non-adjustable clasp at the center front.

Full Busted Bra A bra that offers comfort and support features designed specifically for DD+ cup sizes.

Full Cup Bras A full cup bra completely covers most of the breast, offering both more coverage and more support than a demi cup bra.

Funnel neck A neckline that is high and wide. A funnel neckline is attached to the body of the garment and not sewn to the neckline.

G

Garter Belt A belt worn around the waist or hips with pieces of material hanging that have connecters at the end to hold up stockings.

Georgette A crinkled, sheer fabric that has a lightweight, flowing look.

Gingham A medium or lightweight, plaid or checked fabric using more than two colors with a plain weave made of cotton.

Grosgrain A strong, tightly woven corded fabric that has narrow, horizontal ribs. Commonly used as a trim.

Gusset A rectangular piece of fabric sewn into the crotch area of shorts or pants to allow for a better fit where the center back and center front seam meet the inside leg seam.

H

H-Back Sporty back design shaped like the letter H that offers superior bust support.

Halter A dress or top that is tied around the neck, exposing the back and shoulders. Also called halter neck.

Handkerchief Hem Also called hanky hem. The hem of a skirt or blouse that is gently jagged to form flowing points that resemble a scarf.

Henley A collarless top with a closure that stops midway down the top.

Herringbone A broken twill weave that is sewn in opposite directions to form a zigzag pattern.

High-Low Hem A garment with an uneven hemline varying from long to short.

High Waist Our highest rise brief bottom that conceals most of the tummy and rests slightly above the natural waist.

Hipster A panty with a lower rise than a brief or hi-cut that provides full seat coverage. The hipster has a lower leg line that is squared off in appearance.

Hook and Eye Closure Fastening system on garments with a small hook that is inserted into an eye loop.

Hounds Tooth A small broken check pattern woven into a fabric.

J

Jacquard A fabric with an intricately woven pattern.

Jersey A stretchy fine knitted fabric used in t-shirts, sportswear, and figure hugging clothes.

Joggers Loose fitting pants usually with elastic at the waistband and ankles.

Jumpsuit A garment that incorporates a top and full length bottom in one piece.

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K

Keyhole A teardrop or round shaped cutout that fastens at the front or back neckline.

Kimono sleeve Cut as part of the bodice, a kimono sleeve has a wide, sloping shape.

Knit A textile made from a single yarn looped together in a braided pattern. Knits have more stretch and flexibility than woven textiles.

L

Lace A fine, decorative fabric made by weaving thread into delicate, usually floral, patterns that have small spaces in between them.

Leather A natural textile made from tanning and preserving the hide of various animals.

Legging Tight form fitting pants.

Linen Cloth woven from flax.

Lycra® Lycra® is a trademark name for elastane. See Elastane.

M

Maternity Bra A bra specifically designed for women who are pregnant. Since pregnant women often have swelling and tenderness in the breasts, maternity bras are constructed with wider straps to increase support and reduce bounce, as well as more comfortable fabrics to prevent irritation.

Maxi A skirt or dress with a long full length, usually to the ankles.

Mesh A knit, woven, or knotted fabric of net-like open texture. Mesh is lightweight and breathable.

Metallic A yarn or fiber made partially or entirely of metal and having a metallic appearance.

Mini Skirt A skirt with a hemline well above the knees.

Mini Dress A dress with a hemline well above the knees.

Mock Neck A neckline that come up very high and sit above the clavicle, finished with a thin, standing collar. These necklines are different from turtle-neck as the collar does not fold over.

Molded Molded bras have cups that are pre-shaped and designed to mirror the natural shape of the breasts, for a better fit and comfort. Molded bras are generally unlined and may be either soft cup or underwire.

Monokini A one piece swimsuit that looks like a bikini top and bottom joined in the middle with a minimal amount of fabric.

Mottled A fabric effect where the shades of color changes and blends in an irregular pattern.

Multiway Straps that can be worn in several ways such as: strapless, classic, halter, V-neck, or crisscross.

N

Negligee A loose dressing gown. Can be casual for sleep or sexy for lingerie. See Babydoll.

Nylon A synthetic fiber known for its strength and stain resilience.

O

Off-the-Shoulder Garment neckline that does not cover the shoulders and highlights your collarbone.

One Piece A form-fitting swimsuit that fully covers the torso.

Open Thong A thong that is exposed at the crotch.

Oversized Enlarged garments that alter the natural shape of the wearer.

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P

Padded Bras Bras that have a lining of soft material, worn to exaggerate the size of or simulate the appearance of a woman's breasts. The thickness of the padding varies.

Paisley A swirled pattern curved with teardrop shapes.

Paper Straw Also known as Toyo straw. A stiff, natural textile made from stems and stalks of various plants that is typically braided or woven.

Patch Pockets A small pocket found on pants or shorts which look like a piece of material sewn on to resemble a patch.

Peep toe A shoe style where the front section is cut away to reveal the toes.

Pencil skirt A skirt that is cut in a straight line from the hips to the hem and usually knee length. Can either taper in at the hem or fall straight down from the hip.

Peplum A short full flounce or an extension of a garment below the waist, covering the hips.

Piping A fabric trim stitched along the seams or edges of a garment. Trim color can be the same color as the garment or in a contrasting color.

Placket An opening or slit in a blouse, skirt, or dress usually covering fastenings that facilitates putting it on or taking it off.

A piece of cloth reinforcing the opening used for closure of a garment.

Pleat A type of fold formed by doubling fabric back upon itself and securing it in place.

Plunge Bras A bra that has very low cups in the center that form a deep V-neckline. The wires at the bottom front of the bra are very short.

Most Plunge bras are lightly padded yet very revealing

Polo shirt A short sleeved pullover with a small, flat collar.

Polyester A synthetic textile made from petroleum based products. Polyester is durable, wrinkle and stretch resistant, and quick drying

Pom-Pom A small, woolen, decorative ball or tuft.

Poncho A circular piece of fabric with a hole cut out for the head, usually worn as a cape or jacket.

Puff sleeve A sleeve created by generous gatherings around the armhole. Sleeves can be varying lengths.

Push-Up Bra that creates the appearance of increased cleavage by using angled cups containing padding that pushes the breasts inwards and upwards, towards the center of the chest.

R

Racerback Bra A racerback is designed for a no-show fit under tank tops and other cross-back styles. Most convertible bras can be worn as a racerback

Rayon A semi-synthetic fiber made from regenerated cellulose. Rayon is a versatile fiber that can imitate other natural textiles such as cotton, wool, silk, or linen.

Ribbing A knitting method where small rows are finely knitted together to form a texture.

Romper A loose one-piece garment combining a shirt and a short.

Ruched A sewing technique where fabric is gathered in a repeating pattern, creating a ripple appearance. Often used to create draping and texture in a garment.

Ruffle An ornamental strip of fabric tightly gathered or pleated on one edge and applied to a garment.

S

Sateen A version of satin that has a thicker weave.

Satin A silky, lustrous fabric with a smooth, shiny surface.

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

Seamless Bra A bra constructed without seamed cups. There may be seams in other parts of the bra and still be considered seamless.

Sequin A small, shiny disk sewn on to garments as a decorative ornament.

Shapewear Tight fitting underwear or cami intended to control and shape the figure.

Sheer A fabric that is transparently thin.

Shelf bra A bra that reveals the whole breast while supporting and lifting from the bottom.

Shift dress A loose fitting dress with no defined waistline.

Shirt dress A dress that resembles a lengthened shirt, commonly worn with a belt.

Silk A soft, lustrous fiber made from the cocoon of a silkworm.

Skinny Leg A form-fitting slim fit jean or pant with snug fit through the legs and a small tapered leg opening.

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

Sleeveless A garment that has no sleeves.

Smocking An embroidery technique that gathers a section of the material into tight pleats, holding them together with parallel stitches so that it can stretch.

Sneakers A casual, flat shoe that laces up and has a rubber sole.

Soft Bras Bras with no underwire, but may be padded, seamed, or lined to provide shaping and support. Soft bras typically do not have a back closure and slip on over the head.

Spaghetti Straps A very thin shoulder strap on a woman’s garment.

Sports Bra Sports bras are specifically designed to offer the appropriate amount of support during physical activity.

Square Neck Neckline that dips down and has the sharp structured outline of a square.

Stick-on-Bra Also known as Sticky Bra or Self Adhesive Bra. A backless, strapless bra that attaches by a medical-grade adhesive.

Usually made from silicone.

Straight Leg A pant or jean with a uniform fit from the top of the pant leg to the bottom of the leg opening.

Strapless Bras Underwire bras without straps

Stockings A long type of sock that covers most of the leg and is usually held up by garters. Stockings are typically made from transparent nylon or silk.

Sweetheart A neckline that is low at the front and shaped like the top of a stylized heart.

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T

Tank top A short, sleeveless top.

Tankini Two-piece swimsuit that has the look of a one piece. The top fully covers the torso and is paired with either a bikini bottom, skirt or shorts.

Tassel A dangling ornament that is group of threads or cords held together at one end.

Thong Gives full frontal coverage, but in back there is only a narrow piece of fabric that rests between the buttocks.

Tie Dye A pattern created by dyeing the fabric after knotting it to create an irregular pattern.

Tiers Layers of fabric placed one above the other.

Trumpet Sleeve A top with a sleeve falling straight to the elbow, where it flares in the shape of a trumpet.

Triangle Bikini Bikini top with cups in the basic shape of a triangle. Straps secure around the neck and the back to provide adjustable sizing.

Triangle Bra A bra that has triangle shaped cups may be padded or lined, but generally do not have underwire.

T-Shirt Bra T-shirt bras are seamless, contoured styles designed to prevent any show-through when wearing light knits. They create an ultra-smooth look under knits, sweaters or clingy tops.

Tulle A very fine mesh like net fabric commonly used in evening wear and bridal gowns. Tulle comes in loose and tight weaves, giving the fabric different texture.

Tunic A woman´s top that is either loose or tight fitting, and extends to the hips or below. Depending on the length, can be worn as a shirt or a dress.

Turtle Neck A garment with a close fitting, round, and high collar that folds over and covers the neck.

Tweed A soft, thick fabric woven from contrasting woolen yarns.

U

Unlined Bra A bra that does not have any foam lining or padding in the cups. As a result, it maintains your breasts’ natural shape.

Underwire A thin, flexible wire, which offers added support to the cups of bras, bustiers, and shapewear.

Underwire Bra Bras with wire under the bust of each cup for extra support and shaping.

V

Velour A soft, plush, woven fabric that is similar to velvet.

Velvet A fabric of closely woven thick short pile fabric that is soft to the touch.

Viscose A semi-synthetic fiber made from dissolved cellulose that is a type of rayon. Viscose is sometimes called “artificial silk”.

It is light, breathable, and absorbent.

V-neck A neckline with a V shaped front.

W

Wedge A shoe with a heel that runs from the back of the shoe to the middle or front. The heel has a triangular shape.

Wireless Bra A soft cup bra that is shaped like an underwire bra, but with no wire.

Wool A natural textile made from the fur of various mammals, usually sheep. Wool is extremely durable, comfortable, and warm.

Woven Textiles that are created by many threads interlacing along a warp and weft. Woven fabrics have low elasticity and are durable.