Fashion Lingo Quiz



By: Ian Fortey

6 Min Quiz

Image: filadendron / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The world of fashion is a pretty intense and diverse one that has been around for centuries. Clothing has evolved from simple utilitarian garments meant to save us from the elements to something that can show off our individuality and express our style in ways few other outward things possible can. Some of us enjoy the simple, comfortable styles that are as basic as clothing ever was, while others live for high fashion from popular designs that come in the most luxurious of fabrics. But from top to bottom, from fanciest to simplest, it all has to be designed and produced, and that means you need to understand how it's made and how it's even talked about. You can't alter a hemline without knowing what that means. You need to know the difference between a princess line and an empire waist if you're heading out for an evening in one or the other. You need to know your earth tones from your jewel tones!

If you're the kind of person who lives for fashion, whether it's on the runways of Paris or the racks in Target, then surely you know some of the jargon behind it all. And if so, then you'll have no problem with this quiz!

Dolman sleeve is another name for this. What is it?

A batwing sleeve is what you call one that is a tight fit at the wrist but then expands out to be very loose by the time it hits under the arm. From the rear, it's kind of cape-like and does resemble the wing of a bat.


Which of these was first credited to Christian Dior?

A-line refers to a dress or a skirt, and it means that it fits from the shoulder (for a dress) or the waist (for a skirt) then flares out to a wider hemline at the bottom as it goes down the way the letter "A" looks.


This is a decoration that goes on some fabric. What is it?

Applique is a term that doesn't just work in fashion but, in those terms, it refers to shapes and designs cut from one textile that are then applied to another as a decoration or design on the original piece.


Which of these is an unfitted style that wasa popular in the '60s?

About as basic a dress style as you can get, the shift is a non-fitted dress-style with simple, straight lines. It's also a term for a specific kind of undergarment that was meant to protect clothing from sweat and body oil.


This term refers to an ornamental braid. Do you know what it is?

Generally a narrow, braided band, usually in a metallic color, like gold or silver, a galloon is a decorative accent that can be found on military garb, evening wear and, in some cases, fancy pillows and furniture.


Which of these is a techinque to help utilize stretch in fabric?

A bias cut involves cutting fabric on the bias, or a diagonal, in order to take advantage of its stretch and elasticity. A bias cut ensures the fabric is better able to fit the body in some areas and drape better in others.


This is what happens when layers of fabric are stitched together. What is it?

Seams occur any time you're sewing fabric together with some kind of stitching. That area where two or more layers are joined must be joined by a seam of some kind in order to hold it together properly.


Do you know which of these somewhat resembles suspenders?

Bretelles are a decorative touch on a garment that extends from the belt in the front to over the shoulders and around the back. They can also run diagonally from one side and over the shoulder on the other side.


Which of these involves folding or doubling parts of fabric?

A pleat in fabric is meant to make the fabric look fuller by bulking it up. The fabric is folded or layered and held in place with a stitch of some kind and is most likely the sort of thing you'd see in a pair of pants, but pleats can be found in a variety of garments, including dresses.


This style became popular during the time of Napoleon Bonaparte. What is it called?

An empire waist is a very high-waisted cut in which the waistline begins right below the bustline. They were the go-to fashion during Napoleon's reign as emperor.


To achieve which of these must there be no waistline seam?

A princess line is what you get when the fabric is cut from the shoulder all the way down to the hemline with no seam or separation of any kind at the waist. It can still have shape thanks to something called darts which are V-shaped tucks in the fabric.


Do you know which of these is a shoe?

An espadrille is a shoe that has a canvas or fabric top and a sole made out of something called esparto rope. They're usually flats, but they can also have heels. They're a remarkably old style of shoe and date back to at least the 14th century.


Do you know which of these is a type of opening in fabric?

A placket is a slit or opening that allows you to put on a garment. You can usually find them at the wrists and neck, on the front of a shirt or at the top of a skirt. Plackets are sometimes hidden with fabric that overlaps them.


Which of these can protect the back of the neck?

A havelock is a type of hat that has a piece of brim or fabric extending from the back edge of the hat down the base of the neck. They can be affixed in a variety of ways but generally exist only to stop your neck from getting a sunburn.


You'll find which of these on the bottom edge of a piece of clothing?

When you fold and sew the edge of a piece of clothing, it creates a hem. Its purpose is to make sure you're not leaving the raw fabric exposed, which could fray easily and, to most people, just doesn't look good.


In French, which of these terms means "shaded"?

Ombre is the term you'd use to describe the gradual blending of color in a fabric or a garment from one hue to another. That often involves a dark shade transitioning to a light shade across the length of the piece.


One of these is a V-shaped weave. Which is it?

A herringbone pattern is something you're most likely to find in tweed or wool. Its name comes from the visual look of the skeleton of a herring fish which, all things being equal, doesn't sound super fashionable.


To get this effect, you'll probably want pretty minimal tailoring. What is it?

A boxy look is achieved when you get just what the name implies, something angular and square in shape. It's usually reserved for a garment that fits the top of the body with the shoulders filling out the "box" look.


Which of these is found on the shoulders?

Often found in military uniforms but also used for decorative effect in other fashions, epaulets are shoulder adornments that are rather dramatic and noticeable. Some epaulets can be quite large and ostentatious.


Do you know which of these terms relates to a made-to-order garment?

Often used when referring to men's fashion, anything bespoke is specifically designed and assembled as a made-to-order garment for the person who will wear it, as opposed to something you just grab off the rack.


These are folded flaps of cloth. What are they?

Lapels are typically seen on a coat or jacket and are folded to either side of the opening and around the collar. They're most often found on formal clothing, but they don't have to be. Lapels can be rather narrow and understated or very wide, depending on the cut.


Which of these terms refers to how yarn is woven in fabric?

When yarn is shuttled back and forth across the width of the fabric being woven, that is referred to as the weft, but it can also be called the woof — if you're into more fun, dog-themed words. It's not as strong as some weaves.


If you're looking to make a fabric more wear-resistant, which of these applies?

Pills are little fabric balls that can form on fabric as it ages and wears down, but an anti-pill treatment will prevent this from happening. If pilling is left untreated, it tends to make the fabric look old and messy, and it will eventually wear out.


Do you know which of these terms refers to a "self-finished" edge?

Selvage — or selvedge, depending on what part of the world you're in — is the name for the finished edge of fabric that keeps it from fraying and unraveling. They're called "self-finished" because they don't need a hem. The weft in the fabric loops back and finishes each row in the fabric nice and neat.


This refers to a ruffled or flared piece of fabric. What is it?

Peplum comes from a Greek word that means "tunic." It refers to a decorative sort of frill or skirt-like addition of fabric that typically hangs below the waist and can start as high up as the bodice.


Which one of these is made from cotton in a twill or plain weave?

Velveteen is the name for fake velvet made from simple cotton. Normal velvet can also be made from cotton, but historically, it was also made from things like silk and is distinguished from velveteen by its sheen and ability to drape.


If the dye in your garment doesn't bleed, what is this called?

Colorfast refers to a fabric that is treated or prepared in a way that prevents the color from bleeding or running when you wash it. There was a time when washing a red sock in a load of whites would turn everything pink because it wasn't colorfast.


Which of these refers to clothing that reduces in thickness down the length of the garment?

Tapered is how you would refer to hems or seams that diminish in size and thickness from top to bottom. It's a general term you can apply to the same effect anywhere, not just in fashion.


One of these terms refers to the upper portion of a woman's torso. What is it?

Decolletage refers to the exposed neck, shoulders, upper chest and back area. It's whatever portion of the body would be exposed above the neckline of a garment, though it usually means something with a lower neckline, deep enough to expose some cleavage.


In English, which of these terms means "ready to wear"?

Pret-a-porter clothes, as the French to English translation suggests, are ready to wear. This is opposed to anything tailored or custom-made that is made for a specific person's size and shape. Essentially, pret-a-porter is off the rack but still high quality.


Which of these terms means "high fashion" in English?

Haute couture can be translated as "high fashion" or even "high sewing" and is the general term for high-quality, well-made clothing. In France, it cannot legally be used unless the clothing meets certain design standards.


Do you know which of these refers to brown tones?

Earth tones is a catchall term for a color palette that is reminiscent of the Earth itself and, specifically, brown shades. Mud, soil, sand, rock and all of the colors that align with those natural features are considered Earth tones.


If something doesn't sell, what is it called?

If a full season goes by and some fabric or designs haven't been sold, that qualifies as deadstock. Once a new season begins, no one wants last season's look, right? It could also be the result of a company having too much stock to sell, or the design has a defect that puts consumers off.


Do you know which of these involves a fitted bodice or jacket?

A basque is not as firmly defined as you might like it to be and originally meant a bodice or jacket that had tails. It later came to mean a corset that flared down past the waistline. However the cut works, it's generally characterized by something fitted at the top and flared and looser down below.


This makes fabric look older or worn. What is it?

Distressed fabric is fabric that has a lived-in feel and has been made to look older than it is. How a fabric is distressed depends on the type of fabric it is. Jeans, for instance, can be distressed by repeated washing or filing away at some of the material.


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