SF/F Genre Glossary

Fashion & Clothing Terminology

shoe bazaar photo
Photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho  (CC)

I’ve been looking for a writer’s reference on clothing items, but haven’t had much success, so I’ve put together this list. It’s incomplete,  more modern than not, more western-centered than not, but it’s a start.

Without further ado:


Pants / Bottoms
slacks
trousers
breeches
britches
legging
shorts
dungarees
cullotes
jodhpurs
khakis
sirwal trousers
hakama

Skirts
kilt
sarong
wrap
pareo
malong

Dresses
ball gown
sheathe
dirndl
evening gown
frock
kimono
mumu
sari
shift
wrap
pouf
qi pao
shirtdress
halter
lehenga
hanbok

Tops
shirt
blouse
tunic
button down
caftan
cardiagan
cossak
dashiki
dinner acket
Blazer
shalwar kameez/ qamis
overshirt
pullover
sweater
woolens
smock
happi

Coats
anorak
blazer
housecoat
parka
overcoat
peacoat
poncho
raincoat
robe
waistcoat
duffle
trench
bolero
aba

Undergarments
nightgown
corset
lingere
long johns
long underwear
nightshirt
camisole
petticoat
shift
shamla
bloomers
knickers
bra / brassiere
bustier
panties

Footwear
boot
shoe
galoshes
sandals
slippers
moccasins
gaiter
zori
ghille
espadrille
wing tip
loafer
tabi

Head Gear
headscarf
helm
porkpie hat
sombrero
stetson
top hat
trilby

Accessories
apron
scarf
ascot tie
bandanna
cape
bonnet
bow tie
cravat
cuff links
gloves
handkerchief
mittens
pinafore
mantle
shrug
stockings
veil
stole
suspenders
turban
sash
earrings
ear cuff
earring
obi
belt
hood

Other
applique
epaulets
filigree
jouy print
knife pleat
lettuce hem
mandarin collar
ombre
paperbag waist
seersucker
houndstooth
yoke
welt pockets
A-line
empire waist
high waist
drop waist
blouson
tent
strapless
slit
flounce
godet
pleated
trumpet
paillettes
linen
cotton
wool
silk
satin
velvet
draping
embroidery
damask
paisley
brocade
shibori


Also! A link with images. This is more modern fashion/sewing terms: Enerie Fashion and Lifestyle.

Please help me add to this list 🙂

8 Comments

  1. Casey Blair

    oooh this is such a good idea. a couple potential non-western additions off the top of my head:

    lehenga
    salwar kameez
    hanbok
    hakama
    happi
    tabi

    Reply
  2. I love the idea of having a go-to lexicon for clothing and fashion terms, when writing.

    But!

    It would be so much more useful if all these words were defined. And even better? Pictures to illustrate?

    Like… what differentiates “slacks” from “trousers” from “breeches” from “britches”? Right? (I know that some might be 100% synonymous but differ primarily on the region where it is most common, but that could be part of the definition.) What does a cossack look like? A ghille is a type of footwear? I’ve never heard of it… what does it look like? Who might wear it?

    And so on…

    Reply
    1. Mostly? Trying to stay alive.

      Long story short: I’ve had a number of health-related challenges going over the past year or so that have left me severely low on energy.

      I may finally be starting to recover, but in that time I’ve gotten very passionate about board games. I intend to go back to writing once I feel like I’ve got a handle on things. But getting a handle on things starts with home, family, and my daytime career. After those things are in a good, settled place, writing is the next priority. And more game playing.

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