You Keep Using That Word ... Let Me Tell You What It Means ....

This is my glossary of fashion terms with a specific focus on manufacturing, but really it's everything I can think of. Terminology is important ... in fact it's critical in the communication chain of manufacturing ... getting it wrong can be a very costly affair. I want to create the largest glossary of terms possible ... a dictionary of fashion.

I'm going to do it differently, though 
... I'm adding only one new definition each day (starting 20th March 2021) so I can get some interaction going in our Facebook group and open the language up for discussion ... if you want in on that then you'll need to join our group. I have a nice little cgi script I use to randomly select each word, so each addition won't be in any particular order. I also welcome new suggestions to add to the list. 

Don't forget the fastest way to find what you are after is to use the search bar at the top!


  • A la mode

  • A Line Skirt

  • Accoutrements

  • Achromatic colours

  • Acid wash

  • Active/sportswear

  • Anchor Point

  • Androgynous style

  • Anime

  • Ao Dai

  • Apparel

  • Arm Scye

  • Art deco

  • Art Nouveau

  • Asymmetrical

  • Atelier

  • Avant-Garde

  • Bandeau

  • Bespoke

  • Bikini Clip

  • Binder Attachment

  • Bishop Sleeve

  • Blind Stitch Machine

  • Boat Neckline

  • Body Rise Adjustment

  • Bohemian style (Boho)

  • Boy Leg

  • Button Hole Machine

  • Camouflage

  • Care label

  • Casual wear

  • Catwalk

  • Cheongsam

  • Chic

  • Circular Skirt

  • Clover Leaf

  • Collection

  • Colour blocking

  • Colour coordination

  • Colourway

  • Contemporary style

  • Continental style

  • Contrast

  • Cool colours

  • Cosmopolitan

  • Cosplay

  • Costume

  • Costume jewellery

  • Costumier

  • Couturier

  • Cover Stitch Machine

  • Cowl

  • Distressing

  • Draping

  • Draping

  • Earth colours

  • Eclectic style

  • Elastic

  • Embellishing

  • Embroidery Machine

  • Empire Line

  • Ensemble

  • Ethnic

  • Exotic

  • Fabric Finishes

  • Fabric swatches

  • Fad

  • Fashion Label

  • Fashion victim

  • Fatigues

  • Flat Collar

  • Flat sketches

  • Florals

  • Flounce

  • Formal clothing

  • Foundation

  • French Cut Sleeve

  • Fringe

  • Full Bust Adjustment

  • Gender queer

  • Gingham

  • Grommet

  • Grunge

  • Haberdashery

  • Halterneck

  • Hand of a fabric

  • Haute Couture

  • High Fashion

  • Hippie style

  • Hosiery

  • House

  • Iridescent colours

  • Kawaii

  • Keyhole

  • Knock Off

  • Look Book

  • Lounge Wear

  • Lycra/Spandex

  • Made to measure

  • Maillot

  • Mandarin Collar

  • Milliner

  • Minimalist

  • Monokini

  • Mood Board

  • Motif

  • Muslin

  • Neutral Colours

  • Notch

  • Nylon (See Polyamide)

  • Off Shoulder Neckline

  • Off the rack

  • Ombre

  • Overlocker / Serger

  • Palette Line

  • Paneling

  • Pantone

  • Pattern

  • Pattern Maker

  • Pelvic Tilt Adjustment

  • Petticoat Line

  • Placement prints

  • Plaid

  • Pleat

  • Polyamide

  • Polyester

  • Pret-a-porter

  • Pretzel Swimsuit

  • Princess Line

  • Queen Anne Neckline

  • Ready to wear

  • Retro

  • Retrofuturism

  • Reversible

  • Ruffle

  • Sailor Collar

  • Sample

  • Sample Maker

  • Sarong

  • Seamless

  • Seamstress

  • Selvedge

  • Separates

  • Sequin

  • Silhouette

  • Sloper

  • Snap Fastener

  • Spaghetti Strap

  • Sportswear

  • Square Leg

  • Stonewashed fabric

  • Straight Stich Machine

  • Street wear

  • Stretch Percentage

  • Stylist

  • Sublimation Printing

  • Supportive

  • Sway Back Adjustment

  • Sweetheart Neckline

  • Tailor

  • Tailoring

  • Tension Line

  • Theme board

  • Thong / G String

  • Throwback

  • Toille

  • Trend

  • Turtleneck

  • Up cycled clothing

  • Utilitarian clothing

  • Vintage

  • Wasp waist

  • Weft

  • Winged Collar

  • Zig Zag Machine

A La Mode

à la mode literally translates as "to the style/fashion"  and means current fashion or fashionable. Synonyms: au courant, chic, cool [slang], exclusive, fashionable, fresh [slang], happening, hip, in, modish, sharp, smart, snappy, stylish, supercool, swell, swish, trendy, voguish


A Line Skirt

An A-line skirt is a skirt that is fitted from the waist to the hips and then gradually widens towards the hem, giving the impression of the shape of a capital letter A. The term is also used to describe dresses and coats with a similar shape. The term was first used by the French couture designer Christian Dior as the label for his collection of Spring 1955. As the skirt flare increases until the flare angle matches the waist to hip angle it may be referred to as an A line, over that it would be circular and then flared. Typically an A line skirt flares out just enough to incorporate enough ease to pass the upper thigh and continues at that angle rather than dropping vertically on the pattern.



Accoutrements are the personal/individual equipment of service people such as soldiers, sailors, police and firemen and employees of some private organizations such as security guards, other than their basic uniform and weapons. Accoutrements can be intended for field, garrison or ceremonial purposes. In modern terminology they may also be all the things you have with you when you travel or when you take part in a particular activity, such as sunglasses, watch, phone, handbag, car keys, water bottle, etc.

synonym: accessories, appurtenance, equipage, fitting, fixture, gear, outfit, paraphernalia, trappings.


Achromatic Colour

Achromatic colors (white, grey and black) have lightness but no hue or saturation. A chromatic color is a color which has even just slightest amount of hue. A monochromatic color scheme, means that designers use varying shades of only one color, be they chromatic or achromatic .... although some will argue that achromatic colours can't be in a monochromatic colour scheme, even though the full achromatic range is indeed a single monochromatic scheme of white (a combination of all colour) ... this is an endless debate but something to be aware of.

Asymmetrical (a·sym·met·ri·cal)

Asymmetrical means anything that lacks symmetry. Symmetry means something that has a line down the middle from which either side is a mirror image of the other … in fashion this means the right side has a different outline, size or design to the left side (in fashion it can’t be front to back, or top to bottom like it might be for objects). An important exception to this is fabric choice … if a garment is a perfect mirror with the exception of just the colour, print or fabric type then it’s not said to be asymmetrical.

Some things that are frequently referred to as asymmetrical are garments with a single shoulder strap or a skirt with an uneven hem line (one side higher than the other).


Binder Attachment

A binder attachment is a device that you attach to your sewing machine or sewing machine foot in order to automatically fold an edge binding strip and apply it to the garment. There are three main types. 

  • The first is a simple centre fold binding: this simply folds a precut strip in half, leaving a raw edge on either side. This is typical of binding on non-fashion items like furniture, carpeting and on commercial applications in with the binding strip doesn't fray.

  • The second is a double fold top, single fold bottom: this is similar to the first binder except that the top half of the strip is folded twice such that a raw edge doesn't show on the outside of the garment. These are fairly uncommon now. 

  • The third is a double fold top and bottom: essentially the strip is folded on the outside both top and bottom first, and then in the center such that the raw edges are both inside the binding strip. This is the standard for stretchwear and most bound edges in fashion. These binders also frequently come with an elastic tensioner built in to swimwear and lingerie. This is the fastest and most accurate way to finish edges in stretch garments.

Clover Leaf (clo·ver·leef)

A clover leaf is a two or more lobed cut out pattern (typically three) feature that resembles the petals of a flower or a clover leaf. 

It originated as a small repeating lace trim feature in blouses in the late 1800's France, and is also seen in leatherwork in the same period. In recent times it's become a highly popular back feature in dance and active wear.

It is also referred to as a clover cut out or knot cut out. 


Colour Blocking (cul·lor·blo·king)

Colour blocking is the deliberate use of contrasting coloured panels to enhance, modify or disguise shape. It's done by creating a contrast line that's visually stronger than the natural lines of the body.

It's easily illustrated in an exaggerated princess line ... The princess line goes closer to the side seam around the bust and comes in further at the waist and back out again to create an hour glass effect. With a strong contrast this is very effective .... you choose a colour for the inside that tires the eye faster such that you can't see the outer edge of the outside colour. 

White naturally disappears faster than other colours (with exception when it's on dark skin). When you feature white with another colour people will see the outline of the colour and not the white. When white is featured with black and another colour, the colour tends to stand out and the lines where they join become very defined.

Colour blocking is not just using lots of colours for the sake of using colours. It isn't, for example simply having a series of red, white and blue panels to match a flag or corporate colours. It refers to the specific process of using blocks of colour to create illusion. If it's primary purpose is not illusion, then it's not colour blocking, just lots of colour (which is all good too).


Gingham (ging-ham)

Gingham Gingham is a medium-weight, untextured woven fabric with striped, check or plaid patterns in white and one or more other, bright colors. It is typically made from cotton or cotton-blend yarns. Gingham specifically refers to cotton yarns which are dyed into their constituent colours before the fabric is woven ... refered to as "dyed in the yarn". "Gingham" comes from the Malayan word genggang, or "striped." Stretch or other fabrics with printed stripes or checks are not gingham. It must be a woven and it must be coloured before weaving.


Lounge wear (lownj·wear)

Lounge wear is a particular fashion category defined as casual clothes that are suitable for relaxing and laying around at home. They are something between sleep wear and athletic wear, although there seems to be a lot of overlap these days. The underlying tone though is comfort and relaxation. So no that naughty outfit you might wear to bed on occasion is not lounge wear …. nor are regular underwear and a t-shirt considered lounge wear, even if that’s what most singles claim to wearing while watching TV. Lounge wear is a combination of pieces, not typically a single item.

Typical examples are sweat pants, and t-shirt type tops … yoga pants could be called lounge wear if you’re not using them for yoga and exercise. Not surprisingly lounge wear became the fastest growing section of the fashion industry with the advent of Covid-19. There are so many easy fit PDF loungewear patterns available now. Lounge wear can be loose fit, close fit or stretch … as long as it’s soft and comfy. It doesn’t have to be long legged/short sleeved … a crop top and stretchy shorts could be lounge wear.

Can it be worn outside? Well yes, lounge wear has become the thing for grocery shopping, dropping off and picking up kids from school and it’s now acceptable for zoom business meetings (apparently) ... but like grocery shopping it’s definitely not an outside night time thing. Some people like wearing their pajamas to run down to the 711 for ice cream at 10pm … this is not lounge wear or sleep wear … I don’t want to say what this is.


Polyamide (poly - a - mide)

A polyamide is a polymer with repeating units linked by amide bonds. Polyamides occur both naturally and artificially. Examples of naturally occurring polyamides are proteins, such as wool and silk. 

Artificial or synthetic polyamides are simply called polyamide or PA, but are also more commonly known commercially as Nylon ... the first synthetic fiber developed and dates all the way back to 1930.

Synthetic Polyamide fibres are very durable and abrasion-resistant and are designeed to absorb but not retain moisture and thus are good for moisture transport to move moisture away from the body. Synthetic polyamide is also specifically very chemical resistant making it a good choice for swimwear fabrics.


Queen Anne Neck Line


Trying to define the Queen Anne neckline will incur the wrath of costumers everywhere, because different people have a very very clear but different interpretation of what it might mean.


English costumers will tell you that it's a high back collar neckline with two stage (two distinct angles) deep plunging neckline. American costumers will generally tell you it's a sweet heart neckline with a separate section that covers the shoulders giving you the impression of a two stage neckline (though not always plunging).


I'm a traditionalist ... to me the Queen Anne requires at least the high back neck, even if it isn't rolled up into a collar, which becomes at least the first angled stage of the front neckline ... whether the second stage angle is part of the first isn't so important as the definition is regarding the line and not the construction. No matter how much people debate what it is or isn't from a costuming point of view, it's still fairly recognizable as a generic concept in fashion terms.

Traditional Monokini


Weft (weft)

Warp and weft refer to the directionality of the threads that make up a loomed or woven fabric. ... ​Weft threads are the threads that run from selvage to selvage ... side-to-side, horizontally.

There are several types of weaving, with plain, twill, and satin weaving being the three basic types, dependent on the manner in which they are interlaced by raising or lowering individual warp threads at specific intervals in relation to the weft pass. All the others are variants of these basic weaves or their mixture.