Eveningwear Glossary: A-L


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terminology in italics is defined elsewhere in the glossary

attached collar a shirt collar that is permanently attached to the shirt; can be turndown, wing or band collar; compare with detachable collar
band collar   a fashion-forward shirt collar that stands upright and encircles the neck in a band; a popular formal shirt alternative in the 1990s usually with a decorative "button cover" over the top button; not proper black tie; compare with turndown collar and wing collar
barathea a fine textured worsted fabric that has a broken rib weave and a pebbly texture; used primarily in wool for evening clothes and silk for neckwear; pronounced bare-e-THEE-e

barrel cuff

see "single cuff"
bow tie
a bow tie with cricket bat-shaped blades; wing ends can be straight or pointed; straight-end version also known as a "club bow" in America; compare to butterfly bow tie
besom pocket an inset pocket with a narrow welted edge above the opening; known as a double besom when there is also a welt below the opening; can either be jetted (as shown here) or have a flap; pronounced BEE-zem


see "bosom"


bird's eye piqué
diamond pattern piqué
black tie a dress code consisting of specifically defined attire
(note: written as "black-tie" when used as an adjective)

boiled shirt

see "stiff-front shirt"

box pleat


a pleat style featuring two straight fabric folds facing in opposite directions; often featured on the bosom of classic turndown collar shirts
blade the shaped ends of an untied bow tie; when the center of a blade is knotted during the tying process two "wings" are created 
bosom the reinforced front portion of a formal shirt that is visible when the shirt is worn with a jacket; usually starched material in either plain or textured finish (especially piqué) or soft with pleats; also also known as a "bib"
boutonniere a flower or bouquet worn in a buttonhole; from French "boutonnière" ("buttonhole"); pronounced boo-ten-YARE (most correctly) or boo-ten-EAR; known as a "buttonhole" in the UK
braid when used in the context of formal trousers, "braid" refers to a stripe of dressy facing that covers the outside seam of the legs and may or may not include actual braid


a fabric usually of cotton, silk, or rayon made in plain and rib weaves with soft semi-gloss finish  
brocade a jacquard fabric characterized by raised figures or flowers; sometimes used for formal silk waist coverings or facings


  the skin of a buck (male deer) or a soft pliable leather usually with a suede finish; used for formal outdoor gloves 
bow tie
a bow tie with thistle-shaped blades that create flared, slightly curved wings; wing ends can be straight or pointed; straight-end version also known as a "thistle bow tie" (esp. in UK); compare to batwing bow tie
button stance the location of a coat's front buttons relative to its waist 
calfskin a fine leather made from the skin of a young calf; alternative to patent leather in formal footwear



a fine wool from the undercoat of the Kashmir goat woven or knitted into soft fabrics that are luxurious to the touch
clock a knitted or embroidered vertical design on the outside of a sock

club bow tie

see "batwing bow tie" 
continental tie a bow tie alternative consisting of a strip of black fabric that overlaps under the throat where it is is fastened by a tie tack or snap button; the term is also applied to a V-shaped neckband fastened behind the neck; neither are considered proper black tie
cufflinks a usually ornamental device consisting of two parts joined by a shank, chain, or bar for passing through buttonholes to fasten shirt cuffs; required for formal shirts
cummerbund a broad pleated waistband or sash usually worn with a tuxedo in place of a waistcoat; became popular in the 1930s; from Hindi & Urdu kamarband in turn from Persian, from kamar waist + band band

cutaway (coat)

see "morning coat"
cutaway collar a spread collar with an extremely wide spread between the collar points
detachable collar a collar attached to a collarless shirt by means of studs; usually made of highly starched cotton; in formal wear usually a wing collar attached to a stiff-front shirt; compare to attached collar
dinner jacket a usually black formal suit jacket with dressy lapel facings for evening wear; also known as a tuxedo jacket see Comparative Terminology
double-breasted having one half of the front lapped over the other and usually a double vertical row of buttons and a single row of buttonholes; found in jackets, coats, overcoats and waistcoats; compare with single-breasted

double cuff

see "French cuff"

dress coat

chiefly British term for evening tailcoat
dress suit chiefly British term for evening tailcoat and matching trousers aka "full-dress suit"; compare with "dinner suit" which refers to dinner jacket and matching trousers
duck cotton a heavy, plain woven cotton fabric commonly referred to as "canvas"; also known as "cotton duck", "duck cloth" or "duck canvas"; from Dutch "doek" ("linen canvas")
ornamented with needlework; sometimes found on formal soft shirts and facings in the '50s and '60s
evening tailcoat   a tailcoat that is double-breasted (although designed not to close) with skirt sharply cut away at the front

evening wear

see Dress Codes
eyelet in regards to formal wear, a button hole intended to take a stud; also known as a "stud hole"
facing a layer of decorative fabric used to dress formal accents such as dinner jacket lapels, buttons and welts, as well as to cover trouser seams
faille a somewhat shiny, closely woven silk, rayon, or cotton fabric with a ribbed weave; used in formal wear facings and bow ties; pronounced FILE (note: term is often used interchangeably with grosgrain although it is actually finer finish)
false cuff
false cuff tailoring embellishment that creates the impression of a finished sleeve cuff; popular on formal coats in the Victorian era 
finished waistband a formal trouser waistband dressed with decorative facing and uninterrupted by belt loops; designed to be worn without a waist covering; became popular in the 1990s
flap pocket an inset pocket with a covering (flap) over the mouth; considered less formal than a jetted pocket which does not have a flap
fly front a closure in which a placket or piece of fabric covers buttons or a zipper; used on a shirt, coat or trouser

see Dress Codes

four-in-hand the knot most commonly used to tie a long necktie; also refers to the long tie itself; black silk four-in-hand ties are sometimes used as a fashion-forward alternative to the bow tie
frock coat historically a man's knee-length double-breasted day coat (often known as a Prince Albert coat); since the 1990s, a fashion-forward alternative to the dinner jacket not considered correct black tie
French cuff a soft double cuff that is made by turning back half of a wide cuff band and fastening it with cuff links; found on soft-front formal shirts; also known as a "double cuff" (esp. in UK); compare with single cuff
full dress original term for what is now known as white tie; originally distinguished from "half dress" (semi-formal day and evening wear) and "undress" (lounge suit)
(note: written as "full-dress" when used as an adjective)
grosgrain a strong close-woven corded fabric usually of silk or rayon; used as a more understated alternative to satin facing in formal wear; pronounced GROW-grain
homburg a man's felt hat with a stiff curled brim and a high crown creased lengthwise; appropriate in black for black-tie attire since the 1920s
jacquard a fabric of intricate variegated weave or pattern; named for the Frenchman who invented the loom; sometimes used for formal facings and waist coverings; pronounced JA-kard

jetted pocket

see "besom pocket"
a fine sheer linen or cotton fabric of plain weave; originally used for full-dress bow ties 
laydown collar
see "turndown collar"
link front method of fastening a single-button jacket with two buttons connected to each other cufflink-style; a very traditional style for morning coats but also sometimes seen on dinner jackets both past and present
lisle a smooth, sleek, tightly twisted thread usually made of long-staple cotton; used as an alternative to silk for formal socks
lounge suit  
British term for the business suit; named after its original role as Victorian resort or casual wear



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