Glossary of Terms Used in Tirocchi Databases

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accessory
something, such as a belt, scarf, handbag, etc., that complements an article of clothing.

alteration (transaction)
modifying a garment to make it shorter or longer, tighter or looser.

afternoon dress, afternoon gown
a dress worn for daytime social functions; dressier than street dress.

appliqué
a fabric ornament made from pieces of material stitched in overlapping patterns.

bicep
in body measurements, the bicep is the circumference of the upper arm. The biceps is the large muscle of the upper arm.

bill for (transaction)
the record of an invoice sent to a client; often a summary of several accumulated charges.

blocking (transaction)
light steaming and reshaping a knitted or felt garment or hat.

boa
a soft, fluffy neckpiece made of feathers or tulle.

bodice
a blouse or the part of a dress that covers the upper body.

bolero
a short open-front jacket, imitating the style worn by Spanish bullfighters.

cape
a sleeveless outer garment that hangs from the shoulders.

coat dress
a dress made of heavier fabric, with the cut and tailoring of a coat.

cocktail dress
a dress worn for late afternoon and evening social functions; dressier than afternoon dress, but not as formal as a full-length evening gown.

collar
the part of a garment that encircles the neck. The collar may be separate from or attached to the garment.

coming-out dress
a dress worn by a debutante at a party celebrating her formal entrance into adult society. The coming-out (or debutante) dress was a formal evening gown in a youthful style, often in white or pastel tones.

costume suit
matching dress and jacket or dress and coat.

couturier/couturière
a designer or maker of fashionable clothing.

cuff
the part of a garment that encircles the wrist, the finish at the end of a sleeve or the opening of a glove. Shirt or dress cuffs may be separate from or attached to the garment.

dance dress, dancing dress
an evening dress in a youthful, not too formal style.

day dress
street dress; simple dress suitable for town wear.

debutante
a young woman (usually between 16 and 18 years old) who is beginning to attend social events as an adult.

décolleté
having a low neckline.

dinner dress, dinner gown
a more formal style of dress than afternoon wear, but less elaborate than formal evening wear. A dinner dress is usually full length with covered shoulders and arms.

dinner suit
a dinner dress with a sleeved jacket.

dress
a one-piece garment that covers the torso and legs; the terms dress, frock, and gown were used for a variety of lengths and styles.

dressing gown
a robe worn for lounging or before dressing.

dyeing (transaction)
changing the color of a garment. Garments were re-dyed to change or refresh the color, hide stains, or to provide mourning clothes on short notice.

ensemble
a complete outfit, such as coat & dress, dress & jacket, or suit & blouse. An ensemble may also include matching accessories, such as hat, gloves, handbag, etc.

evening dress
a very formal style of dress. An evening dress is full length, sleeveless, and usually décolleté.

fancy dress
an outfit worn to a costume or masquerade party, often representing a character from history or literature.

fixing over (transaction)
modifying a garment to change the style. This might involve taking the garment completely apart and re-using the pieces.

frock
a dress.

furnishing (transaction)
supplying a ready-made item of apparel or other non-custom-made article, such as jewelry or an accessory, to a client.

going-away (or go-away) dress or suit
a dressy day dress or suit for travel, especially for a wedding trip or honeymoon.

gown
a dress.

guimpe
a blouse that is worn under a jumper.

house dress
a simple dress worn at home for doing household tasks, usually made of washable cotton.

jabot
a ruffled shirt front.

jumper
a loose sleeveless dress worn over a blouse or sweater.

lingerie
women's underwear and nightwear.

lingerie gown
a dress made of light, soft, lingerie-style fabrics and trims.

lining
cloth cut and sewn to form the inside finish of a garment; also a fitted undergarment upon which outer fabric is placed.

making; making up (transaction)
custom-making a garment from fabric or a 'robe.'

making over (transaction)
modifying a garment to change the style.

model
a garment purchased from a couturier for resale or to be copied and modified for clients.

morning dress
a house dress.

morning gown
a dressing gown.

muff
an outerwear accessory for keeping the hands warm. A muff is a cylinder of fur or wool into which both hands can be inserted.

muscle
in body measurements, the muscle is the circumference of the upper arm (also called 'bicep').

negligee
a soft, flowing dressing gown or robe for at-home wear.

notions
items, such as thread, needles, buttons, zippers, that are useful or necessary in sewing.

ornament
a belt buckle, dress clasp, or decorative beads, feathers, or other material used to embellish a garment.

outerwear
clothing, such as a coat or jacket, that is worn over other clothing for protection against the weather.

parasol
a decorative umbrella that serves as a sun-shade, rather than as protection against rain.

petticoat
an underskirt reaching from the waist to just above the hem of the outer garment.

ready-made (transaction)
a garment that is sold ready-to-wear (rather than custom-made), with only minor alterations to adjust the fit.

refreshing (transaction)
cleaning, steaming, pressing, or applying a new finish to a garment to make it appear like new.

repairing (transaction)
fixing or mending tears, holes, rips, etc.

robe
a length of fabric pre-embroidered or beaded with the pattern shapes of the finished garment. The robe would be cut and sewn by the dressmaker to fit the client. Robes were used in the 1920s as a transition between custom dressmaking and ready-to-wear.

robe de style
a dress with fitted bodice and full skirt, made famous in the early twentieth century by the couturière Jeanne Lanvin.

ruching
ruffled or pleated fabric used for trimming the neckline or sleeves of a garment.

sash
a wide band of fabric worn around the waist or across the chest from shoulder to waist.

separates
clothing, such as skirts or blouses, that may be worn in combination with other garments.

shirtwaist
see waist.

slip
an undergarment worn with unlined dresses or suits.

sport coat
a simple tailored coat.

sport suit
a tailored suit, suitable for attending (rather than participating in) a sports activity.

sportswear
clothing suitable for participation in a sports activity (active sportswear), or clothing suitable for watching an activity (spectator sportswear).

street dress
see day dress.

Sunday night dress
a sleeved dress, often in bright colors, more formal than afternoon dress but less formal than dinner dress.

sweater suit
a knitted or crocheted skirt with matching sweater or jacket, usually sport or semi-sport wear.

tea dance dress, tea (or thé) dansant gown
a semiformal late afternoon dress worn at tea dances.

tea gown
a long, loose-fitting, elaborate gown worn at home for afternoon tea. In the 1920s and 1930s, the name was also used for a semiformal frilly dress worn to a garden party or afternoon tea.

train
an extension of a gown that trails behind the wearer. The train may be separate from the dress or attached to it.

trim
fabric, such as ribbon, lace, or braid, that is used as a finish or decorative edging.

tunic
an upper-body garment or overblouse reaching below hip level.

vanity case
a small handbag or case in which a woman carries cosmetics or toiletries; also, a woman's compact containing pressed face powder.

veil
a piece of lace or net used to cover the head or conceal the face.

vestee
a short, decorative vest.

waist
in body measurements, the waist is the circumference around the middle of the torso. As an item of clothing, a waist (or shirtwaist) is a blouse or shirt.

wash dress
a washable dress; a dress that can be washed without damaging the fit, color, or finish.