Glossary of Terms for Men's Dresswear

Barchetta
Italian for small boat, it’s a type of pocket design that originated in Italy. The pocket curves up at an angle (like the bow of a boat) opposed to being cut straight across. 

Besom Pockets
Flapless pockets set into the jacket or trouser.

Birdseye

a woven, allover pattern on fabrics, characterized chiefly by small diamond shapes resembling the eyes of a bird. a fabric having this pattern, especially a cotton used for diapers or a linen used for toweling.

Break

Refers to how much of the bottom of the trousers fold where they meet the shoes. A full break is a lot of folding, no break is no folding at all.

Cashmere
Very fine goat hair that originated from the region surrounding Kashmir.

Donegal
Originating in Donegal county, Ireland, this type of tweed is characterized by bright flecks of color (sometimes called "slubs") that are randomly woven throughout a cloth.

Double Twist
When two threads of yarn are twisted together, effectively doubling its density. Typically referred to as "2-ply" or "double twist."

Flap Pockets
Besom pockets covered by a flap.

Four-in-hand Knot
The most common tie knot, it can be worn with any collar style. It gives a clean and simple look, with its slight asymmetry handsomely offsetting the balanced lines of the shirt and suit.

Full Break
Covers almost the whole top of the shoe and leaves a deep horizontal crease at the front of the pant leg.

Full Canvas
The gold standard of jacket construction in which an interlining of canvas, made up of wool and horsehair, is sewn in between the inner suit lining and outer fabric and extends the full length of the jacket. A full canvas adds structure and padding through the chest, creating a clean drape that subtly takes the shape of the chest of the wearer over time.

Full Windsor Knot
A large, symmetrical knot created by wrapping both sides of the necktie.

Fused
A method for constructing a suit jacket using glues and adhesives. A non-woven paper or plastic product saturated with glue bonds the cloth you see to the interlining you don’t see. It gives the cloth more rigidity and form, but does not mold to the body due to its stiffness. Fusing is the most common method used today for lower-end ready-to-wear and “custom” suits.

Glenplaid
A checked pattern. Visually it appears as a combination of a prince-of-wales and windowpane.

Grenadine
A woven pattern for ties, made up of a repeating, open-weave construction.

Half Canvas
A form of jacket construction in which the canvas extends over the chest to around the top of the rib cage. This differs than Full Canvas construction in that the canvas extends the full length of the jacket. 

Half-Windsor Knot
Not as large as the full-windsor and a touch more formal than the four-in-hand, its goes well with any occasion.

Hand Basted
A method for attaching cloth to the interlining using temporary stitches that will be removed after the parts of the garment are sewn together. This method uses canvas and other materials that can be molded to the shape of a person’s body. Basting is the traditional method and is more time consuming.

Herringbone
A pattern consisting of parallel lines that slant in opposite directions forming V shapes.

Houndstooth
A repeating duotone pattern characterized by small (sometimes large for jackets), abstract four-pointed shapes.

Hopsack

A rough-surfaced, loosely-woven clothing fabric. Commonly used in summer-weight suits, especially unlined ones.

Lining
The inside of the jacket. Usually linings coordinate subtly with the color of the jacket, or sometimes are bold colors and patterns. The best linings are made from cupro, oft times seen under the brand name Bemberg.

Medium Break
The most popular option, this break stops at the highest point of the instep of the shoe.

Mohair
A silk like hair that comes from the Angora Goat and is notable for its high luster and sheen. A wiry fiber that is virtually wrinkle resistant and is often blended with other fibers, such as wool and silk, to soften its springiness.

Notched Lapels
Lapels with a triangle "notch" cut out of the upper edge near the collar bone. They are the most conservative choice and are less formal than a peaked or shawl lapel.

One Button Jacket
Traditionally was reserved for tuxedos, in recent years the one button jacket has become more popular in less formal wear. It looks great in peaked lapel suits and with a modern silhouette. 

Peaked Lapel
Lapels with little "peaks" that point upward. A slightly less conservative choice that is considered more formal than a notched lapel. Peaked lapels are usually found on double breasted jackets, though in recent years it has become common to find them on single breasted jackets. A peaked lapel is also a common choice for a tuxedo lapel.

Pic Stitching
Visible stitches around the lapels and edge of the jacket. Pic stitching conveys craftsmanship and touch of old-fashioned tailoring. 

Pocket Square
A small piece of fabric worn in the jacket pocket. Oft times nothing more than a handkerchief folded neatly into straight lines, a pocket square can also be much more colorful and decorative. It’s a great finishing touch that needn’t be overdone to lend distinction, modernity, and luxury to your look. The pocket square should not match your tie.  

Prince of Wales
A twill weave of broken checks in a large pattern form. Very similar to glen plaid but without the intersecting windowpane pattern. 

Rise
Refers to the length of the crotch to the waistband. The rise on a pair of suit trousers should fit as high and close as possible, as it makes moving easier and decreases the stress on the fabric.

Sharkskin
A smooth worsted fabric, used for suits, with a soft texture and a two-toned woven appearance.

Shawl Lapel
A continuous lapel without a notch or a peak breaking the outer line. It is a simple, elegant choice and is rarely seen on anything other than a tuxedo.

Short Break
Covers just the top quarter inch of the shoe. Currently a fashion-forward choice, it can give the appearance of the pants being a bit too short.

Show buttons
Cuff buttons that don’t have any functionality, they are just for show. See "Working Buttons" below.

Slanted Pockets
Pockets set diagonally instead of horizontally. Also known as "hacking" pockets in England.

Spalla Camicia
Meaning "shirt shoulder" in Italian, this type of Italian shoulder construction is crafted without padding as to create a soft and natural transition from shoulder to arm.

Three Button Jacket
A classic look that has fallen out of favor for the past decade or so, the lapel is pressed so that all 3 buttons on the front are visible.

Three-Rolls-Two 
Also called a three-two or a false three. A hybrid of a two-button and a three-button jacket. A three-rolls-two has three buttons, but the lapel is shaped to roll as above the second button but below the third button, which hides the top (third) button under the roll. A classic choice preferred by many suit aficionados for both sport coats and suits, the third button is not used.

Ticket Pocket
A narrow, single pocket set above a flap pocket on the right side of the jacket. Uncommon on ready-to-wear suits, the ticket pocket has been around for many decades and continues to be a good choice both for slanted or straight pockets.

    Tweed
    A rough woolen fabric made usually in twill weaves, commonly associated with Ireland and Scotland.

    Twill
    A pattern that is made in a way as to produce a sequence of diagonal lines. The diagonal direction, unlike the way clothing is stressed when worn, makes twill very strong and durable.

    Two-Button Jacket
    The most common jacket, it’s timeless and flattering on most body types because its V points the eye to the slimmest point of a man’s waist (the area near the top button).

    Vents
    A vent allows for both a tailored fit and easy movement. A center vent is traditional; two side vents are more modern and give the jacket a more fitted silhouette. 

    Vicuña
    A very expensive and exotic wool material harvested from a rare llama-like animal only found in a small area of the Andes mountains in Peru, South America. Due to the protected status of the animal and the limited number of them, vicuña is extremely rare. As a result, vicuña is the most expensive cloth on earth. The lustrous wool is prized for its ability to trap air inside itself which makes the cloth extremely warm. 

    Warp
    The sequence of threading yarn over and under vertically on a loom. 

    Weft
    The sequence of threading yarn horizontally through the warp while on the loom.

    Windowpane
    A large square or rectangular pattern that resembles the pattern of panes on a window.

    Working Buttons
    Also called “Surgeon’s Cuffs”, working buttons are functional and can be unbuttoned to allow the sleeves to be rolled up. Working buttons on a suit are indicative of a custom-made suit.


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