Fashion Vocabulary

For us fashion people, there’s a whole laundry list of jargon and phraseology that’s totally unique to the industry. If you are part of the community, there are words that act as Shibboleths to fashion people, and though they have meaning to the larger English-speaking world too, they definitely do not mean the same thing when Ghesquière (French surname) rolls off your tongue as easily as 'great'.

If you love clothes, then you need to know about these words:

Prêt-a-porter is a French word for ready-to-wear clothes which can seem like a fancy word, but in fashion it contrasts with the truly fancy haute couture, which refers to the most fashionable of fashion i.e. high fashion, handmade, staggeringly expensive and one-of-a-kind pieces.

Prêt-a-porter are the clothes that can be bought in-store and worn by everyone on the street.


Sartorial means “relating to a tailor or tailored clothes”. If you are rocking an outfit that consists of well cut, well-fitted pieces that are perfectly tailored to your body, then you are styled to match the definition of sartorial.


Applique is a decorative design made of one piece of fabric sewn on top of another. It is a designer’s go-to when creating an artisan looking garment and is very prolific in couture.


Gillet is a sleeveless jacket that looks like a waistcoat that may be waist- to knee- length and is generally straight-sided rather than fitted.


Epaulettes are decorative shoulder adornments and are usually found on military or trench coats.


Mannish is not pure androgyny, but more about adopting a slightly masculine silhouette but still keeping a sense of feminine charm. It could be wearing a boyfriend-style blazer, over-sized coat or brogue shoes.


Kimono a loose robe originating in Japan and often seen as full-length garments with an over-all T-shape that is worn loose rather than wearing it with the traditional sash.


We would love to share more with you, so let us know if you have enjoyed the vocab post!



C & G

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