12 Fashion Terms: The Essential Terms to Talk About Fashion

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Written By NewtonPatterson

To inspire and be inspired. We aim to bring together a community that celebrates individuality, embraces change, and challenges the conventions of fashion.





12 Fashion Terms to Describe Clothes

The following terms may be used in the fashion industry by fashion designers, sewists and dressmakers.

  1. A-line: A skirt or dress that has a narrow top and flares out at the hem. It creates an A-shaped silhouette.
  2. Embellishment: Is any decorative detail that can be added to the fabric, such as sequins or embroidery.
  3. Hemline: The lower edge of a garment is called the hemline. The hemline can reach the thigh or knee, the ankle, or even the floor.
  4. Inseam is the area between the crotch and the hemline of the pant leg. It could also refer to seam area on sleeves, from the armhole up to the sleeve edge.
  5. Neckline: A neckline is the top edge or neckline of a top, dress, or garment. It is usually located around the neck. There are many neckline options, including a bib neckline (where an extra piece is sewn to your front), boatneck neck, halter neck, halter off-the-shoulder neck, plunging neck, V-neck and halter neck.
  6. Sleeve: A sleeve refers to the portion of clothing that covers an arm, such as a blouse, dress, blouse, jacket or sweater. The sleeves are attached to the garment’s armhole. Sleeves can be either tight or loose-fitting and long or short. Some examples of sleeves are cap sleeves, bell sleeves and dolman/batwing sleeves.
  7. Waistline: Dresses or long garments that cover the waist are known as “waistline”. The line that delineates the upper and the lower halves of the garment is called the waistline. You can have your waistline just below your bust in an empire waist or below your natural waist (called a drop waist).
  8. Evening wear: Is a dress code that can be worn to formal events such as a gala, wedding or other special occasions. Evening wear is more expensive than casual daywear and is often customised for the wearer. An evening dress can be a wedding gown or a tuxedo.
  9. Haute couture: High-end clothing made from hand, usually by skilled tailors. Haute couture is made in smaller batches and has limited-edition merchandise. It is more expensive than ready to wear clothes. Haute couture is also sold by special retailers, which are known as high fashion.
  10. Ready-to wear: The fashion industry term “Ready to Wear” is used to describe clothing that was mass-produced in standard sizes and sold in final condition. It does not mean that the garment was designed or sewn specifically for one person. Ready-to-wear clothing is sold in ready-to-wear sizes by retail stores rather than custom-made for each individual. Ready-to-wear clothes are trendy and can be changed from season to season.
  11. Outerwear: Clothing that is worn over an outfit. Its purpose is to protect the wearer from the elements. Outerwear is typically made of heavier fabrics than clothing that is directly applied to the body. You can choose from a trench coat or a puffer jacket, or even a wool coat.
  12. Sportswear: Activewear, also known as sportswear, is clothing that can be worn for casual or serious training. You can find sportswear in drawstring pants, sweatshirts and sweatshirts as well as hoodies and sneakers.