fabric Fashion design glossary pencil skirt
pencil skirt


Fashion Speak: A Brief Glossary

While most fashion mavens have a good understanding of the language of style, many of us sometimes find fashion terms and descriptions difficult to understand. In this article, we'll present a short list of important words and phrases every fashionista needs to know. A fashionista is someone who's dedicated to high fashion clothing without being a slave to trends. A fashionista knows how to put together a modern fashion look while being true to the classics. So, read on to learn what every fashionista already knows.

A-line: This is a garment, usually a skirt or dress, that's made in the shape of a capital A. An A-line garment fits normally at the waist and then gradually flares away from the body, giving a clean, uncluttered line that flatters any figure or body type. Every wardrobe should have a few A-line pieces in neutral colors that function as foundations for building a stylish but classic fashion look.

Fabric-dyed: This refers to material whose color is applied by immersing it into a solution that colors it. Garment-dyed means that the fashion item is first constructed and then colored. Yarn dyed means that the yarn is colored then woven into cloth.

Khaki: This term has several meanings. Derived from the Hindu language, khaki can mean a color similar to tan or very light brown or refer to a type of casual trouser. Khaki also refers to a twill fabric that's made from cotton and then mercerized to give it softness, luster and strength.

Rayon: This is a man-made fabric and is one of the oldest, having been created in 1924, although some precursors existed as early as the 1890s. Although man-made, rayon is not artificial, because it's made of natural cellulose fibers. Rayon is easy to dye, smooth and soft, and because it has no insulation properties, it's a popular choice for warm-weather fashion clothing.

Pencil skirt: This is a fashion skirt that's cut in a straight line. Unlike the A-line's gentle flare, a pencil skirt fits closer to the body. Because it's close fitting, a pencil skirt usually has a back seam slit or kick pleat so the wearer can move comfortably. Although at the height of its popularity in the 1950s, this style continues to be prevalent today, especially in women's suits.

Pashmina: Another word for cashmere but it can also describe luxurious yarn made with pashmina wool and silk. The term pashmina can also refer to a fashion shawl or stole woven with this fiber blend.

Batik: This is a process for partially dyeing fashion fabrics (usually cotton) that originated in Indonesia. To create batik fabrics artisans apply melted wax to areas of the fabric in a decorative pattern. When the wax hardens and penetrates the fabric, the fabric is vat-dyed. The dye does not penetrate the waxed areas. When the wax is removed with a solvent, a complex and beautiful pattern is revealed.

Peasant blouse or skirt: These garments are usually made from undyed cotton. The blouse features puffed sleeves that narrow at the wrist via gathering. The skirt is full and long. Both garments are decorated with embroidery, often done by hand. Inspired by clothing worn by Polish and Romanian women, the peasant blouse and skirt are easy to wear and elicit an elegant but casual style.

Flax: This is the fiber used to weave linen and is thought to be one of the most ancient fibers in the world, dating back to 10,000 BC. The Egyptians cultivated flax and used it extensively. In modern times, linen remains a high-end fashion fabric that is both luxurious and durable.

Haute couture: What every fashionista aspires to, haute couture refers to custom-made clothing that's often edgy, modern and forward-looking. The phrase itself means "high sewing" or "elegant dressmaking." This term describes made-to-measure clothing that's created with all the quality and detailed finishing touches you'd expect from a top-level design house.

It can be a challenge to maintain a fashion-conscious wardrobe in a world where trends are often short-lived. Who wants to be stuck with a closet full of clothes that are dated and out of style? The more you know about fashion and its specialized language, the better prepared you'll be to make informed fashion choices that will pay homage to the trends while maintaining a classic style.

Fashion design glossary pencil skirt fabric