Glossary of Women's Fashion Terms

list of fashion terms to know

Last Update September 27th, 2017

As my husband started building Cleo Madison with me, he had a lot of learning to do. He was always asking me, "what does this word mean?". It's because of this that I thought to myself that others might not know what these things mean either and that it would be helpful to put them all in one place - hence this dictionary if you will.

There are all sorts of interesting words being thrown around casually in the clothing industry. Have a word you'd like us to add to this list? Comment below and we'll add it!

Bomber Jacket

This type of jacket also goes by the names of flight jacket and bombardier jacket. It was originally made for pilots but has made it's way into the fashion industry. They come in all kinds of varieties, but usually have a thick lining made of sheepskin.

Bomber jacket example

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Example of boho-chic

Boho, boho-chic and Bohemian chic are all the same thing. This style of clothing is generally loose, long and flowing.  

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Cap Sleeve

Items like shirts and dresses can be cap sleeve. This is when the sleeve is shorter than short sleeve and just barely covers your shoulders. 

Example of a cap sleeve shirt

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Denim and chambray are similar in the material that's used to make them, but they differ in the way they are produced and that's what gives them their unique color. For example, denim is weaved diagonally, whereas chambray is weaved in a crisscross fashion. Chambray fabric is lighter in color when compared to denim, soft, and durable.

Cher is wearing a shirt made from chambray material

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Whenever you see the inverted V zigzag on clothing, you're looking at chevron print. There's a debate online as to whether or not this is timeless or a trend. We personally think it's a trend that's come and gone. 

A picture showing what chevron pattern looks like

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Originally made from silk, then nylon and nowadays generally made from polyester. You'll find that it's stretchy, rough, sheer, and lightweight.

An example of what chiffon looks like

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These are basically pants where the legs hang like a skirt. I actually don't own a pair, but I think I might need to get one. Don't they look so comfortable?

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Empire waist dress

A style of dress that is fitted to just below your chest and then has a loose fitting skirt. This emphasizes the breast area and helps to hide one's stomach. Individuals with a pear shaped body look great in these!

Example of what an empire waist dress looks like

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The way the fabric is woven resembles the bones in a herring fish. 

Picture of what herringbone looks like

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Any item that's considered to be hi-low, is generally shorter in the front and longer in the back. A great example of this is our Luna Criss Cross Top.

Jersey dress

Dresses made from jersey fabric are way comfortable, lightweight, and come in a variety of styles, These types of dresses are not recommended for individuals with curves, as they hug your body, but maybe you're okay with showing them.

Example of what a jersey dress looks like

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This is for dresses, skirts and sometimes coats that are floor length and go to the ankle. 


This is a two piece swimsuit that's basically a bikini with high waist bottoms. It shows less stomach that a normal bikini would. Click here to see examples of what a midkini looks like.


One piece with cutouts in the stomach area. See our Seychelles swimsuit for an example of this! 


This is similar to an apron, but it differs in that it's basically a dress or a skirt with no sleeves that is worn over the top of a shirt or a blouse.

An example of what a pinafore looks like

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This is a synthetic fiber that's highly durable and soft. A lot of our dresses are made with this material. 


Scallops are usually half circled and add a decorative edge to many clothing items. Look below as our Kensington Lace Dress has scallops on it. 

Example of scallops in clothing


A sequin is a small, shiny disk that's sewn onto clothing as a decoration. They are often found on bags, shoes, shirts, skirts, and dresses.

Gold sequins

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This is a tight, but stretchy material commonly used in the making of leggings, skirts, shorts, and etc. Volleyball players and other athletes wear shorts often made with spandex.


A tankini is a two piece swimsuit that covers your whole stomach. I'm wearing our polka dot tankini top in the following picture.

Example of a tankini

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