Magazines and websites will often use fancy jargon when talking about men’s clothing and fashion. Though not on purpose, this can actually alienate a lot of readers.
In case you aren’t caught up on all the major terms, we created this handy men’s fashion jargon cheat sheet.
The folded fabric on the front of a suit jacket. It’s usu sally notched or peak and should be in proportion, width-wise, to your tie.
- Getty/Larry Busacca
A type of lapel with no notch or fold. A shawl collar, also known as a shawl lapel, runs unbroken from the top of the collar to the buttons.
A piece that has been crafted to the customer’s specifications. The client is measured and has the option to choose everything from fabric to stitching.
- Getty/Ian Gavan
Code word for a completely black tuxedo with a white formal shirt and a black satin bow tie. Sometimes a black satin cummerbund is added, but that is becoming less and less common. Black socks and black patent leather shoes are non-negotiable for black-tie.
A hyper-formal dress code that’s mostly fallen by the wayside these days. This style of dress differs from black-tie in that the tie is white (surprise), a white vest is required (and quite starchy), and the coat has tails. White gloves are optional.
An often unflattering pant where the ankles are cut wider to fit over large work boots.
- Getty/Tristan Fewings
A button-up shirt with a button-down collar.
A button-down shirt made of Oxford fabric, which uses a special weave that gives it some luster. It’s a dress fabric on the more casual end of the formality spectrum. An Oxford can also refer to a non-boot dress shoe.
A V-neck, open-front sweater, usually with a buttoned front.
Refers to the cotton twill fabric that pants are frequently made from.
A T-shirt that has a neck hole that hugs the neckline.
A T-shirt that has a neck hole that comes down in the front in the form of a V shape. It often shows a bit more chest.
A T-shirt that has a neckhole designed to be much larger than a crewneck, and does not hug the neckline.
A jacket with two sets of buttons visible when buttoned and an extra flap of fabric.
Denim that has never been washed after dying. This differs from commercial denim that’s washed to give it a distressed or faded look. Raw denim is usually indigo, black, or gray.
A portmanteau of “self” and “edge.” It refers to the edge of a piece of denim that was woven on a vintage shuttleloom to keep the fabric from unraveling. Denim today is usually crafted with one large sheet and cut into the necessary pieces.
The slits in the back of a suit jacket. There’s usually one in the center (center vent) or two closer to the sides (side center). The center vent is more of an American style, whereas the double vent has a British flair.
A shoe with ornamental perforation patterns in the leather. This is a more casual style than non-brogued shoes.
A ridged velvet fabric.
Blucher or Derby
A shoe made with an “open lacing system, where shoe laces are attached over the vamp (the part of the shoe where the shoelaces are tied). The vamp is usually made from one cut of leather.
Oxford or Balmoral
- Allen Edmonds
A shoe that employs a “closed” lacing system, where the shoelaces are attached underneath the vamp. Considered more formal than shoes blucher or Oxford shoes.
Stitched and folded fabric that forms a permanent crease on pants. Pleats have fallen out of fashion, as they often makes men’s legs look wider than they actually are.
Wool from a Merino sheep. Considered softer than wool from other kinds of sheep.