Fashion Terms De-coded

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Are you familiar with the terms haute couture, normcore, prêt-à-porter? If your answer is no, well, I assure you that you aren’t alone (I didn’t know some of these a couple of months back either). Some fashion terms can be real head scratchers.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2090″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]In light of that, we decided to put together a cheat sheet (complete with pronunciations), for all you fashion aficionados.


Design made by sewing one piece of fabric on another. It’s the perfect way of going pretty, and as we say at Be For Beauty, it’s all very beautiful.

The term usually refers to your male partners, ladies but in fashion-ese it means ‘borrowed from the boyfriend’. These are those pieces that might not look out of place in a man’s wardrobe. This is so on-trend that the shirt you borrowed from your boyfriend? You can wear it out now!

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Colour block

This trend has been around for a while now. It involves wearing multiple solid colours in an outfit. But be careful with this one;it can go from chic to ‘oh no you didn’t!’ in a minute.

Diffusion line

A secondary line of merchandise created by a fashion house/designer retailed at lower prices. Yeah, it’s the designers feeding our aspirations. Everyone seems to be doing it, from Alexander Wang’s collaboration with H&M to Masaba Light by our very own, Masaba Gupta.


A type of ornamental shoulder piece or decoration, usually detachable. Talk about military inspiration!


A flat, platform shoe. They give you the comfort of flats with well, the height of heels. It might be a little hard to walk on uneven surfaces but the hack is to keep your weight in your heels rather than your toes. If you’re obsessed with these, you can find some at Bodice by Ruchika Sachdeva.

Granny chic

Grand ma does know best it seems, even when it comes to fashion. This fashion trend is quite the rage, from crazy fur coats, tweeds to blanket cardigans. The key to acing this look is to not go overboard with the inspiration and to experiment with colour so it remains young.
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Haute couture

[oht koo-tyr]
A French Word that literally translates to high fashion. To be Haute Couture, the garment has to be completely hand sewn in Paris and made on order. This is one term which is used incorrectly left, right and centre!


The fabric appears to change colour when it catches light. It’s so mesmerising, perfect for this party season!

Jewel neck

It’s just a fancy name for a basic, plain neckline that is rounded and reaches just above the collar bone. It works well for women with a smaller chest and is best accessorised with a brooch or big baubles that bring attention to your face.

Knife pleats

Sharp, narrow pleats that are usually one inch apart. These are as flattering as pleats can get and lend a lot of movement to the garment.

Lettuce edge

A ruffle created at the edge of a neckline, cuffs or hem because of the way the fabric is sewn. It’s a quick way to lend a feminine and flowy touch to a garment. What’s more? You can do it yourself.


There doesn’t always have to be a grey area; some things can be just black and white. And no, I don’t mean pairing your black pants with a white shirt. There are so many fun styling options to go for, be it stripes or abstracts, it’s all about pairing the right separates together.


Breaks down to normal + hardcore (No, I’m not being inappropriate). It’s the newest anti-trend on the block. It’s all about being comfortable in frumpy attire (still chic); trying is the new not trying.So now you don’t have to pack your heels in your bag as you walk to work in a pair of sneakers, yay!


It simply means colour that graduates from light to dark. Talk about being ubiquitous, this trend is literally everywhere, from clothes and nails to hair (Jared Leto, need I say more?).


<Prêt à porter

[preht ah pohr/tay]
The French word for Ready-to-wear. This describes factory made clothes in standard sizes which are not bespoke like Haute Couture.


By quilted I mean diamond stitched fabric. It makes perfect sense for winter, doesn’t it? Sounds all cozy. Well this isn’t exactly a new trend, the classic Chanel bags have been around since ages (literally). But even so, you can make it sporty chic. All you need to do is go for the right cut when you pick a jacket. So instead of picking a bulky puffer jacket, go for a sleek leather one instead.



The technique of gathering fabric with elastic which adds texture to the garment. The good news is that it suits almost any body type. It’s all about placing the gathers strategically.



Hybrids exist in fashion too. A skort looks like a skirt from the front and shorts from the back. Works for us, the comfort of shorts with the femininity of a skirt.

Tea Length

The hem of a tea length dress hangs at about mid-calf or slightly lower. It’s perfect for a tea party (yes), a luncheon with your girlfriends, or even that classy evening gala you have to go for. It lends a retro Hollywood glamour feel to your look.


(It’s no coincidence that it rhymes with retard)
A skin tight garment that covers you from your neck to your wrists and ankles. Not all fashion is good fashion. Word.


A slit at the back of a garment which gives it movement. Commonly seen in pencil skirts, coats and blazers.

Wing collar

A small standing collar whose tips resemble wings which is where it gets its name from. It gives a crisper look to your shirt and can be a welcome addition to your work wardrobe. You could add a collar connector necklace to take it up a notch.

X-ray fabrics

Exactly what it sounds like, it’s a sheer fabric with a translucent effect.


The part of the garment around the neckline, fitting around the front and the back.

Zoot suit

A high waist, wide-legged pants with a long coat and large shoulder pads. Traditionally for men, I think it’s a great spin on the androgynous angle in the 21st century.

So now you can speak fluent fashion-ese too, like them fashion peeps!

-Written by Aarushi Bansal for

Got any other terms you want to add to our list? Please feel free to share them with us in the comments section![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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