Apr 17, 2017

Posted by in Dress for Success

The Ultimate Fashion Dictionary

Fashion Dictionary



A-Line: A dress or skirt that is narrower at the top, flaring gently wider toward the bottom

Applique: Ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn or stuck onto a large piece of fabric to form pictures or patterns

Appearance: The choice of wardrobe, accessories, and personal style of a person

Asymmetrical styling: Designs in which each side of an item of apparel is different in structure than the other side


Balance: The symmetry or evenness of like objects, colors, values, hues, and concepts in an illustration

Bespoke: Custom made; made to order

Bias cut: The diagonal direction of a woven fabric

Bill of materials: A listing of all the materials and quantities that are needed to manufacture a specific garment or accessory

Body: The feel of fabric that is flexible but also solid and compact

Boiled wool: Wool fabric that has been processed by heat, pressure, and moisture to make it more dense and compact

Bottom-up adoption: When a person adopts a fashion trend seen on the street

Brand equity: The value attributed to a particular product’s character and marketing potential as established by its name, product or service quality and customer loyalty

Branding: Involves the naming, tagline, value, signage, uniforms, typeface, product essence and mood; it is a major concern to brand clients, marketers, advertisers, graphic designers and publicists

Bustle: A general term used to describe back fullness in a skirt

Buttonholes: The opening in which a button fits in order to close a garment


Closing the sale: Completing a sales transaction

Clotheshorse: A slang term denoting a person who pays a lot of attention to clothes and fashion trends, a fashion connoisseur

Continuity: keeping film or television characters appearances the same throughout; for the wardrobe stylist, it means that costumes look consistent if they are worn through multiple scenes

Costume bible: a binder that holds all of the information pertaining to a film productions wardrobe

Costume designer: a member of a production team who designs and constructs costumes for film television production

Creative-design model: Change in a product is initiated by the manufacturer or its design team


Dart: V-shaped tuck that is sewn into a garment in order to shape the garment


Early adopters: Trend-setters; those with a fashion forward-sense of style

Ease: The fullness incorporated into a garment so it will fit comfortably

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

Empire waist: A dress or shirt where the waist is raised above the natural waistline


Factor: A business practice designed to allow a manufacturer to maintain a steady cash flow

Fashion: The current style in clothing

Fashion classic: An enduring style or item that has been in existence for a long time or its taste comes back in fashion over and over

Fashion communicator: Encompasses the entire range of persons whose lives and/or livelihoods have an effect on how fashion gets presented and represented, promoted or denoted

Fashion dolls: Paper dolls that served as fashion models; starting in the late 1800s these paper dolls were seen wearing the latest Parisian and English styles and were regularly transported by ships to American harbors and then used to tip off American dressmakers about the latest fashion trends in Europe

Fashion plate: A term used to describe someone’s stylish, highly detailed fashion illustration

Fashion week: A fashion industry event, lasting approximately one week, which allows fashion designers, brands or “houses” to display their latest collections in runway shows to buyers and the media, who watch for the latest trends determining what is “in” and what is “out” for the season.  Fashion weeks for a particular season (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter) take place approximately 6 months prior to the retail release of the garments for public consumption.  Resort/Cruise collections are usually released one year prior to the actual season of focus.


Gathers: A means of distributing fullness to a garment by sewing in a loose row of stitches and pulling the thread to make soft folds and decrease width of the fabric

Global sales force: A team of salespeople, who reside abroad, are employed by the company and understand the local culture of the different areas in their territory

Gore: A triangular shaped piece of fabric that is intended to add fullness to a garment

Gusset: Small piece of diamond shaped fabric that is sewn into the underarm of a sleeve or into the crotch of pants


Haute couture: High sewing or high fashion

Hem: The lower edge of a part of a garment finished off with some type of sewing to cover up the raw edge


Macrame: A hand technique for making small pieces of fabric and trimmings by knotting from two to four or more yarns, strings, or cords into a variety of decorative patterns

Manufacturer: A business that turns raw materials into finished, sellable products

Market: The group of individuals or businesses that within a specific region may have a need for your product and are likely to afford it

Markup: The difference between the cost to make a garment and the amount for which it will be sold is its markup

Model or talent release form: A legal release typically signed by the subject of a photograph, video or other form of creative work

Modeling agency: A company that represents and markets models and their work to potential clients; modeling agencies usually charge a fee of 10-20 percent of every client they book for the model.  Both the model and modeling agency are paid after the model completes the work for the client and the agency receives the check from the client.  Modeling rates vary, however usually range between $50.00 to $250.00 per hour for professional, non-celebrity models hired by small entrepreneurial as well as major fashion and beauty related businesses.

Modesty: How humans decide to cover or expose their bodies, adhering to modesty standards that relate to religion, gender roles, age and more, within particular cultures

Muse: A person, place or thing credited for being the inspiration of another person’s creative work; in Greek and Roman mythology muses represent each of the nine Goddesses who are the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne and preside over the arts and sciences


Open-to-buy: Available funding to purchase merchandise


Peplum: A ruffled or flared section of a jacket or blouse that extends a short distance below the waistline

Placket: A slit or opening in a garment that allows room for the garment to be put on

Pleat: A fold of fabric that is either stitched down or held in place by another construction feature in order to manipulate fullness

Prêt-à-porter: Market ready, factory finished clothing

Prospect: A potential buyer

Prospecting: Locating potential buyers


Ready-to-wear: Garments mass produced in standardized sizes and sold at retail stores in a finished condition

Retail: To sell a product directly to the individual who will be using it

Ruching: Clothing with large areas of fullness gathered in to form a rippled effect


Selling: An exchange of goods or services designed to maneuver a mutual benefit for both buyer and seller

Seam: The place where two pieces of fabric are joined

Shift: A basic dress style that has simple, straight lines and does not fit close to the body

Side-to-side adoption: Peer-based pattern, whereby fashion influencers and fashion adopters are mutually important to one another

Sourcing: Determining where textiles and/or apparel can be obtained, and how and when this will be done

Status: For centuries, wearing certain garments or assuming a distinctive style of attire and/or adornment has served as a way to set one person apart from another in terms of leadership, wealth, strength and other measures of social standing

Style dissection: The process by which people examine fashion in great detail

Supply chain: Actions by business to business participants in monitoring the flow of goods through all the steps involved in getting the products to the end user


Three color principles: Evaluate skin tone, eye color, and hair color when determining your best colors to wear.

Tie dye: A method of decorating a garment or fabric by tying string or other material around pre-selected areas in order to prevent dye from being absorbed by these areas

Trendsetter: Someone who qualifies as a leader to something that leads the way for others to follow

Trendspotting: Tracing origins and keeping up with fashion influence

Tuck: A means of manipulating fullness in garments by folding the fabric and sewing a row of stitching parallel to the fold


U.S. Department of Labor: The federal department responsible for regulating the working conditions of wage earners in the United States, including those working in the fashion industry

Utility: A powerful motivating force as it relates to people and their clothing choices; it indicates the need for practical, seasonal attire to shield the body, so that humans can survive all sorts of physical conditions from heat waves to rain and ice storms, as well as prevent harm and injury


Value chain: The chain of business to business activities that creates something of value for the targeted buyers

Vintage: Garments that come from a previous era.  For clothing to be considered vintage, some historians require that it must be at least 25 years old.

Visual merchandising: The practice of formulating appealing product displays with a strong visual flow in the front windows of a retail store as well as on the store’s sales floor to promote new and existing merchandise


Weave types: The various ways fabrics made from yarns that are woven on a loom are constructed

Weft and warp knits: Knitting is the formation of fabrics from yarns by creating interconnected loops


Yarn types: The various ways yarns are made by twisting or otherwise binding fibers together and are used to construct fabrics

Photo Credit: Style.com

Definition Sources: Whose Who in Fashion, Brand/Story, Uncovering Fashion, Your Personal Style.

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