Thursday, July 23, 2009

Style Phrase-ology

It's easy to be intimidated by the fashion industry- there are so many designers, constantly changing trends and styles, a plethora of terms to know- it can be difficult! Over the next few weeks, I'll be publishing posts similar to this one in order to cover some of the most common fashion terms. Isn't crazy that there are too many to cover at once? Today, the focus is on terms related to the shape of a garment.

A-line: A skirt shape that is narrow at the top and flares out to the hem, thus creating a shape that resembles the letter "A."

Bateau neck: Also called a boat neck, this high neckline runs straight across the front and back.

Bell sleeve: A sleeve that gradually widens from the shoulder, creating the shape of a bell.

Bias cut: Fabric that is cut on the bias is cut at an angle to the weave of the fibers. This causes the fabric to drape differently than it would if it were cut straight, generally creating a more figure-hugging garment.

Boot cut: A style generally reserved for jeans, boot cut refers to fitted jeans with a slight flare at the bottom of the leg that allows for a tall boot. Flared and bell-bottom jeans are far more exaggerated in their shape.

Cap sleeve: A small sleeve that falls just barely past the shoulder "capping" the top of the arm.

Circle skirt: A skirt that is cut literally in a circle. If you were to lay it out flat, the skirt would form a circle with a much smaller circle in the middle for the waist. Because of the cut, the skirt is voluminous, but lacks gathering at the waist as is often common with full skirts.

Dolman sleeve: A sleeve that is cut from the bodice of a garment that narrows at the wrist. Also referred to as a "batwing sleeve."

Double breasted: A style of jacket in which the front sides overlap each other with a double row of buttons or closures. Very boxy looking and often difficult to pull off. Pea coats are a popular double-breasted jacket.

Dropped waist: A dress or top with a waistline that falls below the natural waist, used to elongate the torso.

Empire: A waistline that starts just below the bust. Very flattering on nearly any body type, but it especially makes the most of a small bust.

Fishtail gown: A dress that is fitted through the bodice down to the knee, then flares outward dramatically in the shape of a fishtail. Also known as a mermaid, trumpet or fit-and-flare.

Halter neck: A neckline that wraps around the back of the neck, often creating a backless, or low back.

Handkerchief: A hemline that falls at angles, creating points rather than a smooth line.

Pencil skirt: A fitted skirt that tapers to the knee.

Pleats: A sewing technique in which the fabric is folded and then stitched at the top, creating more volume. Box pleats are the type generally used on traditional cheerleader skirts, while knife pleats are all folded in the same direction. Pintucks are extremely narrow pleats that are stitched down the length of the fold.

Princess seams: Vertical seams that run along the front and back of a garment, creating a narrow line and taking the shape of the garment in towards the body.

Ruching: When fabric is gathered together and secured in place. It's often a very flattering detail on gowns and dresses, but ruching details can appear almost anywhere.

Scoop neck: A low, U-shaped or rounded neckline.

Shift: A dress with a simple, straight cut.

Split neck: A scoop or rounded neckline that has a center cut-out that forms a small "V."

Square neck: Exactly what it sounds like, this neckline forms the shape of a square.

Straight: Skirts or pants that fall vertically from the hip- no taper or flare.

Sweetheart neck: This graceful neckline forms the shape of the top of a heart over the bust.

Trumpet sleeve: Similar to a bell sleeve, but the flare begins at the elbow and flares out dramatically like the bell of a trumpet.

Tulip skirt: A skirt with fullness at the waist that tapers in at the knee, like the shape of an inverted tulip flower.

Tunic: A top or dress in a boxy shape that has no darts to create shape.

V-neck: Once again, this one looks exactly as you would suspect- the neckline forms the shape of a "V."

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