Style Glossary


A-line: An A-line silhouette is characterised by a fitted waist and/or hips, and a skirt that gradually flares out to create an “A” shape. An A-line cut flatters most figures, and is especially flattering for bottom heavy figures.

Appliqué: An appliqué is an embellishment that is applied to the surface of a fabric that is either embroidered or beaded, rhinestones, or sequins.

Asymmetrical: An asymmetrical neckline or hemline is not identical on both sides. As a neckline, an asymmetrical cut will accentuate the shoulders, collarbone, and neck.


Ball gown: A formal evening gown that is characterised by a full, voluminous skirt and fitted bodice. This silhouette is feminine and classic.

Basque Waist: A basque waistline is also known as a dropped-V waist which elongates the torso with its low U or V shape. This waistline is flattering for most body types, but it does accentuate the hips.

Boning: Boning is the rigid part of the corset-bodice which gives the contouring shape and keeps the fabric from wrinkling. The term “boning” derives from it being originally made out of whalebone. It is usually made from polyester, nylon, plastic, or steel nowadays, and it is sewn directly into the garment to preserve the shape.

Bust Line: The fullest part of the upper body in dress measurements. To accurately measure the bust line, you should measure around the chest with the arms comfortably at the sides.


Chiffon: A sheer, lightweight fabric with a slightly rough texture that appears delicate. Chiffon is generally used as an overlay for opaque or satin fabrics to create a dreamy, frothy effect.

Cocktail Dress: A cocktail dress is a shorter dress with a hemline that falls just above or directly under the knee.

Corset: A corset style bodice is used to create shape for the torso by narrowing the waist. On evening gowns, a corset style bodice usually features a lace-up back that can be pulled to the desired fit to cinch the waist. Corsets flatter all body shapes as it can be adjusted to accentuate all body shapes and different waist and bust sizes.

Crepe: A fabric that is silk, wool, or polyester with a gauzy texture that is light and creates a floating effect. Chiffon is often used as an overlay to create a drape.

Cutout: A cutout dress features strategically placed keyholes or cutout sections of the fabric which exposes the skin for a flirty, trendy look.


Décolletage: The area of skin from the base of the neck to the bust line.

Drop Waist: A waistline that is moved down towards the top of the hips to elongate the torso. Drop waists generally make you look taller and can flatter a thick waistline.  

Duchess Satin: A medium to heavy weight satin fabric that is soft and lustrous in appearance. The finish is crisp and smooth and makes for a universally flattering look.


Embellishments: Decorative elements like bead works, gems, rhinestones, jewels, or stones that are sewn onto a fabric.

Embroidery: A decorative design that is sewn into a fabric. Embroidery can use regular or metallic thread to add to beadwork.

Empire Waist: A high waistline that falls directly below the bust and creates a lengthening effect while emphasising the bust. An empire waist is flattering for women who do not want to accentuate their mid-section or hip area.


Full Length: A full length hemline is floor length and falls below the ankles.


Halter: A style of dress and neckline where the straps join in the back at the base of the neck. A halter neckline is flattering and shows off your gorgeous décolletage, shoulders, and back. This style is not flattering for those with broad shoulders.

Hips: The length around the fullest part of your hip and over the bottom in dress measurements.


Iridescence: Fabrics that are shiny and appear to be more than one colour when viewed in different lights and from different angles.


Jersey: A knit fabric that is moderate to heavy and stretchy. Jersey is generally curve-hugging, conforms to the body, and drapes well. A good choice for anyone who wants a stretchy fit.


Lace: A type of fabric that is web-like and generally used in dresses as an overlay or appliqué to give a delicate, feminine look to the garment.


Mermaid Skirt: A silhouette that is characterised by a fitted bodice, hip, and thigh, with a skirt that flares out below the knee. This creates a fishtail look, and is usually structured with ruffles to hold the flared shape. This silhouette is very flattering on hourglass figures.

Mini: A hemline that falls shorter than cocktail length and hits mid-thigh or above.


Natural Waistline: The smallest part of the torso where the waist crease when bending to one side.


One Shoulder: A dress that has only one strap across the shoulder with the other shoulder left bare. Usually exposes the back skin.

Off the Shoulder: A dress that features sleeves or straps which fall off and around the outside of the shoulders. This neckline emphasises the collarbone and décolletage.

Organza: A sheer fabric that is generally stiff yet has a metallic sheen. Organza creates a romantic design and holds it shape well and is often used as an overlay to create a look of floating movement.


Paillettes: Disc-like, flat embellishments that are attached to a garment from a hole in the top of the paillette. Paillettes are usually made from plastic or mother of pearl and are used to catch the light and create an eye-catching effect; they can be used on a variety of fabrics.

Peplum: A short, flared skirt that is attached to the bodice of a dress, usually at the hips.


Racerback: A cut where the shoulder straps converge at the upper back to create a Y-shape. Racerback highlight the shoulders, arms, and back. For this reason, racer backs do not flatter broad shoulders.

Rhinestones: Imitation jewels or diamonds that sparkle and catch the light, used to embellish dresses for a luxurious effect. Rhinestones are usually made from plastic, crystal, or glass.

Rouching: A tight wave-like pattern that is gathered across the fabric.

Ruffles: Fabric that is gathered at one edge and generally creates a layered effect to embellish a garment; Ruffles generally add volume to the silhouette for a soft and feminine look.


Scoop-Neck: A neckline that is U-shaped to emphasise the décolletage and elongate the neck. Scoop necks complement round faces.

Sequins: Plastic disc embellishments that are sewn directly onto the garment or an appliqué with a hole in the centre. The shiny appearance of sequins catch the light for sparkle and a reflective effect. Used to create a glamorous and dramatic ensemble.

Silhouette: The shape or outline created by a garment.

Strapless: A common neckline that features no straps and can be either straight across the bust or notched in the centre for a sweetheart neck. Strapless dresses accentuate the shoulders, arms, and décolletage.

Sweetheart Neckline: A heart shaped neckline that flatters the figure and follows the curve of the bust and dips in the centre, usually to create a notched point. Sweetheart necklines show the perfect amount of skin and flatter the bust area.


Taffeta: A medium to heavy fabric that is characterised by a crisp drape. Taffeta is generally used for ball gowns and dress silhouettes that need to hold their shape.

Tulle: A sheer and light-weight fabric that is excellent as a layer underneath a garment due to its stiffness. Tulle usually adds volume and produces an iridescent effect if used as an overlay on dresses.


V-Neckline: A neckline that forms a V-shape and dips to a defined point in the centre. V-necks can range in skin exposure and be either modest or plunging. A V-Neckline minimises large busts and narrows broad shoulders, making it a very flattering cut for many women.