Fashion Lingo to Know When Shopping Online

by Terri Serjern on March 30, 2022




Jeans are one of the most purchased pieces of clothing and a closet staple in nearly everyone’s wardrobe. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of buying the same type of jeans but there are so many different kinds out there! With options galore, it’s good to be aware of jean lingo to help you weed through all that denim!


Straight Leg

These are pretty much the classic style of jeans that most people are familiar with. They have a straight and narrow leg shape that runs from the hip down to the ankles, so the width will be the same along the thighs, knees, and leg openings.




These jeans are typically thought of as tight jeans. They are snug-fitting around the hips and thighs and are usually made of a stretchier type of denim.




These jeans have a loose and comfy fit on top and gradually get narrow towards the ankle. They tend to have a more tailored look and flatter the natural shape of the legs. It’s easy to elevate the look of a tapered pair of jeans.



Boot Cut

This is one of the most popular and classic cuts for denim. They flare from the knee to the hem and give the appearance of a narrow waist and hips. They are great for tall women, but also good for shorter women as well when paired with the right heels or any taller shoe. They are also perfect for curvy body shapes.




Think bell bottoms when you think of this comfy jean option! They become wider from the knees going downward, forming a bell-like shape. A great pair of flared jeans can revamp your wardrobe and give you more styling choices.




These jeans have a more oversized fit which results in a looser, baggy silhouette. They also sit lower on the hips. Think about the kind of jeans you might borrow from a guy. They can come extra baggy or have a slightly less slouchy fit.




Girlfriend jeans are basically just boyfriend jeans with a closer fit and more taper in the leg. They also sit a little higher on the waist. These jeans are just a sleeker version of the boyfriend jean and are usually easier to take from day into night.




Raglan and dolman and peplum! Where do you even begin with tops!? Especially sleeves, they’re one of the first things you notice when you look at a top, and these styles alone vary immensely. A shirt is just a shirt, right? Wrong. Shirt lingo can get tricky real fast, but no need to worry, we’ve broken down some of the terms you might stumble across when shopping that will hopefully clarify some things.




A pullover is typically a sweater, or a top made of thicker material, with a ribbed neck, cuff, and hem. It’s the kind of top that is meant to be worn over shirts, tops, and blouses for an extra layer of warmth. Think sweatshirt.



Open Style

This usually refers to a cardigan that is meant to be worn open and lacks buttons or a zipper. Wrap cardigans can also fall into this category, except they wrap around the body like a shawl and offer a little more protection from the elements.



Mock Neck

A mock neck top looks like a turtleneck, but the collar is not folded down like a turtleneck would be. The collar on a mock neck is lower and usually looser fitting, so they are not as constricting as a turtleneck.



Cowl Neck

A cowl neck is also similar to a turtleneck, but the loose neckline hangs in draped folds and can be narrow or chunky. This chilly weather wardrobe item can be worn to show off the neckline.



Slub Fabric

Slub fabric is created with slight knots and knobbles, which can be seen as thicker, raised threads on the surface of the fabric. These 'imperfections' of the yarn give the fabric an organic, tactile look and feel.




This simply means any top with the back cut lower than the front, giving it an asymmetrical look. It can be either a subtle difference or an extreme one when it comes to the difference in length.



Cable Knit

This is a type of sweater knit that originated in Ireland. The sweater is knitted in a pattern that resembles twisted braids and ropes and can be either simple or quite complex. It typically results in a chunkier-looking sweater.




If you are familiar with the baseball-style tee, then you know what a raglan shirt looks like! This style is characterized by having sleeves that go all the way to the neckline instead of ending at the shoulder. You’ll see these adaptable sleeves on everything from sweatshirts to pullovers to t-shirts and more.



Acid Wash

This is a type of treatment done to garments involving a bleach solution and produces a streaked and discolored look. An acid-washed piece of clothing has a used and worn-in look, giving it a super comfy vibe.



Bell Sleeve

Bell sleeves are fitted from the shoulder to the elbow and then gently flare out from there to create a bell shape. Bell sleeves can give a really fun feminine and retro look to a top.




This simply means unbalanced, so one side of the garment is not the same. This can be seen in the hemline, the neckline, or the pattern. Think of a slanted hemline or a one-shoulder top.




This type of top has a small cutout or a keyhole-shaped opening at the neck., either in the front or the back. It can be left open or joined with a closure. It’s appealing because it elevates a mundane neckline.



Bohemian Style

This unconventional fashion style, also called Boho, gets its inspiration from bohemian and hippie influences. This style involves natural fabrics, retro patterns, warm shades, mixed patterns, 70s accents, and statement accessories.



Color Blocking

This is a technique of creating a garment by joining two or more solid-colored blocks of fabric together. Colors are often contradictory, but not always, and make for exciting statement pieces with a visually striking effect.




A peplum top has a fitted bodice with a flared piece of fabric, almost like a little skirt, attached to the waistline. It can be an extremely flattering and feminine silhouette and can work well for tummies because it cuts just above the stomach – at the smallest part.




Shirring is a decorative gathering of cloth on a garment, made by sewing rows of stitching half an inch apart while using elastic thread. It is usually used on tops to create more shape at the neckline, bust, or waist.




This type of top has a drop shoulder and a wide armhole, usually with the sleeve fitted at the wrist, almost giving it a bat wing type look. The full cut of these sleeves gives tops a very flattering and appealing silhouette.




This term comes from a word meaning to shade or overshadow. An ombre effect is when one color gradually goes from light to dark, using all the tones of the color. It can be an extremely pretty coloring effect that adds a classy little surprise when worn under layers.





A placket is an opening (not too long) found at the neckline, sleeve cuffs, or waistbands of pants and skirts. They are sometimes used as a decorative element only, but typically their purpose is to make the garment easier to get on and off. They can have buttons, zippers, or hooks.




This is a type of collarless shirt, with a round neckline and a placket about 3 to 5 inches long containing 2-5 buttons. Think of a polo shirt without the collar and you basically have a henley shirt.




Smocking refers to fabric that has been bunched up and sewn with elastic thread so that it can stretch. All or just part of the top can be smocked. It creates a garment that is both form-fitting and flexible.




This is a loose-fitting shirt that is usually longer than a typical shirt but not as long as a dress. The garment goes from the shoulder to somewhere in between the hips and the knees. A lot of women like to wear them with leggings or pair them with shorts.





Dresses, dresses, and more dresses…they’re everywhere! There are hundreds of different kinds of dresses, so we can understand how it can be overwhelming when picking out a new one. Here is a breakdown of the more important styles of dresses that you will likely come across at some point during your next shopping session!




This is an easy one to figure out. It’s a simple silhouette that forms the shape of a capital letter A. It can be flowy from the shoulders or cinched at the waist with the hem flared out. This style is easy for all body shapes to wear.




This style became popularized by women in the 1780s who were inspired by the dresses they saw in classical art. These dresses have a fitted bodice that drapes out under the bust, instead of at the waistline. They can make the body look longer, so they are especially great for petite women.




A shift dress gets its name because it is easy to move or shift around when wearing one. These short dresses hang straight down from the shoulders in clean, simple lines. Minimalism is the go-to for a shift dress, which is typically unembellished and sleeveless.




These form-fitting dresses have a streamlined silhouette, tight to the body, that is meant to emphasize an hourglass shape. They come at or just above the knee and often have a small slit in the back to make them easier to walk in.



Shirt Waist

These cute dresses resemble a shirt with a collar and a button-down front, borrowing details from a man’s shirt. They are typically cut without a seam at the waist, so they have a looser fit. They can be styled with a belt to define the waist and are flattering on most body types.




These dresses are informal, full-length, and comfortable! They are usually made from breathable and free-flowing fabric, such as cotton or polyester. They can come in a variety of necklines, colors, and patterns and look good on any body type.




A swing dress is fitted near the bust and flares out into a bell shape. The hem comes to the knee or just above the knee. Named so because they “swing” when you move. They make a really cute summer outfit!




A midi dress is one that comes below the knee and above the ankles, typically just above the calves. These dresses come in tons of different styles and are versatile, flattering, and perfect for any occasion and season.




If you’re looking for fun pieces to compliment your many outfits then there are definitely some terms that might come in handy when you’re browsing jewelry. Here are some terms that you’re likely to come across when perusing and that show up often in our own site’s jewelry collection.




This is a small hoop earring that fits closely around the ear lobe. They are usually thicker than a standard hoop earring would be so that it looks like it’s “hugging” the ear.




A bangle is a type of bracelet that is rigid, ring-shaped, and traditionally without a clasp. It’s made to slide over the hand.



Chandelier Earring

This is an extremely ornate dangling earring, that typically consists of a tiered set of jewels and beads. They hang long from the ear lobes and usually drop from more than one level.




Druzy describes sets of tiny crystals of minerals that form on the surface of another stone. Since there are many types of minerals, there are many different types of druzy, each one with a particular crystal size, luster, and color.



Art Deco

This is a decorative style popular during the 1920s and 1930 and can be used to describe the style of jewelry pieces. It features bold geometric shapes, linear patterns, and diverse color palettes. Think skyscrapers!



Art Nouveau

This ornamental style came about in the 1800s to the early 1900s and often shows up in today’s jewelry. It features organic curving lines, free-flowing and stylized natural forms, like flowers, leaves, and the feminine form.




This is a design, usually of a person from the shoulders up, that is cut in relief (the figure is raised on a background layer) into a hard gemstone or shell.



Lobster Clasp

This is the most common type of clasp seen on jewelry. It stays closed with a small spring and resembles a tiny lobster claw.



Dangle Earring

This popular type of earring extends below the ear lobe and is meant to swing back and forth, as opposed to a drop earring that is meant to be stationary.




These necklaces are typically 14” to 15” in length and are meant to fit snuggly around the neck. Fun fact: the choker necklace is easily the most sexualized piece of jewelry and goes back hundreds of years!




This stands for cubic zirconia, which is a man-made gemstone meant to simulate a diamond. They are an inexpensive diamond alternative with many of the same qualities as a diamond.



Stud Earring

This is simply any earring that attaches to the ear lobe with a post through the piercing and is secured with an earring back. They are usually small and simple in design.




This ornamental lace-like work is beautiful on earrings and necklace pieces. It’s formed with thin wires of intricately arranged and intertwined pieces of metal to create gorgeous patterns.



Semi-Precious Gemstone

This refers to any gemstone that isn’t a diamond, emerald, sapphire, or ruby. They are less expensive but are equally as beautiful.



Check out the Nora Gray Boutique website for new arrivals in jeans, tops, dresses, shoes, bags, jewelry, and much more!


Is there a word you come across that's not on our list? Let us know in the comment section below!




Photo Credits
All photos are courtesy of Nora Gray Boutique except for the following:
Empire Dress - Fashion Magazine
Chandelier Earrings - Perfect Details
Art Deco Earrings - 1st Dibs
Art Nouveau Earrings - Tinelli
Lobster Clasp - Wikipedia
Cubic Zirconia - The Spruce
Semi-Precious Gemstone - Dazzling Rock