Fashion Glossary



A line: A style of skirt that is fitted at the waist and gradually flares out creating an ‘A’ shape. This style skirt flatters most figures and is especially flattering on a pear shape frame. This style skirt creates a perfect party silhouette.

Accessories: Items used to complete an outfit, jewellery, handbags, shoes ect.

Accordion Pleat: An accordion pleat is a pattern of folding and pressing fabric that goes back and forth, it provides a very feminine touch and flares beautifully with movement.

Applique: An embellishment that is backed with fabric and then applied to the fabric of a dress. An applique can be embroidered and/or embellished with beading or sequins and rhinestones.

Asymmetrical: when a garment is not identical on both sides, one side is longer than the other. It can be used to describe a neckline, collar or hemline of the garment.


Batwing: A batwing sleeve is created from a large triangle piece of fabric that connect the shoulder to the wrist and the wrist to the waist, generally creating a blouson effect.

Belt: A strip of material, leather, cloth, satin, stretch or metallic worn around the waist or hip to add support or accessorise a garment.

Bias: A diagonal cut made against the grain of the fabric helping the garment to mould to the curve of the body.

Blazer: A jacket usually consisting of long sleeves and lapels.

Boat Neck: A boat neck is a high wide collar that goes above the collar bone and connects at the sleeve seams. This neckline elongates the neck and gives the illusion of a larger bust.

Body Con: Describes a dress that is fitted and conforms to the shape of your body. It is a dress that allows you to show off your killer curves.

Boning: Is the rigid part of a corset that gives the garment shape on the bodice. Boning often helps to keep a strapless garment up and supports the bust.

Box Pleat: are formed when two pleats are made to face each other, they usually sit at the waistline creating an a line skirt adding volume to the skirt.

Brocade: An ornate fabric with elaborate design.

Bust Line: In dress measurements, the fullest part of the upper body, around the bra line. Measurements should be taken around the chest with your arms comfortably at your sides.


Cap Sleeve: A small sleeve that just covers the shoulder.

Cardigan: A knitted jacket, usually in wool, secured with buttons or fastenings.

Chiffon: A light weight sheer fabric with a slightly rough texture often used as an overlay for more opaque fabrics, chiffon offers a feminine and floaty movement.

Cocktail Length Dress: A traditional cocktail length falls just below the knee, however modern cocktail party dresses can be slightly shorter. It is a shorter style evening dress for formal and evening functions.

Column Dress: A column silhouette has a straight narrow shape, this style elongates the figure, however, it isn’t usually flattering on a pear shape figure.

Corset: A corset is a garment that shapes the torso by narrowing the waist. Traditionally a corset ties at the back and cinches the waistline.

Cowl Back: A loose unstructured drape of fabric that hangs in soft folds below the collar bone or on the back of the garment.

Crepe: Silk, wool or polyester fabric with a gauzy texture and a smooth a crisp drape. Adds depth to the garment with the texture through the fabric.

Cut Outs: Strategically removed sections of fabric taken away from a garment to reveal panels of skin.


Décolletage: The area of the base of the neck down to the bust.

Digital Print: A print that is created by using actual photographic images or digitally created prints transferred onto fabric for the garment.

Drop Waist: A style of dress where the waist line is moved down, usually to the top of the hips, elongating the torso, it can make you look taller and as the bodice is not fitted it is flattering on an athletic figure.


Embellishments: Any decorative item added to a garment, such as beading, sequins, rhinestones or appliques.

Embroidery: Decorative stitching into a garment, sometimes using metallic thread or pop colours, often embroidery has added beading or sequins.

Empire: A high waistline that is below the bust, an empire waistline has a lengthening effect on the body and emphasizes the bust.              This style is flattering on women who do not want to draw attention to their hips or tummy’s, also great on a pregnant woman.

Evening Wear: A dress suitable for an evening occasion or formal event. Often a wedding, gala event or black tie function.


Fishtail: A style of dress that is similar to a mermaid, but not as structured, often used with a light flowy fabric.

Flounce: A large ruffle often used over a slim fitting skirt.

Floral: Fabric printed with a flower motif.

Full Length: Falls below the ankles to the floor, usually an evening or formal dress style or a gown, also a maxi style.


Gauze: A light open weave fabric, offering movement, usually flowy. A sheer fabric with a rough texture.

Georgette: A sheer ribbed fabric that is slightly textured, offering a feminine movement providing a floaty effect.

Grosgrain: A ribbed ribbon with a slight sheen or lustre.


Halter Neck: A neckline where the straps join behind the base of the neck, showing off the shoulder and upper back.

Haute Couture: Exclusive and custom designed and made fashions.

Hem: The folded edge of a garment sewn down so the garment does not unravel.

Hips: In dress measurements, the length around the fullest part of the hip and around the bottom.


Illusion: Crafted using a sheer overlay, sometimes skin toned, creating the illusion of bare skin. Often placed over cut outs.

Iridescence: The appearance some materials give of being more than one colour when view from different angles or when the light strikes the garment.


Jersey: A knitted fabric with a stretch content that drapes over the body. When used in a structured garment, it conforms to the body.

Jewellery: Decorative objects worn over a garment, crafted with precious stones, gems with metallic backings in silver or gold.

Jewel Neckline: a high circular neckline close to the base of the neck, similar to a t shirt.


Knee Length Dress: Refers to a dress that falls on or about the knee.


Lace: A wed like patterned fabric that can be used as an applique or an overlay on another fabric. Often floral, lace is a luxurious and delicate fabric offering a feminine and sophisticated look.

Lame: A fabric in which metallic thread is used to achieve a metallic finish.


Matte Satin: medium to heavy weight fabric, it is a soft and lustrous finish with a smooth drape making this type of satin flattering on all shapes.

Mermaid: A structured silhouette that is fitted throughout the bodice, hips and thighs and flares out below the knees. Very flattering on curves, accentuating an hour glass shape.

Mini: Shorter than cocktail length, a mini party dress falls mid thigh length or above.


Natural Waistline: The smallest part of the torso, where the waist creases when you bend to one side.


Off the Shoulder: a neckline where the straps go around the outside of the shoulders, emphasizing the shoulders and collarbones.

Ombre: either a printed or dyed fabric gradually progressing from a light to darker colour. The fabric is made in large rolls so the colour combination will vary from garment to garment.

Organza: a stiff, sheer fabric often with a sheen finish. Holds its shape well and can be used as an overlay to add volume to a skirt.


Paisley: a tear drop shaped floral pattern that originated in India and Persia, often used in bohemian dress styles.

Pencil Skirt: A narrow skirt, closely fitted to the body, usually falling just above or just below the knee.

Peplum: A decorative layer attached to the waistline of a dress.

Pleat: a piece of fabric that has been folded onto itself, either flaring from the waist or sitting flush against the body.

Princess Seams: Seams that run down the front of the garment, usually over the bust, allowing the bust to be closely fitted to the body.

Puff Sleeve: A sleeve that is gathered or ruched at the seam to add volume on the shoulder.



Racer Back: shoulder straps are cut away on the back to create a y shape, emphasising the arms and shoulder blades.

Rhinestones: A faux diamond or jewel made from glass, plastic or crystal, creating a sparkling luxurious effect.  

Ruching: The gathering of fabric to create a pleated effect.

Ruffles: A piece of fabric that is gathered at one edge and used to embellish a garment, by adding texture and volume to a design.


Scoop Neck: A U shaped neckline, emphasizing the décolletage and elongat5ing the neckline.

Sequins: Plastic disks with holes in the centre that catch the light and sparkle, usually faceted to make them reflective. They are either sewn directly onto the garment or onto an applique.

Sheath: a flowing body conscious silhouette.

Shift: A dress that hangs straight down and is not fitted to the body.

Silhouette: the shape or outline of a garment.

Square Neckline: Forms at right angles on either side of the bustline.

Strapless: An elegant neckline that can be straight across or in a sweetheart shape. Emphasizes the arms, shoulders and décolletage.

Sweetheart Neckline: a heart shaped neckline that follows the natural curve of the bust and indents in the centre.


Taffeta: Medium to heavy weight fabric, offering a firm hold. Retains shape and is often used in ball gowns or fitted styles.

Tea Length: the length of a dress falling from the middle of the calf to the ankle.

Three Quarter Sleeve: Falls just above of below the elbow on the length of the arm.

Tulle: A stiff, sheer woven fabric. Used for layering underneath a garment to add volume.



V Neck: A neckline that lowers on the chest and meets in a v point.







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