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Dress Term Glossary
Definition of Dress Fashion Terms.

3/4 Sleeve: Sleeve with a length between the wrist and the elbow
A-line: A-Line dress that mimics shape of an "A" from the waist
Above the Knee Length: Hemline reaches just to just above the knee allowing the knees to be shown.
Ankle Length: Hemline reaches just to the ankles showing the foot and shoe
Applique: Decorative fabric shape applied to another fabric as an embellishment
Asymmetrical: Uneven or unbalanced element in a dress such as an off-balance hem or single sleeve
Babydoll Silhouette: Form fitting at top with increase in volume directly below bust
Backless Dress designed to expose the back of the wearer.
Ball Gown: Fitted bodice with a very full skirt; similar to the "fairytale" image
Ballerina Silhouette: Form fitting to waist with full skirt; often full length and made of tulle
Bandage: A fitted dress made out of stretchy material shaped to appear wrapped around the body in layers
Bandeau Neck: Often sleeveless top that is tight fitting directly along bust line; may feature a knot or twist in front
Banding: Bands of fabric or ribbons around the dress
Basque Waistline: Waistline that dips in the middle; often several inches below the natural waist
Bateau Neck: Neckline wide enough to show off clavicles that is often straight across from one shoulder to the other
Beaded: Small beads sewn onto the dress
Bell Sleeves: Long sleeves that mimic shape of a bell; they are wider at the wrist than the shoulder
Belted: Dress features a belt
Bishop Sleeve: Long sleeve that is wider at the bottom than the shoulder and gathered at the cuff
Boat Neck: Neckline wide enough to show off clavicles that is often straight across from one shoulder to the other
Blouson: Gently gathered waistline at or below the natural waste
Bodycon: Stands for body conforming. It is a short fitted dress made of a stretchy material.
Bow: Dress features fabric tied in a bow; often at the back of dress
Brush Train: Train that sweeps to the floor from the waist (also known as a sweep train)
Brocade: Woven fabric often with silver or gold threads; has a pattern similar to paisley
Bubble Dress: Fitted bodice with full, bubble-shaped skirt that can be either short or long
Capelet: Small cape which covers the shoulders.  They extend from the mid back to the waist
Cap Sleeves: Very short sleeve that covers the shoulder but does not extend down the upper arm
Cathedral Train: The most formal style of train; extends approximately 7 feet behind the gown
Chapel Train: Train that extends 4 feet behind the gown
Charmeuse: Lightweight woven fabric with a satin-like reflective surface on one side and dull, matte finish on the other
Chiffon: Delicately floaty and sheer fabric with a soft finish
Cocktail Length: Hemline reaches to mid-thigh
Color Blocking: Placing strategicially contrasting yet complimentary bold and bright colors together to create a unique look
Column Silhouette: Straight, narrow slim fit without waistline (Also known as Sheath Silhouette)
Corseted: Form-fitting bodice often with lacing up the front or back
Cotton: Opaque, matte fabric that offers a more casual appearance
Court Train: A train a little longer than a sweep train, usually about three feet long
Cowl Neck: Neckline that drapes or folds in the front
Crepe: Gauzy fabric with a crimped or crinkly appearance
Crinkled: Fabric that has a crimped and folded appearance
Crumb-Catcher Neck: Neckline that extends away from the body at the bust line
Crystal: Clear or iridescent reflective elements or gemstones
Cutout: Holes in certain areas of the dress; usually located at the neck, back or sides
Dirndl Waistline: The appearance of lacing or brocade in the front of the dress; similar to German-inspired styles
Dolman Sleeve: Draped sleeve with large arm hole and tight cuff; cape like in appearance
Draped: Fabric that is intended to hang in folds
Dropped Waistline: Straight waistline that usually starts at hip level below the natural waist
Embroidered: Designs stitched into fabric by hand or machine
Empire Waistline: Waistline located directly below the bust with fabric flaring beneath
Faille: Glossy draping fabric with soft ribs and a textured feel
Feather: Dress features feathers
Fishtail Silhouette: Body hugging from the top through the hip with flare at or just below the knee (Also known as Mermaid Silhouette and Trumpet Silhouette)
Fitted: Hugs the body
Floor Length: Hemline reaches from 1/2 to 1 inch from floor
Flowy: Hangs in drapes or folds with fabric that flows
Full Length: Hemline appears to touch the floor
Gathered: Fabric gathered or pulled together
Georgette: Similar to crepe with a matte and slinky surface
Goddess: Similar to a toga; often a one-shouldered draped style
Grecian: Similar to the goddess style; often featured in white
Halter: Top with straps that connect behind the neck, often with an open back
Handkerchief Hem: Hemline that ends in triangular points providing a somewhat jagged appearance.
High Neck: Neckline reaches to neck
High Low Hem: Hemline is shorter in one area of dress than another; often longer in the back or sides `
Illusion: Using color combinations or sheer material to create an optical illusion.  Such as straplessness or a thinner waist
Jacquard: A process of weaving fabric making possible for an unlimited varieties of pattern weaving
Jersey: Stretchy and soft matte fabric that resists wrinkles
Jeweled Neck: Neckline with gems or jewels along the front; jewels are often in a band along the top that functions as a necklace
Jumper: Sleeveless, collarless dress designed to be worn over a shirt, sweater or blouse
Jumpsuit: A long dress with legs replacing the skirt
Keyhole: A cut-out in the fabric that is often at the decolletage or back
Knee Length: Hemline that hits just at or above the kneecap
Knit: Often a chunky-style fabric; can also refer to the way a fabric is created
Lace: Fabric with open hole design
Lace-Up Back: Ties that weave up the back of the dress
Linen: Lightweight woven natural fabric, occasionally somewhat sheer; resists heat
Long Sleeves: Sleeves that extend to or below the wrists
Mandarin Collar: Asian-inspired collar that reaches slightly above neck and often features an adornment or button for visual appeal
Maxi Dress: Longer dress with an ankle or floor length hemline
Mermaid Silhouette: Body hugging from the top through the hip with flare at or just below the knee (Also known as Fishtail Silhouette and Trumpet Silhouette)
Mesh: Netting or a sheer see through material usually used as a cutout.
Metallic: Iridescent or shimmery in appearance
Midi Dress: Dress with a hemline that hits between the knee and ankle
Mini Dress: Dress with hemline that hits at mid-thigh or above
Modest: Offering more conservative coverage.  Usually covering chest, back and legs to at least the knee areas.
Notched Collar: A narrow V-shaped groove inside another type of neckline such as scooped or squared.
Natural Waistline: Hits at the natural waist
Off Shoulder: Straps or sleeves that begin lower on the arm below the shoulder line
One Shoulder: Strap or sleeve covers only one shoulder and/or arm
Open Back: Dress with an absence of fabric covering the back
Organdy: Sheer, lightweight fabric that is often stiff and crisp in appearance
Organza: Sheer, transparent fabric with or without metallic sheen
Overlay: Covering the surface of the material with lace, chiffon or another fabric
Pearls: Iridescent round beads in white or cream
Pencil Skirt: Similar to an A-Line skirt except it drops straight down or is angled slightly inward
Peplum: A short, flared strip of fabric attacked to the waist of the wearer's dress.
Piping: Embellished trim lining the seams of the dress; often in a contrasting color
Placket: An opening in dress which makes it easier to clothes or remove the dress.
Pleated: Sharp vertical folds in fabric designed to hold their shape
Pleather: (plastic leather) also known as faux leather is a plastic fabric with a leathery appearance. `
Plunging Neck: Neckline that reveals cleavage, often deep enough to show breastbone
Polyester: Synthetic fabric; often used to look like chiffon but much less fragile and expensive
Portrait Neck: Neckline that wraps around the body leaving the shoulders bare
Princess Seams: Two parallel seams that run vertically down front of dress; works to create height and length.  Also known as no waistline.
Puff Sleeves: Long or short sleeves with volume or flare
Queen Anne Neck: Neckline that is raised and free-standing in the back and open in the front to reveal the neck and clavicles
Racerback: A T-shaped back which exposes most of the shoulder blades
Raglan Sleeve: A sleeve extending in one piece fully to the collar.  It leaves a diagonal seam from underarm to collarbone giving the dress or top an undefined look.
Rayon: Synthetic fabric often used for its draping qualities and provides a good alternative to silk
Rhinestone: Sparkling clear stones designed to look like diamonds
Ribbon: A ribbon often made of satin or lace
Romper: A skirt dress with legs replacing the skirt
Ruched: Tight decorative gathers in the fabric
Ruffles: Billowing fabric that is gathered to create ruffles
Sabrina Neck: Similar to a bateau neckline but features a deeper scoop with more curvature
Sash: A separate strip of fabric added as a detail to the gown
Sateen: Cotton fabric with a glossy surface that is woven to appear like silk
Satin: Smooth fabric with excellent draping qualities; glossy on one side and matte on the other
Scalloped: Semi-circular fablic sewn into the edges of a dress usually around the neckline
Scoop Neck: Neckline that is shaped like the letter "U"
Scuba Knit: A stretchy fabric similar to ponte knit but with more drape.  It is made mostly of polyester which a small amount of lycra (under 5%)
Semi Cathedral Train: Train that extends 5 to 6 feet behind the gown
Sequined: Tiny reflective flat disks that are sewn or glued to fabric
Sheer: Fabric that is able to be seen through; often used for top layers of gowns
Sheath Silhouette: Straight, narrow slim fit without waistline (Also known as Column Silhouette)
Shift Dress: A short sleeveless princess seams dress usually with a boat neckline which hangs loosely from the shoulders
Shirred: Fabric is gathered to make a horizontal pattern
Short Sleeves: Sleeves that stop somewhere above the elbow
Silk: Slinky, glossy fabric of natural fibers; the most expensive of gown fabrics
Silk Shantung: Silk woven textured "nubby" fabric that is heavy enough to hold shape and structure
Skater Dress: A short dress with a fitted bodice and an A-Line skirt. It usually has a scooped neckline but not always. The dress is designed to be similar to the costumes that skates wear.
Sleeveless: Top with no sleeve
Slit: A vertical cut in fabric of the skirt to reveal the leg
Spaghetti Strap: Thin straps similar to thickness of spaghetti that may attach to the front and back of the dress
Square Neck: Neckline that is shaped as a square
Strapless: Neckline that has no sleeves or straps
Stretchy: Fabric that stretches with movement for comfort
Sundress: Sleeveless, collarless dress
Surplice: One side of the fabric folds over the other; similar to a robe closure
Sweep Train: Train that sweeps to the floor from the waist (also known as a brush train)
Sweetheart Neckline: Neckline shaped like the top of a heart with the "V" situated Between the breasts
Taffeta: Crisp, medium-weight fabric that is used to add fullness, volume and height
Tank: Sleeveless garment with thicker straps that often showcases a scoop or square neck
Tea Length: Hemline that hits just below the calf or 4 inches above the ankle `
Thigh Length: Hemline that hits at mid-thigh.  It's longer than a minidress.
Tiered: Sewn with multiple layers
Trapeze: A trapeze dress is a triangular dress starting at the shoulders and flairs underneath. Then it flairs 'a lot' it can also be called a tent dress.
Triacetate: Used to create many fabrics due to its resiliency and stretchiness
Trumpet Silhouette: Body hugging from the top through the hip with flare at or just below the knee (Also known as Mermaid Silhouette and Fishtail Silhouette)
Tulle: Lightweight, fine netting often stiffened to create fullness in skirts; fabric that is most used for ballet tutus
Turtleneck: A high neck which reaches almost to the chin.
Tweed: A rough, unfinished, closely woven woolen fabric, with an open, soft, flexible texture.
Vintage: A style from previous eras; may be authentically old or styled to look as such
V-Neck: Neckline shaped like the letter "V".
Velvet: Lush, tufted fabric with raised, felted pile; reverse side is plain
Wrap: Fabric used to cover the shoulders; can also be a style of dress that wraps in the front and ties closed



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