The art of making something entirely to the buyers preference and specification. Although commonly used to describe any custom item, bespoke is traditionally asscociated with tailoring.
The term tuxedo is itself variously used in different parts of the world. It always refers to some form of dinner jacket, and sees most use in North America, where the term originated. There, it is commonly taken to mean a modern variation on the traditional black tie, while in Britain, it is sometimes used to refer to the white jacket alternative.
Bowler Hat (Derby)
Braces (see suspenders)
Brogue (shoe) – The Brogue is a style of low-heeled shoe or boot traditionally characterized by multiple-piece, sturdy leather uppers with decorative perforations (or “brogueing”) and serration along the pieces’ visible edges. Modern brogues trace their roots to a rudimentary shoe originating in Scotland and Ireland that was constructed using untanned leather with perforations that allowed water to drain from the shoes when the wearer crossed wet terrain such as a bog.
Button down (shirt) – Button-down collars have points fastened down by buttons on the front of the shirt. Introduced by Brooks Brothers in 1896, they were patterned after the shirts of polo players and were used exclusively on sports shirts until the 1950s in America. It is still considered a more sporting style, and, particularly outside America, traditionally dressed men still do not wear suits with this style of collar.
Button Hole – The bottonhole is intended to hold a boutonnière, a decorative flower. These are now only commonly seen at more formal events. To hold the flower properly, a loop is fixed to the back of the lapel.
Burberry – Burberry Group plc is a British luxury fashion house, manufacturing clothing, fragrance, and fashion accessories. Its distinctive tartan pattern has become one of its most widely copied trademarks. Burberry is most famous for its iconic trench coat, which was invented by founder Thomas Burberry.
Cashmere – Cashmere wool, usually simply known as cashmere, is a fiber obtained from Cashmere and other types of goats. The word cashmere derives from an old spelling of Kashmir. Cashmere is fine in texture, and strong, light, and soft. Garments made from it provide excellent insulation.
Chambray – It was first used in Cambrai, France, as early as 1595. It is possibly named after Baptiste of Cambrai. It is a closely woven, firm fabric with a slight glossy surface produced by calendering. Modern cambric is made from Egyptian or American cotton and sometimes flax, but also polymer fibres can be added. Cambric is also used as a coating for professional playing cards, to protect them for longer and make them easier to handle.
Chino – Chino cloth is a twill fabric, usually made primarily from cotton. Chino pants gained popularity in the U.S. in the 20th century after military men returning from the Philippines after the Spanish-American War brought back their cotton military trousers. These pants were originally made in China. “Chino” is the Spanish term for Chinese, and most of the people who wear chino cloth, especially in the Philippines, are peasants (camisa de chino), hence the fabric and these pants picked up the name. The first chinos sold in the U.S. were U.S. Army military-issue pants, and to save fabric during World War II-era constraints, they had no pleats and were tapered at the bottom of the leg.
Cognac – Cognac named after the town of Cognac in France, is a famous variety of brandy. In order to bear the name Cognac, the production methods for the distilled brandy must meet specified legal requirements. It must be made from certain grapes; of these, Ugni Blanc, known locally as Saint-Emilion, is the most widely-used variety today. It must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in French oak barrels from Limousin or Tronçais. Most cognacs are aged considerably longer than the minimum legal requirement, because cognac matures in the same way as whiskies and wine when aged in a barrel.
Corduroy – Corduroy is a textile composed of twisted fibers that, when woven, lie parallel (similar to twill) to one another to form the cloth’s distinct pattern, a “cord.” Modern corduroy is most commonly composed of tufted cords, sometimes exhibiting a channel (bare to the base fabric) between the tufts. Corduroy is, in essence, a ridged form of velvet. As a fabric, corduroy is considered a durable cloth. Socially speaking, the clothes made from corduroy are considered casual but not business casual, and are usually favored in colder climates. Corduroy is found in the construction of trousers, jackets and shirts.
Crew neck – A crew neck (or crew-neck) is a type of shirt or sweater that has a round neckline and no collar, often worn with other layers. The T-shirt crew neck was developed in 1932 as an undergarment that would absorb sweat and prevent shoulder pads of American football players from causing chafing. The United States Navy was the first of the United States armed forces to adopt the crew neck T-shirt or “Gob Shirt”.
Crombie – Crombie (also known as J&J Crombie Ltd, after its founder John Crombie and his son James) is a British fashion company, which produces high-end clothing and accessories. Crombie is most famous for its luxury coats – so much so that the word ‘Crombie’ is sometimes used by other companies to refer to their own coats produced in the style of Crombie’s most famous three-quarter length (usually wool) overcoats, although the Crombie company has been known to take legal action to prevent this trademark word from being used generically.
Cummerbund – A cummerbund (sometimes mistakenly spelled cumberbund) is a broad waist sash, usually pleated, which is often worn with single-breasted dinner jackets (or tuxedos). The cummerbund was first adopted by British military officers in colonial India as an alternative to a waistcoat, and later spread to civilian use. The modern use of the cummerbund is as a component of the semi-formal black tie dress code.
Collar – The Oxford English Dictionary traces collar in its modern meaning to c. 1300. Today’s shirt collars descend from the ruffle created by the drawstring at the neck of the medieval chemise, through the Elizabethan ruff and its successors, the whisk collar and falling band. Separate collars exist alongside attached collars since the mid-16th century, usually to allow starching and other fine finishing.
Double breasted – double-breasted refers to a coat or jacket with wide, overlapping front flaps and two, parallel columns of buttons or snaps; by contrast, a single-breasted coat has a narrow overlap and only one column of buttons. In most modern double-breasted coats, one column of buttons is decorative, while the other functional. The other buttons, placed on the outside edge of the coat breast, are either decorative (non-functional) or functional, allowing the overlap to fasten reversibly, right lapel over left lapel. To strengthen the fastening, a functional inner-button, called the jigger, is usually added to parallel-fasten the over-lapped layers together from the inside.
Duffel Coat – A duffle coat, or duffel coat, is a coat made from duffle, a coarse, thick, woollen material. The name derives from Duffel, a town in the province of Antwerp in Belgium where the material originates. Duffle bags were originally made from the same material.
Duffle coats are a traditional British garment, dating from 1890 when John Partridge, a manufacturer of outdoor clothing, started to market coats made from duffle fabric.
Etiquette – conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion
Flannel – Flannel is a soft woven fabric, of various fineness. Flannel was originally made from carded wool or worsted yarn, but is now often made from either wool, cotton, or synthetic fibre. Flannel may be brushed to create extra softness or remain unbrushed. The brushing process is a mechanical process where a fine metal brush rubs the fabric to create fine fibers from the loosely spun yarns. Typically, flannel has a nap either single-sided nap or double-sided nap. Double-napped flannel refers to a fabric that has been brushed on both sides. If the flannel is not napped, in this case the flannel gains its softness through the loosely spun yarn in its woven form. Flannel is commonly used to make clothing, bed sheets, and sleepwear.
French Cuff – A cuff is an extra layer of fabric at the lower edge of the sleeve of a garment covering the arms. In US usage the word may also refer to the end of the leg of a pair of trousers. The functional purpose of turned cuffs is to protect the material from fraying and, when frayed, to allow the cuffs to be repaired or replaced without major changes to the garment.
Hacking pocket – Hacking pockets have an equestrian ancestory. These jacket pockets are angled to allow access when riding a horse. Often found on jackets with a single vent at the back.
Harris Tweed – Harris Tweed is a luxury cloth that has been handwoven by the islanders on the Isles of Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, using local wool.
Traditional Harris Tweed was characterized by subtle flecks of colour achieved through the use of vegetable dyes, including the lichen dyes called “crottle” (Parmelia saxatilis and Parmelia omphalodes which give deep red- or purple-brown and rusty orange respectively). These lichens are the origin of the distinctive scent of older Harris Tweed.
Herringbone – Herringbone describes a distinctive V-shaped weaving pattern usually found in twill fabric. The pattern is called herringbone because it resembles the skeleton of a herring fish. Herringbone-patterned fabric is usually wool, and is one of the most popular cloths used for suits and outerwear. Tweed cloth is often woven with a herringbone pattern.
Houndstooth – Houndstooth checks originated in woven wool cloth of the Scottish Lowlands, but are now used in many other materials. The traditional houndstooth check is made with alternating bands of four dark and four light threads in both warp and filling or weft woven in a simple 2:2 twill, two over – two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass. Houndstooth is the well-recognized pattern on legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s hat. Fans wear the patterned hat and other merchandise with the pattern. However, it is not a part of their official colors.
Hosiery – Hosiery, also referred to as legwear, describes garments worn directly on the feet and legs (socks). The term originated as the collective term for products of which a maker or seller is termed a hosier; and those products are also known generically as hose.
Jermyn Street – Jermyn Street is a street in the City of Westminster, central London, to the south, parallel and adjacent to Piccadilly.
It is well known as a street where the shops are almost exclusively aimed at the Gentleman’s market and is famous for its resident shirtmakers (such as Turnbull & Asser, Charles Tyrwhitt, Thomas Pink and T.M. Lewin); Gentleman’s outfitters (Hackett and Harvie & Hudson); Shoe & Bootmakers (John Lobb and Foster & Son); Barbers (Geo. F Trumper and Taylors of Old Bond Street); Cigar shops (Davidoff and Dunhill), Tramp nightclub and the 70-seat Jermyn Street Theatre.
Khakis – khakis come in all ranges of colors and the term refers more to the particular design or cut of the pants/trousers. In this context, “Khakis” have become popular as business casual pants/trousers, and includes other cuts and fabric types (such as chinos).
Linen – Textiles in a linen-weave texture, even when made of cotton, hemp and other non-flax fibers are also loosely referred to as “linen”. Such fabrics generally have their own specific names other than linen; for example, fine cotton yarn in a linen-style weave is called Madapolam.
Slip-ons are typically low, lace-less shoes. The style most commonly seen, known as a loafer in American culture, has a moccasin construction. First appearing in the mid-1930s from Norway, they began as casual shoes, but have increased in popularity to point of being worn in America with city lounge suits, though these still require lace-up shoes in more conservative locations such as Britain. They are worn in many situations in a wide variety of colours and designs, often featuring tassels on the front, or metal decorations (the ‘Gucci’ loafer).
A less casual, earlier type of slip-on is made with side gussets (sometimes called a dress loafer). Made in the same shape as lace-up Oxfords, only lacking the laces, elasticated inserts on the side allow the shoe to be easily removed, but remain snug when worn. This cut is unusual and has its greatest popularity in Britain.
The Mackintosh or Macintosh (abbreviated as mac or mack) is a form of waterproof raincoat, first sold in 1824, made out of rubberised fabric. The Mackintosh is named after its Scottish inventor Charles Macintosh, though a letter k is added by many writers (this variant spelling “Mackintosh” is now standard). Although the Mackintosh style of coat has become generic, a genuine Mackintosh coat should be made from rubberised or rubber laminated material.
The Merino is an economically influential breed of sheep prized for its wool. Merinos are regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep. Poll Merinos have no horns (or very small stubs, known as scurs), and horned Merino rams have long, spiral horns which grow close to the head.
Mohair – Mohair usually refers to a silk-like fabric or yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat. The word “mohair” was adopted into English before 1570 from the Arabic mukhayyar, a type of haircloth, literally ‘choice’, from khayyara, ‘he chose’. Mohair fiber is approximately 25-45 microns in diameter. It is one of the oldest textile fibers in use. It is both durable and resilient. It is notable for its high luster and sheen, and is often used in fiber blends to add these qualities to a textile. Mohair also takes dye exceptionally well. Mohair is also warm as it has great insulating properties. It is durable, and resistant to moisture-wicking, stretch, flame and creases. It is considered to be a luxury fiber, like cashmere, angora and silk, and is usually more expensive than most wool that comes from sheep.
Moleskin – Moleskin, originally referring to the short, silky fur of a mole, is heavy cotton fabric, woven and then sheared to create a short soft pile on one side. The word is also used for clothing made from this fabric. Clothing made from moleskin is noted for its softness and durability. Some variants of the cloth are so densely-woven as to be windproof. The majority of manufacturers of this cloth are British mills.
Monk Strap – A monk shoe is a style of shoe with no lacing, closed by a buckle and strap. It is moderately formal shoe: less formal than a full Oxford (American: Balmoral); but more so than an open Derby (American: Blücher). In between these, it is one of the main categories of men’s shoes. If it has a cap toe, it is usually brogued, and is popular in suede.
Monacle – A monocle is a type of corrective lens used to correct or enhance the vision in only one eye. It consists of a circular lens, generally with a wire ring around the circumference that can be attached to a string. The other end of the string is then connected to the wearer’s clothing to avoid losing the monocle. The antiquarian Philipp von Stosch wore a monocle in Rome in the 1720s, in order to closely examine engravings and antique engraved gems, but the monocle did not become an article of gentlemen’s apparel until the nineteenth century. It was introduced by the dandy’s quizzing glass of the 1790s, as a sense of high fashion.
Oxford – Shoe – An Oxford is a style of laced shoe characterized by shoelace eyelet tabs that are stitched underneath the vamp, a construction method that is also sometimes referred to as “closed lacing”. Oxfords first appeared in Scotland and Ireland, where they are occasionally called Balmorals. In France, Oxfords are better known under the name of Richelieu.
Oxfords are traditionally constructed of leather and were historically plain, formal shoes but are now available in a range of styles and materials that complement both casual and formal forms of dress.
Pea Coat – A pea coat (or pea jacket, pilot jacket) is an outer coat, generally of a navy-colored heavy wool, originally worn by sailors of American and European navies. Pea coats are characterized by broad lapels, double-breasted fronts, often large wooden or metal buttons, and vertical or slash pockets. References to the pea jacket appear in American newspapers at least as early as the 1720s, modern renditions still maintain the original design and composition.
Pinstripe – Pin stripes are a pattern of very thin stripes running in parallel found in cloth. The pin-striped suit has become associated with conservative business attire, although many designers now produce fashionable pin-stripe patterns for fashion-conscious consumers. Fine lines for vehicles are also called pin stripes.
Plaid (see tartan)
Pleat – A pleat (older plait) is a type of fold formed by doubling fabric back upon itself and securing it in place. It is commonly used at the front of Men’s trousers (pants).
Pocket watch – A pocket watch (or pocketwatch) is a watch that is made to be carried in a pocket, as opposed to a wristwatch, which is strapped to the wrist. They were the most common type of watch from their development in the 16th century until wristwatches became popular after World War I during which a transitional design, trench watches were used by the military. Pocket watches generally have an attached chain to allow them to be secured to a waistcoat, lapel, or belt loop, and to prevent them from being dropped.
Ready to wear – Ready-to-wear or prêt-à-porter (often abbreviated RTW; off the rack or “off-the-peg” in casual use) is the term for factory-made clothing, sold in finished condition, in standardized sizes, as distinct from made to measure or bespoke clothing tailored to a particular person’s frame. Off-the-peg is sometimes used for items which are not clothing.
Raw denim – raw denim, as opposed to washed denim, is a denim fabric that is not washed after being dyed during its production. Over time, denim will generally fade, which is often considered desirable. During the process of wear, it is typical to see fading on areas that generally receive the most stress, which includes the upper thighs (whiskers) and behind the knees (honey combs).
After being crafted into an article of clothing, most denim is washed to make it softer and to reduce or eliminate shrinkage which could cause an item to not fit after the owner washes it. In addition to being washed, non-dry denim is sometimes artificially “distressed” to achieve a worn look.
Much of the appeal of factory distressed denim is that it looks similar to dry denim that has, with time, faded. With dry denim, however, such fading is affected by the body of the person who wears the jeans and the activities of his or her daily life. This creates what many enthusiasts feel to be a more natural, unique look than pre-distressed denim.
Sartorial – of or relating to a tailor or to tailoring
Satin – Satin is a weave that typically has a glossy surface and a dull back. It is a warp-dominated weaving technique that forms a minimum number of interlacings in a fabric. Some definitions insist that the fabric be made from silk. If a fabric is formed with a satin weave using filament fibres such as silk, nylon, or polyester, the corresponding fabric is termed a satin. If the yarns used are short-staple yarns such as cotton, the fabric formed is considered a sateen.
Savile Row – Savile Row is a shopping street in Mayfair, central London, famous for its traditional men’s bespoke tailoring. The term “bespoke” is understood to have originated in Savile Row when cloth for a suit was said to “be spoken for” by individual customers. The short street is termed the “golden mile of tailoring”, where customers have included Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson and Napoleon III.
Savile Row runs parallel to Regent Street between Conduit Street at the northern end and Vigo Street at the southern. Linking roads include Burlington Place, Clifford Street and Burlington Gardens.
Silk – Silk is a natural protein fibre, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity (sericulture). The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors.
Single breasted jacket – single-breasted refers to a coat, jacket or similar garment having one column of buttons and a narrow overlap of fabric. In contrast, a double-breasted coat has a wider overlap and two parallel rows of buttons. Single-breasted suit jackets and blazers typically have two or three buttons (jackets with one or four buttons exist, but are not common), and a notch lapel. However, from the 1930s onwards, peaked lapels, often on a single button jacket, have been variably in fashion, and this is now a classic, though slightly unusual, look. The width of the lapels is one of the most changeable aspects of the jacket, and narrow peak lapels on single-breasted jackets became popular during the 2000s.
Sports Jacket (Sportcoat) – A sportcoat (sports coat, sports jacket), also called a blazer, is a tailored coat for men. It is of a similar cut to a suit coat, but is designed to be worn on its own and not as part of a suit. Styles therefore may be less restrictive. Compared to suit jackets, sturdier fabrics are used, such as woollen tweed or houndstooth. Originally sportcoats were worn as casual attire for hunting and other outdoor sports. Today the sportcoat is used as casual wear (e.g. for recreational use, or in America even for business) and is the mainstream coat of choice in North America. A shooting jacket is a type of sportcoat with a leather patch on the front shoulder to prevent wear from the butt of a shotgun or rifle, frequently with matching leather patches on the elbow. A hacking jacket is a wool sportcoat for casual horseback riding, often of tweed and traditionally with a single vent. Properly, a blazer is similar to a sportcoat, but has shiny, metal buttons on dark cloth.
Surgeon’s Cuff – working button holes on the jacket sleeve
Tailor – a person whose occupation is the making, mending, or altering of clothes, esp. suits, coats, and other outer garments
Tartan – Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns. (Tartan is also known as plaid in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder or a blanket.) Tartan is made with alternating bands of coloured (pre-dyed) threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill, two over – two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colours cross, which give the appearance of new colours blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of colour repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett.
Ticket pocket – The ticket pocket is a secondary, smaller pocket that resides above the outer right pocket. As the name suggests its function is to hold tube or train tickets. Not seen for a long time, these elegant additions have had a resurgence over the past few years.
Tuxedo (see Black Tie)
Trilby Hat – A trilby hat (or simply trilby) is a type of hat. Although also used as a synonym for a short-brimmed fedora in the United Kingdom, the trilby is distinguished by a very narrow brim that is sharply turned up in the back and a short crown, which is pinched in the front and indented into a teardrop shape in the center. The hat’s name derives from the stage adaptation of George du Maurier’s 1894 novel Trilby; a hat of this style was worn in the first London production of the play, and promptly came to be called “a Trilby hat”.
Velvet – Velvet is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it a distinct feel. The word ‘velvety’ is used as an adjective to mean “smooth like velvet”.
Vest (see Waistcoat)
Waist coat (Vest) – A waistcoat sometimes called a vest in Canada and the US, is a sleeveless upper-body garment worn over a dress shirt and necktie (if applicable) and below a coat as a part of most men’s formal wear, and as the third piece of the three-piece male business suit. Once a virtually mandatory article of men’s clothing, it became uncommon in contemporary dress in the English-speaking world, although it is returning to fashion as part of businesswear and formalwear (often without a jacket), especially among students and young professionals.
Wingtip (see Brogues)
Worsted wool – Worsted is the name of a yarn, the cloth made from this yarn, and a yarn weight category. The name derives from the village of Worstead in the English county of Norfolk. This village became, along with North Walsham and Aylsham, a centre for the manufacture of yarn and cloth after weavers from Flanders arrived in Norfolk in the 12th century.
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