Glossary of Fashion Terms

A lot of people think that fashion is all about clothes. But there are many other aspects to it, such as the terminology. Fashion termnologies can be used in a variety of ways, from helping you understand what your friends may be talking about when they mention “blue jeans” or “peacoat,” to help with your studies if you’re looking at fashion design or management courses. In this article, we’ll take a look at essential fashion terms which will help you with anything and everything related to the industry!

Glossary of fashion terminologies

Glossary of Common Fashion Terms A-Z

What is Fashion?

The term “fashion” is open for everyone’s personal interpretation by what they like to wear and how it makes them feel & look about themselves as well as how it represents their personality and taste in fashion among other things!

Fashion can be anything from designer clothes to normal streetwear but there should always be some aspect of fashion that makes people look twice or say “wow” because it simply made you look better than others!

The term fashion has always been used for things that are popular. Because it “runs” or is “vogue”, as opposed to say, something that would be called a tradition. Fashion changes over time and evolves with culture (e.g.: When short skirts were popular in the late 60s, it was fashion. In the 80s when high rose-tinted jeans were popular, that too was fashion).

This particularly has to do with clothing and what people wear on their bodies. It has to do with how and why a piece of clothing is made (i.e.: What is the inspiration behind it?) and how well is it made. (i.e.: How does the piece of clothing fit with you? How does it look on you?).

Fashion has to do with all the things we have around us that makes it possible for us to see what others are doing in other places, or other times.

Fashion has to do with things around us which convey meaning. For example, wearing a T-shirt can mean many different things: maybe the person who wears it is a huge fan of Led Zeppelin and is showing how much he likes the band. Maybe they are trying to make a statement about themselves by wearing it (e.g.: that they are grunge/punk) etc.. Fashion has also evolved with technology, so now we have things like selfies (self-photos taken with camera phones). This kind of thing wouldn’t have been possible without cameras on our phone!

Why You Should Know Common Fashion Terminologies

  • Knowing these fashion terminologies is also a great way of enhancing your conversation with other people who may be into fashion or style!
  • Fashion terminology can help you understand the meaning behind some words that are said in fashion. For example, “wardrobe” usually means all of an individual’s clothes (or at least those they own). But when someone says “wardrobe malfunction,” it typically refers to something going wrong on stage during their performance and having pieces of clothing fall off.
  • It’s important to know what the terms are actually referencing in order to understand fashion. You can look up any word and find out where it came from, which will help you learn about clothing design and fashion industry trends over time. Knowledge like this can help you make informed decisions about your own wardrobe.

Common Fashion Terms

Are you one of the many people who have been hearing a lot about fashion lately? If so, this article should help clear up some misconceptions. You’ll learn the meaning of common fashion terms such as “boho,” “festival,” and “bohemian.”

  • Bohemian – Wearing “hippie” style or causing controversy.
  • Festival – A term for wearing clothes with lots of sequins, glitter, and bright colors.
  • Similarity – Having a similar fashion sense to someone else’s.
  • Formal – Formal attire is the clothing that you wear for special events such as weddings, funerals, and job interviews etc.
  • Casual – Clothing that you wear on a regular day to day basis
  • Fashionable – A word used to describe something “in” at the moment; also related to how something looks.
  • Activewear – Clothing that is made to be worn while doing active sports or some type of exercise
  • Bespoke – This refers to custom made clothing where the measurements are taken for something that will be made specifically for the customer.
  • Capsule wardrobe – A capsule wardrobe consists of 28 items, which are all new and never worn before. It’s meant to be a complete wardrobe for one person.
  • Corporate – Corporate attire is what you wear when at work in an office setting, usually consisting of business-appropriate suits and dress clothes. The term can also mean any clothing that’s appropriate for an office environment such as skirts and blouses with jackets.
  • Designer – Designer brands such as Prada, Gucci Louis Vuitton etc., tend to be more expensive than their less well-known competitors.
  • Eveningwear – Clothing that’s worn to formal events such as balls, theater performances and operas etc., or for a night out clubbing or bar hopping.
  • Haute couture – Refers to the highest level of fashion design where the clothing is made by hand using exquisite material and techniques. It will also likely be one of a kind.  
  • Juniors – This term refers to women who are petite (a dress size between 0 and 6) with smaller proportions like legs that end above the knee, short necks, shoulders that end before the elbow, and waists no bigger than 24 inches around. 
  • Misters – Refers to woman who wear dresses size 6 to 14 with proportionate body types.
  • Misses – Refers to women who wear dresses size 4 – 10 with proportionate body types.
  • Oversize – Clothing that is loose fitting in order to hide weight or for style/comfort
  • Petites – Refers to women under 5’4″ (163 cm) and shorter than average proportions like legs that end above the knee, short necks, shoulders that end before the elbow, and waists no bigger than 24 inches around.
  • Pockets – Pockets are usually found on jackets but can also be found on both dress pants and skirts; they’re great for holding cellphones, keys, wallets etc., while keeping your hands free.
  • Reversible (Double-faced) – This refers to a garment that’s reversible, which is a good thing because it means you have two garments for the price of one.
  • Sportswear – Clothing made from special fabrics and materials designed for active sportspeople, but can also be worn as casual wear.
  • Vintage – A word used to describe something that’s been around long enough that it’s now considered an antique or collectable due to age or particular circumstances.
  • Women’s – Refers to clothing made exclusively for women with female-specific fits.
  • Androgynous – Androgyny describes someone who doesn’t fit traditional gender roles.
  • Boho – Bohemian fashion typically consists of bright colors, loose shapes natural fibers like cotton and linen, and earthy patterns. This type of clothing comes from a bohemian style or lifestyle similar to hippies, consisting of an artistic personality and a free-spirit. Bohemian is a term often used for people who aren’t conforming to traditional society with their looks, but it can also be used to describe unique/bizarre fashion choices.
  • Festival – Clothing that’s comfortable, loose fitting and colorful which is worn while attending festivals , raves, concerts etc., where the main goal is to have fun in your clothes without caring so much about how you look.
  • Flared – Refers to jeans, pants or skirts that are wider at the bottom than what would normally be considered “normal”
  • Cruise Wear – Clothing that’s made for vacations or cruises which are typically loose fitting with large, over-sized pockets
  • Eclectic – Eclectic describes something made up of a wide variety different elements usually found in no other single source.
  • Edgy – This refers to clothing that’s modern, unconventional and will likely be seen as controversial or risqué. It is most commonly associated with punk rocker fashion such as ripped clothes and lots of black leather.
  • Elegant – Refers to clothing that’s refined and tasteful usually displaying high class/taste level and expensive materials like silk, lace etc., often paired with classic style jewelry for understated bling.
  • Glam – Refers to clothing that is shiny and sparkling worn by celebrities like Rihanna, Lady Gaga etc., whether it’s for attention-getting or simply out of pleasure.
  • Gucci – Italian designer brand.
  • In Vogue – Refers to clothing that is popular and fashionable at the moment.
  • On Trend – Clothing that’s fashionable right now but will likely change due to the fickle nature of fashion.
  • Preppy – Clothing designed with clean lines, bright colors and often made of cotton which is worn by people who attend prep school like students from boarding schools in New England. It can also be used as an adjective e.g., “preppy shirt”.
  • Punk – A subculture known for its love of loud music, dirty clothes and piercings/tattoos; style varies but can incorporate safety pins and chains.
  • Sporty – Refers to clothing that promotes an active lifestyle like tracksuits, sweatpants, polo shirts.
  • Tailored – Refers to clothing that fits well and is in good proportions mostly used with suits and formal wear.
  • Relaxed – Relaxed describes a fashion where seams are intentionally left unfinished and lets the fabric drape naturally allowing for maximum comfort/movement; common fabrics include denim, twill etc., this style of fashion is more often associated with men but is becoming more popular among women as well.
  • Sophisticated – Sophisticated refers to a high class or expensive look achieved through elegance or refinement of materials which usually involves tailored pieces or embellished looks.
  • Appliqué – Refers to fabrics that are cut apart and sewn back together in a new pattern/shape.
  • Appliquéd – An adjective describing when an item is made with appliqué.
  • Asymmetrical – Usually refers to the style of clothing which has different parts of the garment cut and placed on either side of the center line where they would normally meet therefore causing one half to be longer or wider than the other, often giving clothes a lopsided look; it can also refer to anything where there is asymmetry like buildings, furniture etc., though it’s most commonly used in reference to fashion.
  • Bugle beads – Bugle beads describe tiny cylinders used making jewelry or sewing buttons or sometimes used to decorate fabrics.
  • Dolman sleeve – Dolman sleeves are a type of long sleeve that resembles a large rectangle or triangle shape with excess fabric gathered at the elbow and very little seam definition around the armholes so there is no armhole curve. This style originated from a Turkish military jacket called a “dolman”.
  • Embroidery – Refers to any type of art where yarn, thread or ribbon is sewn onto clothing, often seen in casual wear when flowers, hearts etc., are stitched on tops and dresses
  • Empire waist – Empire waists usually refer to lines in women’s clothes that come together below the breasts making sort of an upside down triangular shape; it can also refer to men’s clothes in the late 18th century who sported skirts with waistlines dropping to about navel level.
  • Ensemble – A group of clothing items worn together like a suit, dress shirt and tie or earrings, necklace etc., for men or women; it can also describe the instruments used by an orchestra.
  • Eponymous – Refers to anything which is named after a person like an eponymous label is one that bears the name of its founder usually used when referring to fashion brands e.g., Helmut Lang, Christian Lacroix etc., but can be used more generally as well e.g., “eponymous band”.
  • Fashion press – Fashion press refers to articles written by journalists who report on breaking fashion news like upcoming trends, new designers etc., they are often read by people who work in the fashion industry to stay updated on news while consumers read them for advice.
  • Sampling – Refers to items of clothing that were handmade or sewn with excess fabric that can be cut out and used as templates for future designs; some brands also sell their excess fabric samples.
  • Silhouette – Refers to the outline of an object e.g., silhouette of a person wearing a dress means it can’t be worn without anything underneath because there is no curve at the waistline which would indicate otherwise.
  • Slipover – A slipover is usually made with stretchy material like jersey or spandex most often used in sports but they are sometimes seen in casual wear too.

Fashion FAQ

Why is fashion important?

The short answer is that fashion is important to society because it allows people to express themselves while at the same time helping them identify with certain groups of people they may not have been able to otherwise identify with.

The goal of fashion may be to dress fashionably and be attractive. Fashion also gives you the opportunity to express yourself through your clothing choices. Fashion can be used as a way to identify with a certain group or social club.

Fashion is also important because it influences the way people behave and interact socially. For example, if you wear designer brands, people might assume that you are wealthy and they might act differently around you.

Recognizing the importance of fashion leads into why we need clothes in society today. Clothing gives us the opportunity to cover up our private parts when necessary. It also provides us with a physical barrier against cold weather or other dangers in nature itself.

The clothing we wear reflects who we are as an individual and what and who we identify with. This can affect the way people view us and interact with us.

Is fashion an art?

Fashion can be an expression of art and creativity because designers create new pieces all the time with their own aesthetic in mind.

Designer collections are often named after the designer to show off his or her creative work.

Other times, a fashion designer will take inspiration from other sources such as other artists and exhibits for their creations.

Moreover, fashion is also an international language that will be able to communicate messages on a large scale. It is a form of communication across languages and cultures which would not otherwise be possible without it.

Does fashion reveal your true identity?

Yes, fashion is important because it reveals your true identity. This can show others not only who you are as an individual, but also what groups you may identify with. For example, wearing designer brands might make someone infer that you are wealthy and they will probably act differently around you.

Can you please provide some examples of how fashion may be used as a language?

Costumes are one way that fashion can be used to communicate messages. This method is often seen in events like Halloween or dress-up days at school. Costumes tend to fall under a few categories including historical, cultural, or fantasy costumes. These are all ways for people to express their identity through clothing choices and other forms of expression through costuming.

Other times, clothing preferences may help people find others with the same interests as them when online or in person. For example, if a girl has an interest in horses and they share pictures of their favorite horse on their social media profile then it would make sense for another girl with an interest in horses to connect with them online or offline.

What is a stereotype in fashion?

Many people believe that wearing designer brands relates to wealth and class status, but this is simply untrue. In fact, designers like Marc Jacobs have openly stated that he has designed items for various levels of income in the market so anyone can wear his designs and not just those who can afford it. Stereotypes about fashion also tend to put certain groups into categories that aren’t always accurate either. For example, many people assume that Goths are all anti-social, drug users or depressed when these stereotypes aren’t necessarily true about all goths.

Moreover, sometimes stereotypes can be negative or offensive in nature which is only going to be hurtful to other people. It isn’t a good idea for one group of people to put another group down because what you’re essentially doing is discouraging their self-expression and individuality. This can cause all sorts of problems with bullying and discrimination, so it’s important that fashion designers are aware of the messages they may be sending with their designs. Many times, these clothing items will fall into marketing categories where a designer might try to sell more of an item by emphasizing its features rather than just the design itself which could stigmatize certain groups unfairly.  

Some people believe that having a sense of style isn’t something everyone can do but this isn’t true at all. While it might help to follow fashion trends, anyone can wear what they like and mix-and-match their favorite styles in order to create a look that’s unique to them. People should never feel pressured into wearing certain things just because of the way people around them are dressing or how society expects them to dress either. It’s important to trust your own judgment in combination with your personal sense of style and not let anyone else tell you that you can’t be yourself.  

Tips on how to start a conversation about fashion?

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out what clothing choices are most appropriate for certain events or social gatherings because people may have different opinions about what looks good on them. In this situation, it might be a good idea to get some tips from someone you trust about what looks best because it can help avoid any fashion faux pas from happening at the event you are attending.

This is especially important for people who may be in positions of power or influence such as teachers and coaches who need to put their best foot forward when representing their school or team. The same could be said for fashion designers who try to come up with new clothing items they can sell to the public in order to make money.  

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close