Can You Define These Fashion Terms?


By: Tasha Moore

6 Min Quiz

Image: Image Source/DigitalVision/GettyImages

About This Quiz

Does a chill run up your spine whenever you see the latest fashions move up and down the runways of Paris or Milan? This quiz tests your knowledge of everyday fashion terms, like lace, applique, and ombre. If you've ever yearned to get the skinny on fashion's code words, this quiz is a great start. The fashion elements that tingle your spine have special names that are shared among the chicest of fashion's inner circles. And if you want in, you've got to brush up on these word gems.

There are a few French and Spanish (even German) terms to grasp. But fashion is its own language. If you can recognize the visuals, you'll inhale the foreign terms that they describe with no problemo. Rest assured, there aren't a ton of terms to master. 

If you have true love for fashion, you'll answer more questions right than wrong. Think intuitively about what you see before you make a final guess. For example, when you see the term "A-Line," shape should immediately come to mind. Always remember, fashion is a visual language first. Armed with this vogue advice, you'll ace this fashion terms quiz. 

Procrastination is so passe. Strut your fashion know-how now!

Which term describes either an attachable accessory or decorative fabric positioned to hang from the front of the shirt?

Historically, males wore jabots that were neckbands adorned with lace or some other decorative fabric pieces. Jabots also refer to frilly lace or ruffled fabric positioned at the front of a woman's bodice.


Which is the term that implies clothing or one who tailors clothes?

Sartorial is a descriptor used to refer to a tailor's duties. It also implies clothes or someone's style of clothes.


What is the name of the technique that involves cutting shapes out of one fabric and attaching them to another?

Applique patterns are usually cut from a plain fabric. The layering technique creates a signature pattern or texture on the other material.


Macrame is a textile produced using which kind of craft technique?

Macrame uses assorted combinations of hitch knots. Half hitches are created from basic overhand knotting, and form the basis of many macrame patterns.


What term describes a technique that manipulates fabric pieces in a large area of a garment to create a frilly or rippling effect?

Today, ruching involves manipulating gathered fabric to create a ripple effect. Historically, ruching involved stitching pleated bands into a garment.


Which of these terms describes embellished ornaments made from delicate ironwork using silver, gold or copper?

Filigree ornamentation entails the delicate manipulation of silver, gold or copper wires or beads to create decorative openwork that is then applied to the fabric. Filigree is used most often in haute couture.


Which fashion term describes the craft of making hats and attire for the head, especially for women?

Millinery describes women's apparel for the head. The term also refers to hat-making as an enterprise or, specifically, the skill of designing headwear.


What is the fashion term for the hole of a garment where the sleeve is to be attached?

Armscye, or armseye, refers to a garment's armhole. This term also describes the pattern used when creating the armhole.


What is a type of sleeve construction that creates a long, diagonal seam that extends to the neckline from the armpit?

A raglan sleeve seam does not stop at the shoulder, but extends to the neck. Dual-colored, three-quarter length raglan-sleeved T-shirts are often worn as baseball attire.


This French fashion term pertains to a diminishing effect on a fabric's color saturation. Can you identify the term?

Degrade is often applied to silk fabrics in haute couture. The saturation levels range from the densest to the lightest colors of a chosen hue.


Which of these terms describes a tailor's most basic material from which garments are made?

A tailor's or a dressmaker's fabric is equivalent to a painter's blank canvas or a sculpture's mound of clay. Choosing the right fabric for a garment is just as important as the skill it takes to make the garment.


This fashion term describes the long dress seams on a fitted dress that uses long panels without separation at the waist. Can you guess which term it is?

The princess line is a style that doesn't use a waistline seam. Instead, long panels, from shoulder to hem, are used to create a fitted shape.


What is the name of a fitted bodice that extends below the waistline in a V-shape?

Basque is the name of a bodice with a V-shaped extension below the waistline. A basque waistline refers to the style of a waistline of any length, placement or shape that extends from a fitted garment top.


Can you recognize the term that describes a twill textile that is woven into chevron prints?

The chevron shape is a V-shape that is typically found in twill textiles. The herringbone pattern is a slight zigzag variation of the standard chevron pattern.


What is the fashion term used to describe a broad piece of embellished clothe attached to a garment to exaggerate the garment's form?

A flounce is a ruffled strip of fabric attached along the hem at the edge of a garment. In addition to fabric strips, ribbon and lace are also commonly used to accentuate a garment's silhouette.


What is the fashion term that describes a fold or reinforcement of fabric that is neatly ironed or pressed into place?

There is usually a series of pleats grouped together on a garment, which is often a skirt. Knife pleats, box pleats and accordion pleats are a few of the most common types.


What is the layer between the outer fabric and the lining called?

Interlining is placed between the top layer of a garment and its lining to reinforce the garment's shape. Inserting interlining is not as artistic a process as designing a garment, but it is an essential part of manufacturing clothes.


Can you identify the term that describes a type of sleeve that is fitted at the wrist and widens for a fuller effect under the arm?

A batwing sleeve is also called a Dolman sleeve. This type of sleeve is cut wide at the shoulder to facilitate the full effect under the arm.


What is the term for the flared portion of a bodice that extends below the waistline?

The flared or ruffled peplum is sewn into a blouse or jacket and extends below the waistline. The extended section of fabric looks similar to a short skirt.


What do you call a piece of see-through fabric that is laid over a different kind of fabric?

Plain, treated or patterned silks and laces are commonly used as overlays in fashion. Overlays may accentuate, add to or diminish certain aspects (texture, color, etc.) of the fabric underneath.


What is the fashion term for a structured pattern piece that is added to a garment in order to provide support?

Skirts and shoulder pieces typically require yokes that sustain a garment's form. In haute couture, yokes are fitted to a person's shape.


Can you identify the name of the effect that blends light shades of color into darker shades?

An ombre effect blends tones from light to dark, revealing the in-between tones within the chosen color spectrum. This technique is commonly used in haute couture fashion.


This type of head covering differs from a hat since it is more tightly fitted on the head. Can you identify the correct term?

Caps are often worn as part of sports, military or work uniforms. Baseball caps are the most popular type of sports caps that are often incorporated in casual styles worn by the general public.


This fashion term describes plaiting threads, yarn or malleable fabrics on a garment. Can you guess the term?

Braided pieces serve as embellishments. Aspects of a garment, like loose, hanging fabric or thread, can braided directly on a garment, or braided pieces can be attached to a garment.


What is the term for a double-stitch found at the edge of a piece of fabric?

The hem is stitched at the end of a fabric to prevent fraying and to reinforce the fabric's shape. Rolled hem, faced hem, and plain hem are common hem techniques.


This technique is used to strengthen certain aspects of a garment, or to add embellishments. Can you identify the fashion term for this technique?

Banding entails binding one fabric to another. There are several reasons why banding is done. Banding can disguise imperfections, enhance decorative qualities with added embellishments, or it can structurally reinforce particular areas of a garment.


Which fashion term describes a slit that is placed in a garment to alleviate its stiffness?

Vents are usually placed in the back seam of jackets. This allows for a more natural flow or movement of fabric with the body, especially if the garment is fitted with tight seams.


In order to fit the curves of the body, these types of V-shaped tucks are incorporated into the fabric for molding purposes. What is the right fashion term for this?

Darts add shape to the curvier parts of the body, like the neck or the waistline. These devices round straight fabric to the body.


What is the fashion term for the diamond-shaped piece of fabric panel sewn into a sleeve's underarm or a pant's crotch to help prevent tearing in these areas?

Gussets bolster and add extra width to underarm and crotch areas that are subject to stress from movement. A gusset is often diamond-shaped, but it can be triangular depending on the location of the garment.


What is the fashion term used to describe a serious error in fashion judgment?

Unfortunately, faux pas emerge all too often in the merciless world of fashion. Trendsetters and fashion gurus are usually the style authorities that call out these mistakes immediately upon sight.


You can find this type of web-like fabric in just about every kind of woman's apparel, from lingerie to overcoats. What fashion term best describes this fabric?

Lace is the go-to fabric for elegance. Lace is made from synthetic or natural materials. Lace threading is usually cotton or linen. Some artists have used metallic threads in their lacework designs.


What is the name of a fabric piece that creates a gradual fullness effect to a skirt?

Gores are triangular-shaped fabric pieces that are inserted into skirts or other garments to add a subtle fullness effect. Skirts usually require at least two gores.


What is the fashion term that describes ornamental stitching on a fabric?

Embroidery can be either machine-stitched or sewn by hand, which is the more standard method. Contrasted thread colors, sequins, feathers or other elements can be incorporated into an embroidery embellishment.


What is the name that describes a triangular-shaped dress?

The A-line shape generally describes skirt and dress forms. Like the capital letter "A," the form starts narrow at the top and then widens toward the bottom of the garment.


What is the fashion term for the sewing technique that conforms the length of one fabric piece to that of a shorter fabric piece?

Gathering shortens a longer piece of fabric so that it matches the length of a shorter piece. The conformed fabric is then attached to the shorter fabric piece, reducing volume at a specific area of the garment.


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