Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fashion Terminologies

Oftentimes, when we describe one article of clothing, many different words come up. When you Google it, when you read blogs, read articles on  magazines, or watch YouTube videos, you will be surprised at how people describe the same things differently. I am not really a believer of synonyms simply because they just all mean the same thing - one just sounds fancier and more erudite than the others; which is why I don't understand why some clothes need to have so many names. I mean, they all describe the same thing so why make everything confusing? 

It is mostly because even if "English" is said to be the universal language, it is spoken differently in different parts of the world. Though syntax wise they are pretty much the same, terminologies used vary greatly. For example, eggplant and aubergine. They mean the same thing but both adapt different names in different English speaking nations. Because I often get confused about some terminologies in fashion, I decided to once and for all, create a list that will help me feel less confused. If you are as confused as I am, I hope you will find this article obliging.

Jumper, Overalls, Dungaree, Pinafore
Because these are very trendy this season, I will open the body of this article with this.
  • Overalls - according to Wikipedia, it is a bib-brace protective clothing used when working. If you use such item for protection due to the nature of your work like gardening and carpentry perhaps, then it is called an overall. But this is a US term, I believe. Some forums I found says overalls means something different in their part of the world and the same item described is called something else. However, even if it is said to be a protective gear, the one we find people wear on the streets can still be called overalls. I mean, how else should we call it if it looks the same thing?
  • Dungarees - this actually means two things: one, it is the UK term for overalls and two, according to forums, it is what school kids back the in the 40's and 50's in New York called jeans. It is hardly used as the latter anymore as dungarees are now referred to in the UK context.
  • Pinafore - this is just the dress/skirt version of overalls/dungarees with an open back.
  • Jumper - well, I guess my mom and I were the only ones who called "overalls" as jumper. When I was in elementary my mom really like dressing me in my Osh Kosh B'Gosh "jumper." We used to call them jumper because I had to literally "jump" in it for the top part to slide through my lower limbs and up. 20 years later, I found that jumper is actually a "pinafore" with a closed back.
Plaid, Tartan, Checkered, Gingham
We all know they are prints but we call them various names. How do they differ from each other?
  • Plaid - this can refer to two things: one, a clothing item made of tartan pattern wrapped around the waist and cast over the shoulders and then locked at the front (in Gaelic terms, this is just a blanket); and, two, a pattern that consists of horizontal and vertical lines that cross each other that is represented in two or more colors. 
  • Tartan - this is a pattern very similar to plaid as both consists of vertical and horizontal lines that cross each other and is also represented by multiple colors. The only difference I see between the two is the place of origin. Tartan is almost exclusive to Scotland as this is the print used in various uniforms and traditional clothing. Plaid was the term used in North America.
  • Checkered - if you play chess, then you know what checkered looks like. If not, it is just a series of alternating boxes of equal sizes and is represented by 2 different colors.
  • Gingham - this looks very much like checkered only that gingham has a white base. Therefore, it only has one color: the color of the colored box, set against the white background.

Jumper, Sweater, Pullover
  • Jumper - aside from referring to the "jumper dress" mentioned above, jumper is the UK term for something you wear over your shirt that will provide warmth. It can be made of wool, knit, or any other warm material.
  • Sweater - this is the US term for the "jumper."
  • Pullover - this is one that really confused me because I really thought it is the same thing as the jumper and sweater. But apparently, a pullover is something that you wear where you literally have to pull your head over (which is why it was called pullover). It need not provide any warmth and can be made of various materials. It doesn't have any buttons or zippers so the only way to wear them is to pull them over your head. And a pullover can be worn on its own - you don't have to wear a shirt or any other garment underneath unlike jumpers and sweaters.
But according to forums, all three of them mean the same thing in the UK. Can anyone verify this?

Romper, Jumpsuit, Playsuit
  • Romper - it is a one-piece suit that has short sleeves and short pants. It can have a tube top, a sleeveless top or a short sleeves top. And the bottoms are always shorts. According to forums, rompers are baby clothes - the onesies babies wear
  • Jumpsuits - the only difference this has with rompers is the length of the bottoms. Jumpsuits have longer bottoms that go beyond the knee - like pants.
  • Playsuit - these are suits in casual form. Some forums described this as being the same as rompers only that rompers are more widely used term in the US. Some of the forums also described playsuits as the onesies worn by toddlers.
Top: SM Department Store | Peplum Skirt: Jellybean | Bag: Mango 
Nude Pumps: Payless | Watch: Ann Klein | Necklace: Forever 21

These are just a few and I know that there are a lot more that can be confusing. I think this is mostly attributed to linguistics more than fashion per se and as language evolves, so will the various terms we use. If you feel some of the terms I described are incorrect, please do tell me so I can edit this post. The answers I have written are based mostly on forums, blog posts, and Wikipedia (of course, even if I hate to admit it). Additionally, if you are bothered with other terms do let me know, maybe we can do a part II of this? :)

Have a lovely week ahead! :)


  1. Thanks for sharing these what so called styles! Haha. I agree with you. So many names with just one meaning of how it looked like.

    XX, IamJenniya
    New Post! >> NOTD: Green Fields...

  2. loving your skirt!

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  3. Lovely look! The peplum skirt is beautiful!

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  4. I love, love how you always incorporate a good read with your outfit posts. I am not really good with fashion terminologies, too. So thank you for these new information!

    I love your outfit btw. The bag looks so pretty!

    1. Your welcome and thank you! I hope this articled helped you in some way.

  5. I am always confused by all those terms as well, so thanks for sharing, I found your post very useful! Lovely outfit, I like the colors, the bag and the skirt!:) Kisses! xo

    1. Thank you. I am glad the article was helpful.

  6. Gorgeous style, love your outfit <3
    Latest post:

  7. Wow!!! Great information, you look amazing love your combo.

  8. Haha. I grew up in a gazillion different countries. Just imagine how confused I was when people started mentioning jumpers as sweaters when I once knew them to be overalls. :p But I think synonyms keep thing interesting overall :)

    1. Really? Where did you grow up, then? I was very much confused with that, too. I call overalls jumper and then I started watching YouTube videos and vloggers from the UK referred to sweaters as jumpers. I was like, what the hell??? And I agree, synonyms do keep things interesting but sometimes I hate them because they make me feel like an idiot.

  9. I don't know why they don't just use the UK version of everything! But maybe I think that because I am English ;)

    I kind of like it though, it makes things a bit quirky and I like how you can tell where somebody is from by the way they use English when reading their blog.

    Corinne x

    1. It is quite interesting. But for some people, especially non-native English speakers (or maybe just me) it is confusing. Which term should I adapt/use?

  10. Hi!!
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  11. oh so that's what gingham means. i came across a blog and encountered this word for the first time. for a sec i thought it was gangnam as in gangnam style haha ^^ btw i like the skirt you are wearing here jenn :) esp its color

    1. Hahaha! They do sound the same. Thank you, Shayne!

  12. very informative post!
    And very nice look, so fresh and feminine!

  13. Informative post for a fashion newbie like me :) love your pumps!

  14. Great post! I am a big pattern lover so I am glad that you have summed up what all the patterns are about! I really love outfit the floral top with that mint skirt is a great combination!


    1. Thank you. I like these patterns, too.

  15. Perfect outfit ! Your skirt is beautiful :)

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  17. I m in love with your sweet skirt ^^

    New post - Kisses

  18. This was a good idea for a post :) Things get so mixed up between the UK and US. Love that skirt on you btw

    xo Ashley

    1. Thank you. Yes, they often get mixed up which makes everything confusing.

  19. what a sweet outfit - so pretty! <3 <3

  20. This is such a helpful post. Kind of like a fashion blogging 101 of some sort na post. Oh and love the outfit esp the nude pumps. I think I should own a pair of nude pumps na ganyan. Very classy and timeless :)


    1. Go buy yourself a pair na! Sale sa SM North and from Payless lang ito. haha! Glad you found this post helpful.

  21. I'm a boy who likes fashion but totally blind about their vocabulary :p. So thx for this lovely post, I found it really really helpful :)

    1. Your welcome. I am glad this article was able to help you.

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  23. Have a nice week ^^

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