Style Terminology – what does that fancy word ACTUALLY mean?

3 Oct

Ahh the world of fashion, so many fancy words, so little time…

confused? you’re not the only one!

Like you, I too started out having NO IDEA what words like bespoke, epaulette, or ‘ready to wear’ meant… if it’s on the rack, looks like it’s ready-to-wear right?? Wrong!

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you a list of 15 common fashion and styling terms to help you navigate the world of shopping and fashion (this list is non-exhaustive so please share more words in the comments section below to help your fellow sistas out!).



An adjective for anything commissioned to a particular specification. It may be altered or tailored to the customs, tastes, or usage of an individual purchaser (i.e. custom made or made to order).


The design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client’s specific requirements and measurements.


An ornamental shoulder piece on an item of clothing, common on coats or jackets.

Fashion forecasting

A global career that focuses on upcoming trends. A fashion forecaster predicts the colors, fabrics, textures, materials, prints, graphics, beauty, accessories, footwear, street style, and other styles that will be presented on the runway and in the stores for the upcoming seasons.

Fast fashion

Cheap, trendy clothing, that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in street stores at breakneck speed for the masses.

Haute couture

A French term for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking” or “high fashion”. It is the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing that is constructed by hand from start to finish, made from high quality, expensive, often unusual fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable sewers, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques.

Investment pieces

Investment pieces are those extra special items in any women’s wardrobe that will be worn in many years to come, as they defy fast fashion that is always changing. Quality over quantity is important when choosing investment pieces, due to their longevity and versatility.


The style of a sleeve, where a continuous piece of fabric continues to the neck with no shoulder seam.

Ready to wear

Clothes made for the general market and sold through shops rather than made to order for an individual customer. Designer ready-to-wear has taken over from couture in recent years.

Season preview

Where designers showcase their designs for the upcoming season. A fashion week is a fashion industry event, lasting approximately one week, wherein fashion designers, brands or “houses” display their latest collections in runway shows to buyers and the media. These events influence trends for the current and upcoming seasons.

Staple items

The foundation pieces of a wardrobe that act as a blank canvas to build outfits from. They are the reliable go-to items that you can mix and match with pretty much everything else in your wardrobe, season after season.

Sustainable fashion

Also called eco or ethical fashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility.


A fashion, a general direction in which something is developing or changing. Item may be the subject of many posts on a social media website or application within a short period of time.

Vertical retailer

A retailer where you have to book private appointments to visit the store. Think designer boutiques or stores where things are custom made.


The part of the garment around the neckline on the front and the back.


Got any other style words you’d like to share? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.


Know someone who could benefit from this post, share the link or post on social media 🙂


Yours in style and confidence,

Monika xx

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