ALBERT SLIPPER: A laceless, pull-on, tab-front show originated by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s Prince Consort
ASCOT: A square-ended tie with each end of equal width, worn primarily for formal day weak. Deriving its name from Ascot Heath, the English racetrack where the tie was first worn, the ascot consists of two knots The first is a single know, while the second is a Gordian knot with one end crossing over the other and held in place with a stickpin. Also, a throw-over neck scarf for the sportswear
BACKLESS WAISTCOAT:A modern kind of formal vest introduced in London in 1923 made without a back and held in place by means of bands, fastened with a buckle or button, across the back at the waistline. An innovation of the DRESS SOFT era popularized by the Prince of Wales allowing for more comfort and coolness for male formal wear. Hawes and Curtis, the Prince of Wales’s shirtmaker, claims to have invented the garment.
BARREL CUFF: A single cuff attached to a shirtsleeve and fastened with a button and a buttonhole.
BARRYMORE COLLAR: A low-set, attached dress-shirt collar with long points, first worn by John Barrymore in the late 1920s and then adopted by Hollywood stars and others in California; it later became known as the California collar.
BASTED FITTING: The first fitting in the creation of a true custom-tailored jacket. A shell or “raw try-on” os prepared directly from a paper pattern created by the tailor. This skeleton coat has its canvases tacked in, seams basted, front edged turned in, collar basted on, and, sometimes, on sleeve tacked on, after which it is usually ripped apart to be made into the next, more advance and permanent fitting.
BELLOWS POCKET: Also termed “safari pocket.” A patch-style pocket with three side pieces that permit the pocket to expand. These side pieces give the appearance of old English fire-lighting bellows.
BENGAL STRIPE - Alternate stripes of equal width, usually white and a colour. They were originally shipped from Bengal, India and are mostly found in shirting fabrics. This stripe is typically a summer shirting fabric.
BESOM: A Tailoring term for an inset pocket made with narrow welted edge above the pocket opening. It is called a double besom pocket if both top and bottom edges have welts, and called flapped besom when a flap is added.
BIRD’S EYE: All-over woven suiting or neckwear fabric made from a small geometric pattern with a dot, suggesting a bird’s eye. This fancy-solid suit is a favorite of bespoke tailors and their more stylish patrons.
BLACK WATCH: The Black Watch, or Black Guard, was originally a group of renegade Scots recruited be the king of England to check troublesome Highland clans. They wore a particular kind of TARTAN or PLAID. It is the uniform tartan of the British Army’s 42nd Highland Regiment – the Campbell tartan minus the yellow-and-white overchecks. Popular in men’s wear because it combines two classic blazer colors, navy and green thereby serving as another blazer possibility.
BLANKET PLAID: a term for any large frame woollen plaid.
BUGGY: The strip of an unlined jacket extending across the back neck that gives a finish to that part of the coat. (In custom tailoring, when the lining comes four to five inches below the armhole, it is referred to as “half-lined.”)
BUTTONHOLE GUARD: The loose strand of twisted thread sewn on the underside of the jacket’s left lapel buttonhole to secure the boutonnière’s stem
CHALK STRIPE: A stripe of ropelike effect similar to the mark made with a tailor’s chalk; usually found in flannel cloths with a light- or white-color spaced-spaced strip setting.
CHAMBRAY: A fine, plain-woven fabric with a soft finish utilizing a white cotton warp and coloured filling and found mostly in shirting. This cloth originated in France.
CLUB BOW: BATWING BOW. The American name given to a batwing-shape bow tie. White when worn with tailcoat; black or midnight blue with dinner jacket
CRAVAT: A term for a necktie derived from the French cravat. In the seventeenth century, Croatian mercenary soldiers employed by the French government wore linen scarves around their necks. Frenchwomen took up this kind of neckwear, which men alter adopted. The fashion spread to England where the scarf was called a “cravate”. It was the origin of the modern necktie.
COSSACK COLLAR: A style of collar featuring a high neck band with a side closure, worn by Russian Cossack troops.
DANDYISM:Popularly thought to mean “display” or “exhibitionism”, but, in fact, it only means perfectionism. In the time of Beau Brummel, dandyism was a stern reaction against the beaux and macaronis of the eighteenth century who had been foppish beyond all bounds. Brummel produced a dressing style of such severity that it renunciated excess replacing it with neatness, simplicity and at all times, correctness.
DRESS SOFT: Edward VIII rescued men’s style from its Victorian straight-jacket mentality by promoting what he termed “dress soft‘ - soft-collar shirts with lounge suits; pleated-front, double-collar formal shirts instead of starched front ones with stiff wing collars; dinner jackets over tailcoats; backless waistcoats to replace full-backed ones, etc.
EYELET COLLAR: A dressy collar style where small holes are situated near the edge, midway up the collar, to accommodate a gold or silver collar bar that unscrews at one end. These ends are usually in the form of tiny squares or balls, which can be garnished with a small stone, such as a cabochon ruby or sapphire.
FEDORA: A men’s soft felt hat with a center crease and a rolled brim. It takes its name from the drama Fédora
LOUNGE SUIT: The early name given to a SACK SUIT with single-or double-breasted jacket in soft fabric for business wear.
MADRAS STRIPE - Usually a plain weave cotton for strongly coloured stipes, checks and plaids used in shirting fabrics. Originated from Madras in India.
MESS JACKET: A semiformal, waist-length dress-white military jacket adapted for civilian wear that was the progenitor of the white summer dinner jacket.
OVERPLAID: A pattern in which a block figure plaid is superimposed upon a smaller plaid or other type of design.
PADDOCK MODEL: The term applied to a two-button jacket with the lower button placed above the waistline and the upper button set high, worn by the horsey set in the 1930s.
PANTS is short for “pantaloons,” which is derived from “Pantalone,” a character in the Comedie dell’arte (16th century) whose leg covering looked somewhat like present-day TROUSERS. Originally a tight-fitting garment extending from waist over feet.
PATCH POCKET: A pocket made by stitching a piece of material on the outside of a garment with or without a flap. This pocket design conveys a sporty, casual mien.
PEAK LAPEL: A lapel cut on an upward slant, coming to a point and leaving only a narrow space between the collar and lapel. Usually found on double-breasted coats, but sometimes in single-breasted coats. This style of tailcoat lapel gives suit or sport jackets a more formal, dressy look.
PLACKET - A seperate strip of fabric usually sewn onto the shirt front or sleeve to secure button holes and provide structure and finish.
RESILIENT CONSTRUCTION: A method of manufacturing a necktie, invented in the early 1920s by Jessie Langsdorf, in which the bias-cut shell and the bias-cut interlining are held together by a resilient slip stitch so that the finished tie stretches and recovers when knotted. All fine ties are cut on the bias, helping them to knot properly, to not twist when hung from the neck, and to retain their resiliency after untying.
RULE OF THUMB is derived from the ancient practice of using the thumb as a measuring device. In more modern times, it has come to be known as a guiding principle with wide application, but not intended to be taken as gospel.
SACK SUIT is a softly tailored coat w/ straight-hanging lines, lightly-padded natural shoulders, and undarted front, first popularized by the Ivy Leaguers in the early 1920s
SAVILE ROW: the famous fashion establishment built by the Earl of Burlington and named after his wife, Dorothy Savile. Today a street in the West End of London on which many custom tailors are located. Not until BEAU Brummell created a vogue for BESPOKE wool tailoring in the latter part of the eighteenth century did Savile Row became a mecca for the well-tailored, maintaining such a reputation to this day.
SHAWL LAPEL: A lapel cut in one piece, or with seam in center back, that follows the front opening of the single- or double-breasted jacket and rolls back without notches or peaks for men’s dinner jacket. The only alternative to the peaked lapel design for the classic dinner jacket.
SHEPHERD’S CHECK / SHEPHERD’S PLAID: The foundation upon which the entire series of scottish Border distinct checks rests. The origin of the pattern dates back to the seventeenth century, when it was used by the shepherd for their plaids in the lowlands,sensation and was adopted for men’s TROUSER. An evenly proportioned check pattern on a twill weave where the warping and wefting is usually four of black and four of white, or contrasting colors in wool, for suiting and trousers
SHORT BLACK-BALANCE: In a tailored jacket, a lack of back-length over the shoulder blades to the back of the neck and shoulders, causing a collar to drag a down from back of the neck and/or a coat to hang outward and away from the seat.
SHORT FRONT-BALANCE: In a tailored jacket, a lack of front length in the balance of the garment, causing the garment to pull forward from the figure and to appear shorter in front. A defect common to erect figures causing a back center vent to open.
SLEEVE PITCH: The position of the hang of a tailored jacket’s sleeve. To “forward sleeve pitch” is to make the sleeve hang more forward, to run more in line with the natural hang of the wearer’s arm. A normal sleeve pitch is where the arm hangs so that its front bisects the middle of the jacket’s hip pocket.
SPENCER: Similar to a MESS JACKET, a tailcoat without its tail. In the eighteenth century, Lord Spencer stood with his back to the fire and caught his tail alight. The burned parts were cut away and Spencer liked the resulting style. Vulgarly known back then as the "burn-freezer”
SPREAD COLLAR: A collar whose points are more spread than a STRAIGHT-POINT COLLAR but less open than a CUTAWAY COLLAR.
TATTERSALL: A checked pattern formed by vertical and horizontal lines usually in two colors on a light background. In 1766 Richard Tattersall founded a horse market in London, Tattersall’s, which eventually became a rendezvous for gamblers. The horse blankets had a characteristic plaid of thin lines bisecting at right angles, which became known as “tattersall.” It was first used by sportsmen for riding waistcoats; today the pattern is found in almost every type of wearing apparel.
TICKET POCKET: British tailoring term for a small pocket, usually flapped, placed above the regular pocket on the right side of a man’s suit coat or overcoat. Introduced in the late 1850s for a railroad ticket and used at intervals ever since. Also known as a “cash pocket.”
TIE ATTACK: A fastening device consisting of two parts: an outer decorative head backed by a pin that pierces through the necktie and top layer of shirt placket connecting to pinch-type fastener underneath.
ULSTER: Double-breasted long OVERCOAT in heavy TWEED or MELTON with a big convertible collar, wide lapels, and a half-or all-around belt. It was introduced by a belfast firm in the 1860s. By the turn of the century. English fashion deemed that no man could be well dressed without at least one Ulster in his wardrobe.
UNCONSTRUCTED: A term used by the menswear industry to describe a soft, unpadded, not fully lined jacket.
VEST: first worn by England’s King Charles II ( recorded in pepys’s Diary, October 8, 1666) as one of the new fashions he introduced as a breakaway snub to the fashion lead of France, with whom England was at war.
VEST POCKET: A welt pocket placed on the side chest of a waistcoat or a vest, originally used to carry a pocket watch. In the age of Louis XV, men carried two pocket watches, therefor a pocket was made on either side of garment.
WARP - Yarn that runs lengthwise in a loom and crossed by the Weft. The warp yarn generally runs vertically in a cloth or garment.
WEFT - A filling thread or yarn that runs crosswise in a loom or in a circle.
WINDSOR COLLAR: An attached or separate collar with points that are more spread than a semi-spread collar but less open than a full cutaway. Supposedly first worn by the Duke of Windsor.