English vocabulary for the fashion industry

English Vocabulary for the FASHION INDUSTRY: 50 Key English Words and Expressions For Fashionistas

English Vocabulary for the Fashion Industry  


There are many sources on the Internet and , presumably, on Amazon.com where you can English vocabulary for the Fashion Industry in ample supply.  As you know, there are many different aspects to fashion and many different players. It is not just about supermodels on the catwalk, although, that is probably the most important part of the whole industry, in that they give life to the clothes and designs. Note that this lit of English vocabulary for the fashion industry is not exhaustive.  Indeed, this is only a beginning point.

# English vocabulary for the fashion industry


AccessoriesAccessories are additional items added to an outfit such as a watch, earrings, scarf, handbag and shoes

Apparel: Clothing of a particular kind. Example, “women’s apparel” means clothing for women.

Au Couture: High Fashion that is handmade, extremely expensive and often not useable by mass consumers.

Badassery: This is a street term. It means an act that is impressive because it is so hard to achieve.

Brand: This means an identity of a business. For example: Levis, Dior, Chanel, Nike

Casual dressing: This means wearing clothing that is relaxed and comfortable as opposed to being formal and more serious.

Classic: Timeless style that uses simple designs and natural fabrics and materials of good quality.

Classic clothes: Classic clothes are clothes described as in #6 above

Conservative style: Style that is not showy or ostentatious. Moderate, cautious, serious, not overtly sexy

Designer labels: Clothing by known and recognized designers such as Dior, Chanel and Dolce and Gabbana

English for the fashion industry





Dress for the occasion: This means to tailor your outfit to the time and place at hand. For example, if you go to a funeral you would dress differently than if you are going to a Met Ball, this is also true with how you dress for a ball game versus going to the aforementioned Met Ball. You have to “dress for the occasion.”

Dress up: This is a phrasal verb which means to wear fancy and formal clothing for an occasion. For example, you would normally dress up for a wedding.

Dressed to kill: This means to be so strikingly  well-dressed that people will have no choice but to take notice 

Dressed to the nines: This means “dressed to kill” in the sense that the person who is dressed to the nines will be striking and will get noticed by others.

Fashion Designer: Someone who designs clothing and apparel

Fashion house:  For example, Balmain, Balenciaga, Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton are fashion houses. These are companies that design and sell high end fashion and apparel and accessories.

Fashion icon:  A fashion icon is someone who is known as being very stylish and a trend-setter has maintained that reputation for a long period of time.

Fashion show: A show where models wear and display fashion including apparel and accessories. Fashion show are open to an audience whether private or public and can go from low key to spectacular – depending on the circumstances.

Fashion slave:  Someone who is obsessed with fashion and trends and who is materialistic, superficial and shallow.

English vocabulary for the Fashion Industry

Fashion victim: a Fashion victim is someone changes their style and wardrobe season to season and over-indulges in the latest trends and who gets caught wearing a particular trend, item, clothing or accessory that simply does not go with that person but this person has lost the ability to judge the appropriateness of the trend for them.

Fashionable: to be fashionable is to innately understand how to be cool and what to wear when.

Fashionista: Someone who is really into fashion and knows and has and wears all the right brands and labels such as Burbery, Gucci and  Addidas. She is conversant on all things fashion and knows all the latest trends.

Front row: Quite literally it is the front row of a fashion show where all the VIPs and Fashion and entertainment dignitaries sit. It can be a very political and snobbish hierarchical ranking system based on perceived “relevance.”

Ghetto fabulous: Hip Hop inspired style of dressing that borders on overkill and ostentatious. In can involve showy gold and diamond jewelry, expensive overcoats and sneakers, elaborate hair and make up and the most high end designer labels worn with a twist. 

“Good look “or “Not a good look”: It means that the outfit, hairstyle or accessory either flatters the wearer and complements them well; or if it is a bad look, it is the inverse.

High-stepper – a person who is affluent, trendy and fashionable and who leads a life-style the exemplifies this.

Investment piece: An item of apparel or an accessory that is very expensive but the buyer regards it as an “investment” because he or she sees long-term possibilities or even high resale value. This usually implies a piece that this from a high end designer house.

Lingerie: Female under garments.

In Vogue: When you say something is “in vogue” It means that this thing is in style at the moment.

Must-have item: A trendy item of clothing or accessory that is all the rage at the moment and since everybody has it and it is so popular, you want it too so it is a “must have item.”

English vocabulary for the fashion industry
English vocabulary for the fashion industry

Off the peg: Ready-made ready to wear clothes that are standard size and made to fit the average person. Usually affordable and maybe even cheap. Not a designer label.-  UK.

Off the rack: See # 28 “off the peg” – US.

Old-fashioned: To be old-fashioned is to be someone whose manners, clothing and style of dress is from a generation long passed

On the catwalk: to be walking on a ramp or platform for the purpose of showcasing fashions and designs. The catwalk can be imaginary, btw.

On trend: This means that the fashion or style or design is “current” and fashionable

Out of Fashion: This means to no longer be the trend.

Out of season: This means that the item belongs to a different time of year. So for example, sandals are out of season in winter.

Oversized: Larger than the standard size.

Slave to fashion: see # 18 ABOVE

Street style: Casual way of dressing influenced by hip hop culture, youth, urban lifestyle and other influences. 

Supermodel: A model who has achieved global status & reputation in the same manner as models like Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista.

to dress for the occasion

to have a sense of style: When you have a sense of style, you know how to dress and how to put things together in your outfit to look cool and fierce.

to have an eye for fashion: When you have an eye for fashion it means that you have  an innate ability to discern what is cool and hip and fashionable and stylish and even what should come next as far as the next trend

to strike a pose: This mans to assume a posture ready for the camera and for your picture to be snapped, as if you are a model.

to strut your stuff: When you strut your stuff it means you walk with a certain confidence and assurance, almost as if you are on a catwalk yourself.

Trend-setter: A trend-setter is someone who is able to influence and inspire others to follow a particular style, mode or fashion.

Trendy: To be trendy means that you are someone who knows and follows all the latest trends, at best,  a slave to fashion, at worse.

Vintage: This refers to old clothes from 20 years ago up to the 1920s.

Well-dressed: This means to be attired in a way that is classy and appropriate to the situation.

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