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Dress Glossary

Woman in wedding dress
Monday, February 14, 2011

Dress Glossary

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A-line: skirt shape that starts fitted at the hip and widens down to the hemline in somewhat of a triangle or bell shape. There can also be a narrow A-line, which means the shape of the skirt is not as full as the traditional A-line.

American or tradition bustle: the train of the gown is lifted up and attached to the outside of the back skirt of the gown by hooks or buttons. Also called an “over bustle.”

Applique: embellishment piece that is sewn onto the gown fabric – may be lace, embroidery, beading on netting, etc.

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Basque waist: gown waistline that comes to a point in the front of the skirt.

Bustle: gathering of the gown train to adjust to floor-length so the bride can walk, dance, etc.

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Charmeuse: slinky, satiny fabric (think “old Hollywood”).

Column: skirt shape that is straight as opposed to an A-line.

Chiffon: silk or synthetic fabric that is translucent, light-weight and flowing. It drapes very softly.

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Detachable Train: gown train that is removable from the gown thereby eliminating the need for a bustle.

Drop Waist: the waist of the gown is dropped from 2 to 5 inches below the natural waist.

Dupioni: a woven silk fabric with a nubby surface similar to shantung but often woven from two different colors creating a shimmer.

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Empire Waist: the skirt of the gown actually starts right under the bust line.

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Fit and Flare: shirt shape that is closely fitted to body all the way to the hip and then flares out. This skirt shape is among the most popular with Brides because they can show their shape and still dance all night with being constricted.

French Bustle: the train of the gown is gathered under or inverted. The bustle is held in place by hooks, ties or buttons underneath the skirt of the gown.

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Georgette: silk or synthetic fabric that is light-weight and flowing but is also slightly crinkly. It has more body than chiffon and drapes better.

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Halter Neckline: the neckline of the gown is made with straps which fasten behind the neck. The neckline can be shaped into a deep vee, a scoop or even a a square.

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Illusion: a synthetic fabric that is a very sheer netting generally used for veils. It has more body than a silk tulle.

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Lace: ornamental fabric made of thread that is woven into a web-like pattern.

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Mermaid: gown shape that is closely fitted to the body all the way down to below the knee where it slightly flares (like the fin or tail of a mermaid) to the hemline.

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Natural Waist: a gown that has a definite waist line. Often the waist is accented with a ribbon or belt.

Neckline: reference to the shape or cut of the top of the gown. More brides choose a strapless neckline with either a straight or sweetheart cut, which resembles the shape of a heart. Necklines may also be shaped as vees, scoops, or modification of any of the above.

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Organza: Silk or synthetic fabric that is semi-sheer or translucent and requires an underlining fabric.

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Pickups: skirt with the fabric tucked at irregular intervals throughout the skirt. There may be a flower or jewel inserted into the point of each tuck.

Princess Seam Gown: gown without a vertical waist seam but with horizontal seams that start at each armpit and continue down the front of the gown providing a gentle fit to the body.

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Ruching: gathering of fabric into softly draped pleats. Also referred to as “pick ups”.

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Satin: silk or synthetic fabric that is plain and woven with a sheen or luster on one side and a flat finish on the other side.

Scoop: gown with straps or sleeves and a neckline which is u-shaped.

Shantung: a synthetic or silk woven fabric with a nubby surface due to the use of woven slubbed silk yarns.

Sheath: gown fitted to the body and with a straight skirt.

Silk: fabric made from natural fibers produced by silkworms. Brides may choose silk satin or polyester satin, silk charmeuse or polyester charmeuse, silk organza or silk organza to name a few.

Square Neck: gown with the straps or sleeves set into the gown at a ninety degree angle thereby creating a three-sided square-shaped neckline.

Sweetheart: gown with a neckline that dips in the center creating a shape similar to the top of a heart.

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Taffeta: a silk or synthetic fabric which is a plain weave and is the same on either side of the fabric. It is crisp, has a slight sheen and rustles.

Trumpet: gown shape that is closely fitted to the body down to the knee and then flares to the hem.

Tulle: sheer netting used for veils and overskirts. Tulle made be made of illusion, silk, or English netting.

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V-neck: gown with straps or sleeves and a neckline which plunges in the front in the shape of a “V”.

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Wreath: natural or synthetic circle of flowers or leaves used as a headpiece.

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Yoke: part of the gown around the neck, shoulders and chest to which a skirt is attached. In bridal it is more commonly referred to as the bodice of the gown.

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Provided by Stardust Celebrations owners Marsha Ballard and Jenifer Cline
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