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Fashion Glossary

Published: 2019-07-16


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

Acid wash

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

Achromatic colours

This refers to having no colour ; in fashion it means black or white colours.

Androgynous style

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.

Anti Fashion

Dressing in styles different from the fashion of the day; showing an indifference to fashion and its varying trends

Antique style

A style of the past

Anti Pill

Treatment done on fabric to increase the wear resistance, preventing uneven and worn look of fabric surface

Army look

A style that resembles an army uniform (military style)

Art deco

Style incorporating geometric patterns in typical colours of yellow green gold silver and black

Art Nouveau

Style that incorporates linear and curvilinear designs

Academic costume

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

Accent shades

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, corstes lingerioe boutonnieres that is added to an outfit to make it more fashionable


The process of adding accessory to clothing on display

Active sportswear

Clothes worn by the participants in sports events


Garment/design similar to another original design/model but having some characteristic changes

Advanced colours

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.

American Style

A sporty easy going casual style of clothing

Androgynous style

A style that is neither strongly feminine or masculine


Another word for clothes, clothing and garments

Apparel manufacturing

Involves assembling, cutting, finishing, grading, labeling, marketing of garments in an industrial set up


One sided , not balanced


Large dressmaking organization



Athletic clothing

Clothing worn for athletic activities. Brands like Puma specialize in athletic clothing

Au naturel

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

Body clothes


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

Barfly apparel

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

Body-con clothing

Tight filling clothing eg. Bodycon dress


A store or shop ( usually high end expensive store) selling unique items to a specific set of customers

Boyfriend style

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)

Border print

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 

15 must-have elements in boho bohemian fashion

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.

Bulky clothing

Loose fitting clothing

Capsule wardrobe

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

Camouflage clothing

Design with elements of camouflage in it like the print / khaki colour

Care label

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

Casual wear

Informal wear; everyday garments


A platform along which models walk to display clothes in fashion shows.

Channel suit

A prestigious coveted suit for women designed by the Famous french designer Coco Chanel


Stylish / sophisticated


Chinese style

Cine mode

A fashion with origin in the movies

City wear

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

Colour coordination

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 consious people who share a common sense of style.


A set of creations of a designer for a particular season. 

Colour blocking

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 

Colour fast

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)

Country look

A rustic look ; wearing tweeds

Cool colours

These are colours in the blue family

Contemporary style

A current look

Continental style

This refers to the European style of clothing


In fshion this refers to using colours which are in stark constrast to each other and hence both stand out.

Conservative styles

Traditional dressing style

Cosmetic colours

Colours that relates to makeup/cosmetics used


Dress style that is universal rather than localised


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

Composite style

A combination of distinct styles; simple and refined; cool and feminine; feminine and flirtatious ; funky and fun.

Costume jewelry

This is jewelry made to complement a particular fashionable garment/collection ;  usually inexpensive than real jewellery

Dated fashion

Style of clothing which is Out of fashion  (no longer fashionable)

Diffusion Line

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.

Dandy style

This is a term related to mens clothing – indicating a flamboyant self-absorbant style of dressing


Clothing that has never been worn, often from previous season.

Design elements

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

Earth colors

Colours in the brown family

Ecclectic style of fashion

This is a fashion style composed of elements drawn from various sources;A mix of various styles 

Electric colours

Brilliant colours

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


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

Effortless dressing

This refers to a style which is high end but looks effortless.

Fabric swatches

Small pieces of fabric used as a sample

Fabric Finishes

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 popuarity fades pretty fast after a burst.

Fashion 2.0

Fashion in the digital age with social media and websites leading the way for major upheavals in fashion.

Fashion capitals

Refers to high fashion cities like Paris, New york, Los Angels, London, Tokyo, Berlin, Barcelona

Fashion Cycle

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

Fashion Forecast

A prediction as to the fashions / styles/ trends that will be popular in the coming future

Fashion foreward

A person who is ahead and knowledgeable of fashion trends

Fashion icon

Some one who is very popular for his/her fashion style that every one looks up to him/her.

Fashion Line

All of the clothing a fashion designer produces for a specific category

Fashion press

Those reporting the fashion events / shows / displays etc

Fashion show

Displaying Formal collection of fashion styles by designers to merchandisers/ customers

Fashion house

A company involved in fashion design


A devoted follower of fashion

Fashion icon

A term used to refer to someone or something that has become popular for being extremely fashionable

Fashion sense

Knowledge of how to dress fashionably.

Fashion police

An imaginary police force that ensures that people dress according to fashion.

Fashion sketch

An initial drawing made for the purpose of garment design. It will give a basic idea about the garment

Fashion subcultures

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

Fashion tribe

A group of people who share a common sense of dressing style / fad/ fashion

Fashion victim

A person who slavishly follows current fashion.

Fabric Prints

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)

Fashion Label

A collection of  expensive clothes belonging to a particular upcoming designer


Military combat apparel.

Flat sketches

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

Garcon look

Garconne; A boyish fashion worn by women ; also called flapper look


Shades of the same colour

Greek Chic

Style associated with the thinking man/woman, technology workers/professionals.Tailored suits, oversized 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

High stepper

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

Haute Couture 

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

High Fashion

The designing, making, and marketing of expensive, fashionable exclusive clothes ( as opposed to mass-market clothing); haute couture

Hippie style

An unusul ( 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.

Hourglass figure

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.

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