10 fashion terms every guy should know
From recognizable clothing to more obscure pieces, check them out and stay in the style loop.
Fashion can be a confusing game – especially if you don’t know what anyone is talking about! We’ve put together this cheat sheet of some common, and not-so-common, style terms so you’ll always know the right thing to say.
Bespoke clothing is exclusively handcrafted for you from scratch, based on your unique anatomy, posture and other details – and not by modifying an existing design or pattern to your measurements. Bespoke clothing comes with limitless customisation and detailing options – so getting a general idea of the basic elements you want before you start is always a good idea.
The Brogue is a style of low-heeled shoe or boot traditionally characterised by multiple-piece, sturdy leather uppers with decorative perforations (or “broguing”) and serration along the pieces’ visible edges. Modern brogues trace their roots to a rudimentary shoe originating in Ireland that was constructed using untanned hide.
Corduroy refers to a fabric which has its roots as far back as 200 B.C. Egypt and features a distinct pattern, a “cord” or wale. It later became the fabric of choice for the working class, as jobs demanded a uniform that could take some abuse. In Europe, corduroy is commonly known simply as “Cord”, “rib cord” or “rib velvet” – and in some parts of Europe simply as “Manchester”.
Cufflinks date back to the reign of French king Louis XIV, when they were known as “sleeve buttons” and are designed only for use with shirts which have cuffs with buttonholes on both sides but no buttons. These may be either single or double-length (French) cuffs, and may be worn either “kissing”, with both edges pointing outward, or “barrel-style”, with one edge pointing outward and the other one inward so that its hem is overlapped.
The Hiking Boot these days has a much heartier, mountain man aesthetic to it. Think about what Sir Edmund Hillary wore as he conquered Everest, tone that down a touch, and you’ve got the makings of the hiking boot.
The Bomber Jacket was created in the late 1940s, when the Air Force stepped into the modern era of aerial combat with the introduction of jet fighter planes. The silhouette of the bomber jacket has not altered a lot compared to the original, although it has an athletic and masculine silhouette with a fitted waist and more generous fit, like the bulky sleeves and extra pockets so as to be functional.
Made-to-Measure (MTM) clothing comes with customisation options, such as those provided by a normal tailor. It starts with your selecting a design you like, getting yourself measured, and getting the design tweaked and tailored to your measurements. It’s great for people who want to customize their style, appearance and comfort a few notches above what ready-to-wear clothing can offer.
The Oxford Shirt, sometimes referred to as a Button Down, has become a generic term for a classic button-front shirt. However the term originally referred to the woven fabric used to make these shirts Varieties in the cloth are the plain Oxford, the Pinpoint Oxford and the more formal Royal Oxford. While these first two are more often paired with casual shirt designs like a button-down collar, the third type is a more versatile weave that can be paired with either business or sporty dress codes.
Pinstripes are a pattern of very thin stripes of any color running in parallel often found in cloth. The pinstriped suit has become associated with conservative business attire, although many designers now produce the fashionable pinstripe patterns for fashion-conscious consumers.
Pinstripes have been found on suits since the early 19th century. They were used by banks in London to identify their employees. By the ’20s, pinstripes were considered quite flamboyant which made the pattern a natural favorite for mobsters and rum-runners during the Prohibition Era.
Ready-to-Wear (RTW) clothing is what you buy off the rack of a store. It’s a pre-made, mass market garment that’s ready to wear immediately after you’ve bought it. It’s the easiest, most convenient and also most popular way of buying clothes.