Here is Part 2 of our LBD buyer’s guide to dress terms. We hope you’re enjoying our two-part glossary and that you now feel that you can buy with confidence.
Here’s what you need to know about everything from Halter-necks to Yokes.
A flattering style of dress or top that has a strap that goes around the back of the neck, rather than a strap over each shoulder. Often seen in evening wear, a halter neck dress leaves the wearer’s back completely bare. Not for the faint hearted!
Handkerchief hem or Hanky hem
A delicate and elegant design that looks as if a row of fine floaty hankies have all been turned 45 degrees so that the corners fall into a pointed hemline. This style is generally a longer length where the points finish, but a little leg can be seen in between each piece. Graceful and chic, a fabulous example of this finish can be seen on a stunning new dress that will be arriving soon. Take a look at our earlier blog entry “A fabulous first for Blackdresses.co.uk” which shows our Gem detail Black Cocktail Dress by Genese.
A layer of fabric that is placed on top of another to give an attractive visual effect. Lace is often ‘overlaid’ on top of a plain fabric to provide structure and for modesty. The same applies for very sheer fabrics (in effect, the ‘underlayer’ forms a lining). Our black layered lace shift dress shows this feature off brilliantly.
A form of flat collar that is cut to fit around the neckline, following the curve, and which lies flat on the collar bone area. It can be made either as one part, or in two parts to accommodate a back fastening and can have round or pointed corners. A contrasting coloured collar can have a stunning effect.
These are parallel rows of small folds of fabric which have been stitched in place. Pin tucks are decorative, often poker straight and are popular on the front of shirts, blouses and dresses. They are a simple way of adding detail without the need for lots of extra fabric or embellishments.
Like gathers, pleats allow for extra volume to be added but in a more formal style. Wide or narrow, pleats are folds that are pressed flat and have a concertina effect when opened out. Often seen on skirts, they allow ease of movement but retain a smart look. Box pleats are very similar, but have two folds, as if forming the sides of a box.
From the original name Ponte Di Roma and now shortened to Ponteroma or just plain Ponte, this is a fabric made in a double knit construction, usually produced in one colour rather than patterns. This plain fabric has an elastic quality with a slight horizontal line. The fabric looks the same on both sides and has a jersey structure. Ponte is a very versatile fabric, is comfy to wear and washes easily.
The origin of this style is attributed to Charles Worth, the fashion designer who made clothing for the Empress (princess) Eugenie of France in the mid-1800s. This type of cut is a dramatic variation of the A-line dress. The style highlights the bodice portion of the dress by using panels that start from the neckline of the dress and continue right down to the hem with no waistline seam. The princess dress produces a slimming effect because the bodice area is quite fitted and long panels draw the eye lengthwise down the seams of the dress. The Princess line cut is popular in all lengths of dress and is particularly suitable for the bodycon style dress.
A rouleau loop is a loop formed from fabric through which a button passes to form a fasten. They are a familiar sight down the back of bridal gowns and are very decorative as well as functional, however they are now widely used on necklines, cuffs, waistbands, blouses and dresses as an alternative to a simple button.
Courtesy of www.buttoncovering.co.uk
Ruched/ruching (See also gathers, shirring)
Ruching has become popular on ball gowns and wedding dresses where it has been adapted to introduce volume and soft folds of fabric for decoration. Elastic thread is not used and the fabric is pulled together in a more random style and not in rows.
A rounded, usually low-cut neckline, as on a blouse or dress.
A shift dress is a straight-cut dress that doesn’t hug the body or cinch the waist. The bust area is usually fitted and the skirt is either cut straight or with a narrow A-line. Simple and stylish, the shift dress is adaptable to dressing up or down for any occasion.
Shirring (See also gathers, ruching)
Shirring is a gathering technique done with elastic thread, which creates a stretchy garment. It is a clever but simple way to achieve a really comfortable and snug fit and is more often seen across the top of strappy sun dresses, or the back of more fitted dresses. Elasticated thread is sewn in several parallel rows and pulled so that it gathers up the fabric. The gathers are adjusted so that the elastic thread is not stretched at all. This then allows the piece to gently expand to fit the wearer without digging in.
Reminiscent of the outfits of female figure skaters, the skater dress combines playful hemlines and soft, fine fabrics to create a beautiful, feminine silhouette. The style is worn slightly looser than most mini-dresses and cinches in at the waist, highlighting the midsection and flattering curves. The dress also flares out at the waistline for a young and flirty feel.
A neckline on a dress or blouse that is low at the front and shaped like the top of a heart as seen on this flattering sweetheart black dress.
A voluminous A-line shaped top or dress which, because of its shape, swings from side to side when the wearer walks. Swing-back coats have their volume concentrated at the back forming an attractive feature.
A term widely used to portray a cut or design that is smart, fitted, and has an element of neatness, structure and attention to detail.
Three quarter sleeve
A sleeve that ends halfway down forearm whether it be fitted, fluted, elasticated or with a cuff. The three quarter length sleeve flatters the arm, covering the often heavier part of the upper arm and just revealing the slimmer, more slender wrist. Our Twist Front Jersey Black Dress shows this flattering effect.
Connected with the culture of towns and cities, urban fashion can be described in a number of ways and is often used as a term for African-American culture, Hip-hop styling and is almost the opposite of tailoring or structure. Conversely, “Urban Chic” has developed to refer to the popular lifestyle trends of great cities, predominantlyNew York, encompassing smart, sexy and modern clothing, grooming, socializing and all other aspects of a stylish, smart and sophisticated city lifestyle.
Sophisticated, polished, cultured, refined.
The part of a garment that fits across the shoulders or across the collar bone (or both) which is attached to the main part of the garment. Yokes are often decorative and made from contrasting colours or a different fabric to give added interest as with the lace yoke on this Vintage Lace Skater Black Dress.
If you’ve picked up some useful bits and pieces here, then we’re happy that our glossary has been a helpful addition to our Black Dresses blog. But is there anything we’ve left out? If you’ve spotted a term that isn’t here, or that is here but needs further explanation, then let us know and we’ll get straight on to it!