25 Style Terms To know

Let۪s face it, fashion and style can be confusing. So many terms, weird styles, and what۪s in or popular can quickly become what۪s out, and then the cycle repeats. Whether you're on the road to becoming a smart and knowledgeable shopper, studying the schools of designers, digging in deep on trends, or just a casual fan of what۪s cool, it۪s helpful (and satisfying) to understand the language and lingo. New terms drop every week and the digital style universe is expanding rapidly so theirs always going to be something new, but this primer on some of the style world۪'s most critical vocab is going to prep you properly.


1. Sartorial - A fancy way of explaining someone۪s clothing, style, or manner of dress.

2. Silhouette - The shape or outline of something, typically used when referring to a specific article of clothing.

3. Heritage - A piece of clothing, a trend, or style that contains rich history, generally an item that you will see within a collection season after season or a particular style of dress that has remained throughout history.

4. Trend - A general direction of style or a particular style that is popular for a short or long period of time.

5. Herringbone - A type of fabric weaving that results in in a v-shaped pattern resembling the skeleton of a herring fish.

6. Made To Measure - Any type of clothing, though generally suits and shirts, that are custom made to order from measurements taken from the customer۪s body. Made to Measure is a very time and labor intensive process that requires the skills of a master.

7. Drape - The way a particular garment, often a suit or jacket, hangs or fits on the body.

8. Canvassing - Referring to a type of suit construction where a layer of cotton or horsehair canvas is sewn into the interior of a suit jacket. Canvassing is a time and labor-intensive process but it is a mark of high-quality construction and yields a jacket that will conform to the wearer۪s shape and lend structure over time. Canvassing can come in half or full varieties.

9. Unlined / Unstructured - A type of jacket construction where the interior lining and construction is extremely limited or removed entirely. Often used in more causal varieties of suits and blazers, it۪s low weight and light feeling are useful for warm weather suits and jackets.

10. Twill - A type of fabric weave that yields a tight, durable structure and a surface of small diagonal ridges. Most often used in cotton weaves for shirts and pants.

11. Hem - The end of a piece of fabric or cloth that is folded under and sewn back in. Typically refers to the end of a pant where the pant meets the shoe.

12. Placket - The double layer of fabric that holds the buttons and buttonholes in a shirt. Although usually used for practical purposes, sometimes plackets are used as a design aesthetic. They can be button-through, layered (traditional) or plain-front (modern).

13. Seam - The place where two pieces of fabric or parts of a garment are sewn together. Seams can be hidden or visible and can be purely functional depending on the type of garment or used to add visual and design elements.

14. Peak Lapel - The most formal of all the lapels, a peaked lapel is usually reserved for mostly double-breasted jackets, formal coats and dinner jackets. The top line slants up from the horizontal, reaching a point and leaving only a thin space between the collar and lapel. The lapel point sits high on the chest closer to the shoulder and neck.

15. Cuff - A fold of material used as trimming at the bottom of the sleeve.

16. Houndstooth - A traditional type of fabric pattern identified by its broken checks or four-pointed shapes which are often in black and white. Puppytooth is a smaller scale version of houndstooth.

17. Shawl Lapel - The shawl lapel has a continuously curved design. It is now most commonly used on the tuxedo jacket.

18. Single Breasted - A single-breasted suit jacket has one column of buttons and a narrow overlap of fabric.

19. Hacked Pocket - Hacked or slanting pockets on a jacket can help emphasis its slim silhouette.

20. Notch Lapel - The most common and standard lapel, a notched lapel is sewn to the collar at an angle, creating a step۪ effect. The notch۪ effect is created by the squared off design to the top collar. This lapel point sits midway on the chest.

21. Double Breasted - Refers to a coat or jacket with wide, overlapping front flaps and two parallel columns of buttons or snaps.

22. Vent - A slit at the bottom rear of a jacket which is used to improve its hang and offer freedom of movement. Comes in double or single varieties.

23. Weave - The interlacing of yarns to produce a fabric. There are many different types of weaves and they are used for both construction as well as aesthetic purposes.

24. Yoke- A double-layered piece of fabric used to strengthen the shoulder and upper back area of a garment. Typically used in shirt construction.

25. Lining - The interior fabric of a jacket or pant that faces the wearer. Typically linings are made of blended materials that are smooth and breathable.

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