Fashion Terms


A-line dress/skirt – women’s clothing that has a fitted top and a flared skirt that is widest at the hemline; it is called the A-line because the effect resembles the capital letter “A”.

almond toe shoe – a toe shape with a tapered, rounded point that resembles the shape of an almond.

angora – a fabric made from the hair of the angora goat or rabbit.

ankle boot – a boot that reaches to or just above the ankle.

ankle strap– a single or multiple strap attached to a shoe to hold it on the foot or having a purely ornamental function and passing either above the instep near the arch or around the ankle.

ankle tie/ankle wrap – mostly ribbon-like material straps that are meant to be wrapped several times and styled around the ankle and/or lower calf, and tied to fasten.

appliqué – ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn or stuck onto a large piece of fabric to form pictures or patterns.

asymmetric styling – design, or apparel in which one side is not the same as the other.


backpack – a bag with shoulder straps that allow it to be carried on one’s back.

baguette – a small handbag with a narrow shape, resembling a loaf of French bread.

balaclava – a close-fitting, knitted cap that covers the head, neck, and tops of the shoulders, worn especially by mountain climbers, soldiers, skiers, etc.

ballerina neckline – a low neckline. Dresses that often feature this neckline include strapless or spaghetti strapped dresses.

ballet slipper – a light, round-toed shoe with very flat heels for women or girls, resembling the type worn by ballet dancers.

ball gown – a type of long dress that is fitted at the bodice, with a very full skirt. 

bandeau/tube top – a woman’s strapless top formed from a band of fabric fitting around the bust.

barrel bag – a cylindrical bag that resembles a barrel.

bateau neck/boat neck – a wide neckline that follows the line of the collarbone and is high in front and back.

batwing sleeve – Cut as an extension of the bodice, the dolman sleeve is designed without a socket for the shoulder, creating a deep, wide armhole that reaches to the waist.

besom pocket – A flapless pocket trimmed with welting or reinforced stitching.

bishop sleeve – is a large sleeve which is fuller at the bottom than the top and gathered at the cuff portion.

blade/block heel – a wide heel, sometimes stacked.

blazer – a sports jacket often with notched collar and patch pockets.

bolero Jacket – a jacket ending above or at the waistline, with or without collar, lapel, and sleeves, worn open in front.

boot cut – this style of pant has a wider leg opening at the bottom and usually features a tighter or straight leg fit from waist to knee.

bootie – also known as ankle Boot is a boot that reaches to or just above the ankle.

box-pleated – a pleat made by forming two folded edges one facing right and the other left.

boxy – squarish or chunky in style or appearance: a boxy square-cut jacket.

brocade – fabric woven with an elaborate design, especially one having a raised overall pattern or floral design.

broomstick – a full, gathered or pleated skirt that has characteristic tiny creases obtained by wetting the skirt and winding it around a broomstick to dry.

bucket bag – A bucket bag has a round or oval bottom and a drawstring closure, resulting in a shape similar to a bucket.

bustier – a woman’s close-fitting, sleeveless, strapless top, often elasticized, usually having boning or facing to give it shape, and worn as a blouse.


camisole – a woman’s loose-fitting undergarment for the upper body, typically held up by shoulder straps and having decorative trimming.

cap – a close-fitting covering for the head, usually of soft supple material and having no visor or brim. a brimless head covering with a visor, as a baseball cap.

cap sleeve – a short sleeve designed to cover the shoulder and the top of the arm, with little or no extension under the arm.

capri pants – close-fitting calf-length tapered trousers.

cardigan jacket – a sweater or jacket, usually knitted, that opens down the front and is usually collarless and long-sleeved.

cargo pants – loose-fitting casual trousers with large flap pockets on the thighs.

carpenter pants/shorts – loose-fitting pants with many pockets of various sizes and loops for tools at the tops or sides of the legs.

cashmere – fine soft wool. Most commonly used in sweaters, shawls, suits, coats, and dresses.

chambray – A lightweight plain-woven fabric woven with white threads across a colored warp.

chunky heel – a solid thick heel, sometimes stacked.

cloche hat – a woman’s close-fitting, bell-shaped hat.

clog – slip-on shoe, heel is generally made of wood.

coat dress – a dress styled like a coat usually with a front buttoning from neckline to hemline.

color block – It combines the use of two or more blocks of solid color in an ensemble.

column skirt/straight skirt – also referred to as a pencil skirt, is a straight line with no flare or fullness at the hem or waistline. It is a slim-fitting skirt with a straight, narrow cut.

concealed snap/velcro/button placket – a slit in a garment where closures are hidden.

cone heel – is wider at the sole of the foot and narrower at the base.

convertible collar – is a notched collar that can have a button hole in the lower lapel, therefore can be worn unbuttoned or buttoned across the chest.

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.

cowl neck – a neckline on a woman’s garment that hangs in draped folds.

crew neck – a close-fitting, round neckline, especially on a sweater or T-shirt.

cropped pants – short pants, generally around ankle length.

cropped top/jacket – casual garment, undergarment, jacket or sweater for the upper body, cut short so that it reveals the stomach.


dolman sleeve – a loose sleeve cut in one piece with the body of a garment. Also called a batwing sleeve.

d’Orsay shoe – any shoe that reveals the arch of your foot can be characterized as d’Orsay. Traditionally, the sides of the shoe are cut away, and the vamp of the shoe is cut close to the toes.

drop tail hem – is longer in back than front.

double-breasted – (of a jacket or coat) having a substantial overlap of material at the front and showing two rows of buttons when fastened.

dropped waist/low waist – a style of waistline on a dress cut so that the seam is positioned at the hips rather than the waist, falls below the natural waistline.

dropped shoulders – a style of shoulder on a garment cut so that the seam is positioned on the upper arm rather than the shoulder.


empire bodice – empire silhouette, empire line, empire waist or just empire is a style in women’s clothing in which the dress has a fitted bodice ending just below the bust, giving a high-waisted appearance, and a gathered skirt.

empire waist – sits just below the bust of the dress. This is the highest waistline found in dresses.

epaulets – something that ornaments or protects the shoulder.

espadrilles – a light shoe with a canvas upper, and a rope sole.


fanny pack – a small pouch on a belt, for money and small articles, worn around the waist or hips.

faux fur – artificial fur made from synthetic material.

filigree – delicate ornamental work of fine silver, gold, or other metal wires, especially lacy jewelers’ work of scrolls and arabesques.

flats – shoes with very little or almost no heel at all.

flip-flop – flat thong-type of a sandal.

frog closure – frog closures are an ornamental, Chinese-inspired alternative to traditional button closures on clothing. The ornamental braiding consists of a button and a loop through which it passes.


gathers – to draw into small folds or puckers, as by pulling a thread through cloth.

gauchos – calf-length wide-legged pants or divided skirt reaching mid-calf.

gauntlets – a dress glove cuffed above the wrist.

georgette – a sheer silk or rayon crepe of dull texture.


halter top – a piece of clothing worn on a woman’s upper body that is held in place by straps around the neck and back and that leaves the back, arms, and shoulders bare.

hankerchief style – hem of dress or top falls in graceful points resembling a scarf.

hat – a covering for the head that often has a brim and a rounded or flat top.

haute couture– the houses or designers that create exclusive and often trend-setting fashions for women.

hem – the edge or border of a garment, drape, etc., especially at the bottom.

henley – a short- or long-sleeved pullover sport shirt, usually of cotton, with a round neckband and an often covered neckline placket.

hidden platform- shoes with material wrapped over platform bed, making it appear as if the shoe is one entire piece of material.

high heels – shoes that are over 2 1/2 inches in height.

hip pocket – pocket in the back of a pair of pants.

hook & eye closure – a two-piece clothes fastener, usually of metal, consisting of a hook that catches onto a loop or bar.


item du jour – item of the day.  popular, fashionable, or prominent at a particular time.


jacquard – Brocade and damask are types of jacquard woven fabrics.

jewel neck – A high round neckline resting simply at the base of the neck.


kangaroo pocket – is a type of pocket, usually featured on hoodies and sweatshirts, that is large enough to fit both hands into. The pocket is open on either side.

keyhole neckline – an opening at the neckline in the shape of a keyhole in the front or back of a garment.

kimono – a long, loose robe with wide sleeves and traditionally tied with a sash, originally worn as a formal garment in Japan and now also used elsewhere as a robe.

kitten heel – a short, slender heel, typically between 1 and 2 inches in height.

knee-high boot – rise to the knee, or slightly below. They are generally tighter around the leg shaft and ankle than at the top.

knee-length dress/skirt – to be considered knee-length, a dress should reach within an inch or two above or below the knee. Many styles fall to the middle of the knee.

knife pleat – a sharp, narrow pleat on a skirt made in one direction and typically overlapping another.


lamé – ornamental fabric in which metallic threads, as of gold or silver, are woven with silk, wool, rayon, or cotton.

LBD – Little black dress.

loafer – shaped like a moccasin, with a low flat heel with no laces, often have tassels or buckles or coin holders

low heels – shoes with short, sturdy heels up to 1 inch in height.


mandarin collar – short unfolded stand-up collar style on a shirt or jacket, adopted from the close-fitting Asian collar.

Mary Jane – 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.

matte – dull and flat, without a shine.

maxi dress – is a type of dress that is long, usually floor-length, and made with soft, free-flowing fabric.

medium heels – shoes that range from 1 inch to 2 1/2 inches.

mermaid – a long skirt which is tight-fitting from the waist to below the knees, before flaring out at the bottom. It can give the wearer a mermaid-like appearance.

messenger bag – is a type of sack, usually made out of some kind of cloth (natural or synthetic), that is worn over one shoulder with a strap that goes across the chest resting the bag on the lower back.

mid-calf boot – rise midway between the ankle bone and the knee.

minaudiere – a small, decorative handbag without handles or a strap.

mini dress – a very short dress.

mixed-media – a combination of two or more fabrics in a garment.

moccasin – made of one piece of leather stitched together with a leather sole.

mule – a style of shoe that is backless and often closed-toed.


natural waist – the indentation between the hips and the ribcage.

notched collar – a collar forming a notch with the lapels of a garment at the seam where collar and lapels join.

notched collar – a collar forming a notch with the lapels of a garment at the seam where collar and lapels join.


off-the-shoulder neck – sits below the shoulders and highlights the collarbone and shoulders.

ombré – having tones of color that shade into each other, graduating from light to dark.

OTR – off the rack.

outrè – highly unconventional; eccentric or bizarre.

over-the-knee boot – long boots that fully or partly cover the knee.

oxford shirt – long sleeve, button-down collar, split yoke, with a pocket on the left breast.

oxford shoe – a type of lace-up shoe with a low heel.


pagoda sleeve – A funnel-shaped outer sleeve turned back to expose an inner sleeve and lining.

pearlized – resembling or made to resemble mother-of-pearl; iridescent.

peasant top – a type of shirt with wide, puffed sleeves gathered at the wrist, sometimes with embroidery along the collar.

peek-a-boo – cutouts revealing glimpses of the skin or body.

peep/open toe – shoe with a narrow opening in the front that exposes the toes.

peplum – a short flared, gathered, or pleated strip of fabric attached at the waist of a woman’s jacket, dress, or blouse to create a hanging frill or flounce.

placket – an opening or slit in a garment, covering fastenings or giving access to a pocket, or the flap of fabric under such an opening.

platform shoe – shoes/boots/sandals with thick soles, generally made of cork/plastic/rubber/wood.

pleat – a double or multiple folds in a garment or other item made of cloth, held by stitching the top or side.

pointed toe – a shoe that comes to a sharp point.

princess line – fitted dress or other garment cut in long panels without a horizontal join or separation at the waist. 

prism heel – three flat sides that form a triangle at the point of contact with the ground.

puff sleeve/pouf sleeve – a short sleeve gathered at the top and cuff and full in the middle.

pump – a shoe with a low-cut front and usually without a fastening. However, some have an ankle strap.



raglan – having or denoting sleeves that continue in one piece up to the neck of a garment, without a shoulder seam.

ribbed – a raised ridge or wale in knitted material or in cloth.

romper – a combination of shorts and a shirt.


saddle shoe – an oxford shoe with a contrasting colored strip of leather across the middle of the shoe

sandal – exposed shoe style that includes an open toe and open back. 

sarong – a garment consisting of a long piece of cloth worn wrapped around the body and tucked at the waist or under the armpits.

scoop neck – a deeply curved wide neckline on a garment.

sequined – embellished with ornamental discs or spangles.

shawl collar – a rounded turned-down collar, without lapel notches, that extends down the front of a garment.

sheath dress  – fit close to the body, relatively unadorned.

shift dress – is a short dress that lacks detailed shaping. Usually sleeveless, these dresses can be plain or feature A-line skirts or empire waists.

shirred waist – a decorative gathering (as of cloth) made by drawing up the material along two or more parallel lines of stitching.

shirt dress – a dress with a collar and buttons in the style of a shirt, typically cut without a seam at the waist.

shrug – a woman’s close-fitting cardigan or jacket, cut short at the front and back so that only the arms and shoulders are covered.

skort – a pair of shorts with a flap across the front (and sometimes also the back) to give the appearance of a skirt.

sportswear – clothes worn for casual outdoor use or for such sports activities as jogging, cycling, tennis, sailing, etc.

slingback– a shoe held in place by a strap around the back of the ankle.

spaghetti strap – a thin shoulder strap on an item of women’s clothing.

split-neck – a type of neckline that consists of a round neckline with a split in the center that creates a V.

square neck – is a type of neckline that forms a square-shaped frame around the collarbone.

stacked heel – A heel comprised of many layers of leather, laid one on top of another, in order to resemble a wood-grain appearance.

stiletto heel – a long thin heel very high heeled shoe, that looks like a stiletto knife.

straight leg – straight narrow leg that does not flare at the ankles. They are normally the same circumference from the knees to the hem.

suede – leather with the flesh side rubbed to make a velvety nap.

surplice top/dress – is a faux wrap style that differs from authentic wrap styles in that the diagonal front seam is sewn up.

sweetheart neck – a heart-shaped cut on the neckof a dress or blouse.


tank top – a close-fitting sleeveless top.

tankini – a two-piece bathing suit consisting of a tank top and a bikini bottom.

tapered legs – refers to a pant style that is tight-fitting, or tapered, around the ankle.

tea length dress – denoting a dress or skirt of a length that falls above the ankle and below the knee.

thongs – open toe sandals where the big toe is separated from the rest of the foot.

tie dye – a method of producing textile patterns by tying parts of the fabric to shield it from the dye.

tres chic – very fashionable or stylish.

t-strap – a strap on the upper of a shoe that extends backward from the vamp and joins with a strap that crosses the upper part of the instep, forming a T.

tulle skirt – a fluffy skirt that’s made with a netting-like fabric.

tunic style – A loose-fitting garment, sleeved or sleeveless, usually simple in style, reaching from the shoulders to a length somewhere between the hips and the ankles.

turtleneck – a high close-fitting turnover collar used especially for sweaters.

twill – a fabric so woven as to have a surface of diagonal parallel ridges.


unitards – a tight-fitting one-piece garment of stretchable fabric that covers the body from the neck to the knees or feet.

upper– all parts of a shoe above the sole that are stitched together.


velour – a plush woven fabric resembling velvet, chiefly used for soft furnishings, casual clothing, and hats.

v-neck – a neckline of a garment, having straight sides meeting at a point to form a V-shape.


wedge heel – heel that extends from the back to the ball of the shoe, laying flat on the ground.

welt pocket – is a small, flat inset pocket with the lower lip finished by an upstanding welt that may be from 3/8” to 1” wide. It can have one or two lips finishing the opening edges. Used mostly in classic wear.

wide legs – are trousers that are as wide at the hem as they are throughout the rest of the leg.

wing collar – a high stiff shirt collar with turned-down corners.

wrap top/dress – is a type of garment that is wrapped around the body and is secured in place using knots.



yoke – is a design element which located at the top of a shirt, skirt, pants or shorts, and is cut separately to create a pieced illusion.


zori – a traditional Japanese style of sandal, much like a flip-flop, originally made with a straw sole.


2 thoughts on “Fashion Terms

  1. Thank you. I thought it might help my readers in understanding some of the terminology used throughout the blog. I still have a ways to go on the vision terminology but I’ll get there eventually.

    1. Indeed it’s a great help 🙂

Comments are closed.