17 Fashion Terms to Know

  • Paillettes at Dries Van Noten Fall/Winter '15

    These are paillettes. That's pronounced pie-yet. (Ignore me if you're french.)

    Technically it's like a sequin. On Man Repeller, we tend to use it to mean big sequins, hence the Dries.
  • Paillettes at Sonia Rykiel Fall/Winter '16

    If it looks like a fish scale, we'll call it a paillette.

  • Ruching at Céline Fall/Winter '16

    ruche, pronounced roosh, is the gathering of a strip of fabric. (See how it makes the fabric ripple, like it tasted something sour?) We tend to use it in the context of "ruching," pronounced roo-shing: "The rushing on the dress was just divine."
  • Ruching at Chloé Fall/Winter '16

    We use the word "ruching" a lot, but why not check it out here.
  • Piping at Prada Spring/Summer '16

    Piping is a kind of fabric trim. It often covers seams. This suede jacket, for example, has white piping. Think of it like decorative icing.
  • Piping at Chanel Fall/Winter '16

    We use the word a lot.
  • Box Pleats at Gucci Fall/Winter '16

    Box pleats: Per the technical sewing definition, "it's formed when two equal folds of fabric are folded away from each other in opposite directions on the front of a length of fabric." (Thank you, Sew4Home.com) But if we're just talking Man Repeller to Man Repeller, it's school girl skirt pleating.
  • Box Pleats at Gucci Fall/Winter '16

    We used "box pleats" in our SS16 trend recap.
  • Accordion Pleat Skirt at Christopher Kane Fall/Winter '15

    Accordion pleats. Do you get it because it looks like an accordion.
  • Accordion Pleats at Gucci Spring/Summer '16

    We mentioned accordion pleats in our Fall/Winter trend round up.
  • Bodice at Loewe Fall/Winter '16

    Ok technically a bodice is the part of a woman's dress or shirt above the waist that doesn't include the sleeves, like a vest. A bodice is also kind of a vest. BUT WHEN WE SAY IT we tend to mean something with more of a corset effect.
  • Bodice at Balmain Fall/Winter '16

    Leandra brought up the bodice most recently in Paris.
  • Yoke at Isabel Marant Fall/Winter '12

    A yoke, in its most basic explanation, is a panel of fabric that goes across the shoulders. In sewing, it helps add structure to the fabric sewn below it. Though it's not excluded to this thought process (nor is it excluded to tops alone) I most typically think of yoking when it comes to cowboy shirts.
  • Yoke at Isabel Marant Spring/Summer '16

    Izzy loves a good yoke. Leandra loves a good yolk. And I love a good jolke.
  • Appliqués at Gucci Fall/Winter '16

    An appliqué is technically just something applied to another something for the purpose of decoration. If I applied myself to your back in the form of a pack, for example, a fashion historian would possibly call me a human appliqué. In this case here, we have a sequin panther appliqué.
  • Lace Appliqué at Valentino Fall/Winter '13

    This here is lace appliqué, but we most commonly use the word in reference to floral appliqués, possibly because designers love applying plastic floral bits on shit.
  • Pussy Bow at Sonia Rykiel Fall/Winter '16

    There is no better word to use around those in the non-fashion-sphere than PUSSY BOW.

    It's a big ass neck bow, and they're pretty easy to make.
  • Pussy Bow at Gucci Fall/Winter '16

    To use in a sentence in the same way I already have involving a member of One Direction: "[Harry Styles] is a man who not only knows his fashion but knows that a blouse becomes a top the moment the pussy bow is allowed to party just as much as his undone buttons."
  • Plumage at Christpher Kane Fall/Winter '16

    Pronounced ploo-midge, plumage is the fashion term for a ton of feathers.
  • Plumage at Rodarte Spring/Summer '15

  • Crochet at Rosetta Getty Fall/Winter '16

    Crochet fabric doesn't mean a knit fabric. Oh no, my friends. In knitting you keep certain stitches open as you go. With crochet, you tie up all loose ends before moving on to the next loop. It's like type-A-plus knitting. (But it's not knitting.) And it's done with a crochet needle.
  • Macramé at Proenza Schouler Fall/Winter '11

    Meanwhile, Macramé is like knitting or weaving but instead of knitting or weaving you tie knot. Sailors would be all about that macramé life if they were also in the business of making garments.

    Macramé, pronounced mac-ruh-may, sort of like a Southern belle's name, has been referenced on Man Repeller here.
  • Brocade at Gucci Fall/Winter '16

    The I-googled-it definition of brocade is "a rich fabric, usually silk, woven with a raised pattern, typically with gold or silver thread." The Man Repeller definition is that it's super Dries-y. (See the next slide...)
  • Brocade at Dries Van Noten Fall/Winter '15

  • Jacquard at Etro Fall/Winter '15

    If you're wondering, "Then what the hell is
    Jacquard," I don't blame you, because the two seem interchangeable. What's actually happening is that jacquard a kind of fabric made on a loom with something called a jacquard, which is device that weaves intricate patterns using cards with holes in them that the various threads go through.

    (Does this make this more confusing or less? You can have a brocade jacquard.)
  • Jacquard at Miu Miu Fall/Winter '16

    If you're wondering how to pronounce jacquard, it's jack-card. Leandra used the word here but WHO REALLY KNOWS if her her pants were made on a special jacquard loom, you know? Jacquard is some Illuminati shit.
  • Bias Cut at Victoria Beckham Spring/Summer '16

    When we say something is bias cutor cut on the bias, what that means is the fabric has been cut to fall diagonally as opposed to straight up-and-down, like a sheath. Bias cut helps to make dresses cling and hug body curves.
  • Bias Cut at Haider Ackerman Fall/Winter '16

    Pandora Sykes wanted nothing to do with the bias cut in her Christmas wish list.
  • A-Line at Carven Fall/Winter '16

    A-line skirts and dresses are nice and easy to explain: they're shaped like the letter A with the top cut off.
  • A-Line at Courrèges Fall/Winter '16

    A-line rhymes with Hey-Line! and has been referenced a billion times on MR. 
  • Asymmetrical at Rochas Fall/Winter '16

    Last but not least (especially since we're likely to add more as life goes on): asymmetrical means not symmetrical, AKA uneven, like your FACE!
  • Asymmetrical at Jacquemus Fall/Winter '16

    But seriously no one's face is symmetrical, so designers probably figure: why should your clothes be?
Amelia Diamond | March 11, 2016

Consider this your Man Repeller Fashion Glossary in Progress

I absolutely would not blame you if, upon reading a show review that Leandra or myself wrote mentioning something along the lines of, “a beaded yoke,” you thought we were referring to a decorated egg center and along the way, made typo. No one uses “yoke” colloquially. Similarly, among the cholesterol conscious, no one uses yolk, but at Man Repeller we do seem to have a thing for eggs.

Eggs and nuts.

The circle of life.

A yoke, in its most basic explanation, is a panel of fabric that goes across the shoulders. In sewing, it helps add structure to the fabric sewn below it. Though it’s not excluded to this thought process (nor is it excluded to tops alone) I most typically think of yoking when it comes to cowboy shirts. Here’s an example:


That white part broken up with the maroon piping — that’s a yoke.

To settle a debate, I texted my mom-who-knows-all, “What’s your definition of a yoke?” She more or less said the above description then goes, “You know, like an ox yoke.”


Oh. That actually makes some sense.

But fashion, as we’ve already established, can be confusing. We’ve also established that it’s kind of supposed to be. That’s what makes it exciting. But while fluency is in no way required to participate in the conversation, it’s satisfying to understand the language.

So! In the slideshow above you’ll find a list of words that we’ve been known to use which, for the sake of understanding what the hell we’re talking about when describing clothes — if you’re into that sort of thing — might be good to know. They’re not formal definitions, but you’ve seen our Dick, right? Shun-ary. Our Dick-shun-ary. Cool. Consider this the happy medium.

(And in the comments section, let us know other ones you need broken down to paillette town!)

All Runway Photos via Vogue Runway; collages by Emily Zirimis. 


  • So when did you see my face and how did you guess I saw your dick? 🙂

  • stefanie schoen

    As usual- love the definition! But weirdly enough I created this ‘pleats’ infographic awhile ago and it’s super helpful to identify pleats if you’re interested..


    also- love your definitions but if you’re looking for a little more clarity around a jacquard think of it as a weave of an irregular pattern. So it is not a plaid or a herringbone, but can be an ornate floral or something more intricate. It requires special machinery as opposed to a regular loom which can just follow a simple repeat pattern. Anyway not to be fashion snobby just thought I would add some clarity!


    • Amelia Diamond

      a weave of an irregular pattern! that’s a very clear way to describe it, thank you!!

      • Lois Hall

        I am getting a salary of 5700 dollars each week…dg Over a year ago I was in a horrible condition , jobless and no bank credit . Thanks to one of my friends who showed me a way where I was able to gather myself and making average of 56 d/h. So it can change your life as it has changed mine.

        Look here for details

  • Alyssa

    So adore this post! Thanks for sharing. xx


  • babs

    On slide 5: it’s ‘seam’, not ‘seem’. xo

    • Amelia Diamond

      nothing’s ever as it seams 🙁

  • Lovey Fleming

    Cool. Love the blush pink top!


  • Italian Style

    Is not exactly a fashion term, anyway do you know the famous maison “Dolce & Gabbana”? Well these are two Italian surnames, but “Dolce” means sweet and “Gabbana” is a kind of cloak. So “Dolce & Gabbana” in Italian means “Sweet cloak”.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I didn’t know Gabbana meant cloak!

  • She got paillettes…if you know what I mean! (American-Italian accent and “ey” hand motion)

  • Pussy Bow! That’s going to be my new favorite topic of discussion. “That blouse would be so much better with a pussy bow!” “Do you like my pussy bow?”

    • Amelia Diamond

      Nice pussy bow!

  • Read this to test myself on how many I knew. Great refresher. http://www.styleonedge.net

  • Showcast Models

    Thanks for sharing this interesting article. This are very nice outfits!

  • Ebba
  • I feel like this awesome dictionary should scroll like the star wars opening before every episode of Project Runway! It would be sooooo helpful!!! =)

  • Tess

    Can you please please do a version of this with designer names? I try my best with the pronunciation but so frequently butcher it.

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahah yes

    • same! and I studied fashion 🙁 but hey I didn’t study languages

  • Liz

    now I want that cowboy shirt. GREAT.


  • Extra points for the pronunciation guide guys 🙂

  • Ali Peat

    What about boiled wool? Always conjures up images of a sheep fleece swimming in a dirty medieval cauldron!

  • Nives

    I love this post! There’s actually an Instagram account that posts about fashion terms and it’s amazing! https://www.instagram.com/glossaryoffashion/

  • Isla

    You should attend a class in fashion school. Textile Science, for instance. Oh the terms you would learn:)
    Also, yoke can be on a skirt too.

  • Elodie Nowinski

    In French, we would say paillettes for small ones and sequins for major ones… And as for the RUSH, we go for ruché (ruche in french means the bees’ house, the hive / beehive) because it looks like a ruche (except it doesn’t but hey… we’re french after all.) – your French boring professor.

  • Lori Massaro

    Posting this visual and very informative link to my online class at FIT