Test Your Fashion Vocabulary!


By: Dustyn Deerman

6 Min Quiz

Image: Eva-Katalin / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

There's a vocabulary you tend to adopt if you belong to a particular group — groups ranging from as small as your family to as large as the United States of America. For those who like to refer to themselves as fashion-forward, there should be no surprise that the community has a whole laundry list of jargon and terminology that's totally unique to the industry. For starters, let's make it clear that runway does not mean a tarmac, a look book is not what's sitting on your nightstand and when it comes to Anna? Well, we're definitely not talking about your cousin.

If you're part of the community, certain words are like mottos. The average Joe might be aware of a phrase or two (or even a brand), but if you're someone who lives for fashion, "Galliano" rolls off your tongue as easily as "great."

If you long to be a part of the community that brings you the hottest trends, if your goal in life is to be a trendsetter and if you think you have what it takes to be a leader rather than a follower, then you better hope you can pass this quiz.

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

Which of these terms refers to expensive, often exclusive items designed by leading fashion houses?

Often regarded as high-end fashion, haute couture is exclusive custom-fitted clothing produced by the world's leading fashion houses. These are the items often highlighted during fashion week each year by brands such as Brock Collection, Michael Kors Collection and Oscar de la Renta.


Wearing gym clothes as everyday fashion is referred to as what?

With a growing concern for health and fitness in today's society, athleisure wear is a trend that, while designed for workouts, is often found in other settings such as the workplace, school and casual social gatherings. Who hasn't rocked leggings or yoga pants while running errands?


How would you refer to a style that is no longer in fashion or is out of date?

Most people would agree that there are some trends that should never return to see the light of day. In the fashion industry, a style that's behind the times and past its prime would be referred to as being passé.


What is another name for the fashion runway?

Also known as a runway, the catwalk is a narrow flat platform used by models to present high-fashion items. During fashion week, you'll see big names such as Shalon Harlow, Shanelle Nyasiase and Gisele Bundchen strutting their stuff.


What kind of neckline is this?

A regal cut that features a collar in the back and a dipped neckline, this style is most often seen nowadays in wedding dresses. It was originally seen back in the 1700s, and the style was popularized by Queen Anne of Britain, hence the name.


Which is the shortest skirt length?

Skirts are a versatile part of any wardrobe, as they can be worn bare-legged in summer and with brightly colored leggings in the winter months. While short skirts have been around dating back to 5400 B.C., they became recognized as a fashion trend starting in the 1960s.


What kind of pleat is shown here?

Not sure what a pleat is? It's a fold in a garment created by doubling the fabric over itself and stitching it together at the top or the side. Pleats can be used as both a design element as well as for functionality and ease of movement.


This unusual sleeve style is referred to as which menu item?

These gigantic sleeves, which balloon at the shoulders only to tapper to a tight fit at the elbow, were named after their unusual shape and were highly fashionable in the 1820s. While the fashion died out by 1837, it's seen a comeback in recent years.


Do you know which dress silhouette is shown here?

A-line, when referring to dresses or coats, generally means that it is fitted from the shoulders to the hips and widens from the hips down to the hemline, although for some designers, it can be used to describe something that widens from the shoulders to the hem, ignoring the torso.


When the weather gets colder, we might throw on the coat shown here. Do you know it?

Though it was initially popularized by sailors in the 1720s, the modern renditions of this coat have been taking the world by storm. Often characterized by a short length, broad lapels and double-breasted buttons, trench coats have become immensely popular all over the world today!


What would you call a gathered frill or pleated piece of fabric used as decoration on a garment?

There can be quite the controversy as to what exactly ruching means in the sewing community. While some state that a strip of fabric that is gathered or pleated down both sides and is inserted into a garment is considered ruching, others have a stricter interpretation and argue that it's only ruching if it's gathered or pleated down the center.


A wide-legged pant that hits the middle of your calf is referred to as what?

They were briefly in style during the 1970s, and the name for these pants come from a style once worn by South American pampas cowboys in Argentina and Uruguay.


This ornamental braiding used to fasten the front of a garment is named after an animal. Do you know which one?

No one is quite sure how this design got its name, but it's indeed referred to as a frog in the fashion industry. Before this design turned ornamental, it was used to describe a looped device used to hold a weapon or tool more than 300 years ago.


Which of these terms mean that your clothes are ready to wear?

Decidedly French, "prêt–à–porter" refers to clothes that would be considered "off-the-rack" or ready to wear. These are the items anyone could pick up in a department store and are mass-produced.


What does an inseam measure?

When someone goes in for a fitting and the seamstress measures a person's inseam, they determine the length from the crotch to the bottom of the leg. Petite-size pants often will have an inseam up to two inches shorter than the average pair of pants.


A design where one side is cut differently than the other is ...

One of the world's rising trends in the fashion industry is asymmetry. From one-shouldered tops to shifted triangle sandals, this trend is the go-to style for those who gear to be bold, edgy and 'new.'


What would you call this pants material?

Denim is most commonly known as a material known used in the creation of jeans. Jeans were created in 1873 by Jacob Davis and Lvi Strauss in efforts to supply miners with pants that would be more durable.


This popularized top made from only a band of fabric is known as what?

While similar to the tube top, a bandeau is a more narrow version that wraps around a woman's bust. Halle Berry was one of the first to fuel this trend when she wore a bandeau with matching pants to the MTV Video Music Awards.


The flowers on this dress would be:

Applique is when pieces of fabric in varying shapes and patterns are sewn or adhered into a larger piece of fabric to form an overall picture or pattern. It's usually utilized as decoration.


What word describes the area between the edge of the fabric and the stitching line?

Seam allowance can often affect not only how fabric pieces fit together but also how the garment will hang on an individual. Depending on what a stylist is going for, a seam allowance can be anywhere between 1/4" and several inches wide.


When the back of a gown is gathered and pinned up, it is:

Originally, a bustle was a padded undergarment used to add shape to the back of a woman's dress. Nowadays, while bustling can add that shape, it's more practically used to pin up the train of a dress.


What would you call clothing that is created by knotting cord or string into a pattern?

The macramé style comes from an Arabic weavers term meaning "fringe" in the 13th century, where the fringe was originally used to help keep the flies off the animals in the hot desert.


A waistline right under the bust is known as what?

The empire waist style emphasizes one of the narrowest points on a woman's body and is excellent for shorter women. The raised waistline helps to create the appearance of added height.


What neckline does this dress have?

There is no overstating the significance of a flattering neckline when searching for the perfect dress or top. This universal neckline helps to elongate the neck and add depth to any look!


What is Lyocell?

Made from dissolving pulp, rayon was first developed in North Carolina back in 1972. Soft, absorbent and resistant to wrinkles, it's no surprise that Lyocell would be more expensive to produce than cotton or viscose rayon.


How would one describe a shift dress?

No woman's closet is complete without a shift dress. Typically featuring little to no embellishment, this elegant, understated style is perfect for the minimalist in all of us and is perfect for summer.


What is a minaudière?

Hitting the scene in the 1930s, the minaudière was a dainty accessory meant to replace the use of a purse. They're typically only big enough to hold a few small items, and they often have metallic finishes and are sometimes detailed with semi-precious stones.


The texture of fabric is specifically called the _____?

The hand is fabric quality, unsurprisingly named so because we asses this without hands. Determining a fabric's hand is a combination of factors including physical, physiological and psychological.


What word refers to the finished edge of a piece of fabric?

While there are many different styles of hems that vary in complexity, the most common hem folds up a cut piece of fabric, folds it again and then sews it down. The depth of a hem often will depend on the style a stylist is trying to achieve.


What is a herringbone?

Sometimes confused with a chevron pattern, the herringbone is a distinctive V shape that breaks its pattern at the reversal. Often called HBTs, the fabric was used in uniforms by several militaries during and after WWII.


Which of the following is NOT a type of fabric?

The yoke fits around the neck and shoulders or around the hips of a garment, and the pattern is used to provide support and aids in regulating the fullness of a garment. This style was first seen on bodices in the 1880s.


What is Shibori?

Dating back to the 8th century in Japan, shibori is a manual resist-dyeing technique. While there is an unlimited number of ways that one can bind fabric to create patterns, the Kanoko shibori is the style that most Westerners would refer to as tie-dye.


What would you call a ruffle or flare that sits right below the waist line?

While the peplum’s height of popularity was in the 1940s and '80s, it was around long before then. Appearances of this unique silhouette date as far back as ancient Greece when the Grecians wore an outfit called a peplos. The Peplos was a long tube of fabric, draped and tied at the waist and then cinched again to create the peplum shape.


What is an espadrille?

Dating back to 1322, the term "espadrille" is French but comes from "espardenya" in Catalan, or "alpargata" and "esparteña" in Spanish. Both terms refer to a type of shoe made with esparto, which is a tough, wiry Mediterranean grass used in making rope.


The shape of an armhole is known as what?

Armscye, sometimes pronounced "Arm’s Eye," is a Scottish term in origin and refers to the armhole opening in a garment where the sleeve is joined. When measuring the armscye, the length is the total length of the edge and the width is the distance across the hole at its widest point.


What is a Dolman sleeve?

Different from set-in sleeves, dolman sleeves are usually cut as a single piece. Full and roomy, the sweeping sleeve has been used for women's clothing since around 1910.


What is the hemline style shown here?

Asymmetric hems are created from fabric panels of different lengths sewn together to create a hem with several corners that hang down as points. The hem resembles a handkerchief (hence the name) that is held by the center so that its corners hang down as points.


What is a furbelow?

In sewing, a furbelow is a strip of fabric, lace or ribbon tightly gathered or pleated on one edge and applied to a garment. It has often also been referred to as ruffle, frill or flounce.


What pattern is shown in the pants here?

Paisley has been a popular pattern in fashion for years, especially following the hippie-inspired styles of the '60s and '70s. It's been having a resurgence of late with brands such as Saint Laurent, Burberry and Gucci adopting paisley.


What is the stiff material often worn under gowns to make them appear fuller?

Crinoline was originally made popular in the 1860s as a structured petticoat used to enable skirts to spread out more fully. These skirts were hazardous in the past, at risk of catching fire or being caught in wagon wheels and machinery. The style still prevails today as designers find ways to recreate the silhouette in ways that are both fashionable and comfortable for the modern woman.


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