Popular Menswear Style Terminologies And Their Meaning

We all love reading menswear style articles either for entertainment or to get informed on current trends. As a modern man, it is good to keep in touch with what is happening in the menswear space through reading magazines, newspaper articles and pretty anything meaningful about the clothes that we wear. Many a times in those articles, you will come across a number of style terms that you may find difficult or have a vague idea of their meaning in relation to menswear. Today we make it simple for you by listing and providing the meaning of the most popular menswear style terminologies.


Mostly used in tailoring for a made-to-measure order for garments especially suits, shirts and blazers. This is the situation where body measurements are taken and each piece of the garment is cut and fitted according to the order measurements.


This is a Sun glasses silhouette that has a teardrop shaped frames. They were originally developed for military pilots, hence the name.

Black Tie

A dress code for men that features the traditional tuxedo and accompanments; black dinner jacket and matching trousers, optional black formal waist coast (or cummerband), a white formal shirt, black bow tie and black shoes.

Boat Shoes

These are type of shoes constructed with a canvas or leather upper and rubber soles with a siping pattern cut into them to enahnce grip on a wet boat deck. Originally designed for boat crew, hence the name.

Boot Cut

A situation where the hem of a trouser leg opening is cut loose to accommodate the upper part of a boot.


A style of a low-heeled shoe or boot characterized by multiple pieces, sturdy leather uppers with decorative perforations (or "broguing") and serration along the pieces' visible edges.

 Button-Down Collar

A shirt collar that has points fastened with small non-decorative buttons on the front of the shirt.

 Cable Knit

Refers to a pattern commonly used in men's jumpers and knitted accessories in which raised "cables" appear to twist around one another. This method creates a textured layered look popular in the cold seasons.


A type of knitted garment that has an open front commonly closed using buttons. A more modern version has no buttons and is normally left hanging by design.

 Chelsea Boot

This is an ankle-high boot that is identifiable by the elastic siding that covers the ankle.


A cotton or cotton blend twill fabric, typically khaki-colored. It is mostly used to make trousers which are widely known as "Chinos" (Also known as "Khakis).

Chukka Boot

An ankle-high boot with suede or leather uppers, leather or rubber soles, and open lacing with two or three pairs of eyelets.


A thick cotton fabric with velvety ribs. It is composed of twisted fibers that, when woven, lie parallel to each other. This helps to form the fabric's distinct "cord" pattern, which runs either horizontally or vertically.

Crew Neck

A close-fitting, round neckline, especially on a sweater or T-shirt which sits symmetrically at the base of the neck. Scooped, raw,O-neck and boat neck cuts all derive from the original crew neck.


The cummerbund is a broad, pleated waist band worn with single-breasted dinner jackets.


A sturdy cotton twill fabric used to make jeans, overalls, and other clothing. It's typically blue in color.

Desert Boots

A light weight boot with the upper made from suede. It's similar to a chukka boot but looser at the ankle with a crepe sole.

Dinner Jacket

A dinner jacket is defined by satin facings on the lapels mirrored on the outer seams of the dinner suits pants.


A suit or a blazer jacket with wide, overlapping front flaps and two parallel columns of buttons.


A suit jacket or blazer with a narrow overlap fastened with a single row of buttons; always left over right.

Dress Codes

These are set of rules or customary styles of dress of a particular group e.g A school, office, club, restaurant or an event. Most often they are written and posted on invitation cards or official policies.

Drop Crotch

A style that features a "relaxed hang" between the legs (no better way to describe it). Typically, the length of cloth between the waist seam and the crotch seam is LONGER than normal. Best worn by someone under 18 years. Or not at all.

Dry Denim/ Raw Denim

This is denim fabric that has not undergone any of the usual washing and distressing processes (Unwashed denim).


Casual, canvas or cotton fabric shoes with a flexible sole made of jute rope.

Gingham Check

Plain woven fabric featuring alternating checks, typically white and colored. Mostly used in men's shirts.


Also called Broken Twill Weave and describes a distinctive V-shaped weaving pattern which makes it resemble a broken zigzag. It is called herringbone because it resembles the skeleton of a herring fish.


Also known as dogstooth is a duotone textile pattern characterized by broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes, often in black and white, although other colors are used.


Jeans are casual trousers made from denim: a rugged cotton twill fabric.


Men's shoes that have laces for fastening.


Most commonly found on suit jackets and blazers, it describes the folded flaps of cloth on the front of a jacket or coat.


A fabric made from fibers of the flax plant.


A slip-on leather shoes that is shaped like moccassins but has a wider heel. Any true man should have at least one pair.


A combination of the words metropolitan and heterosexual; referring to a young, urban male with liberal political views, an interest in fashion, and a refined sense of taste.

Notch Lapel

A suit lapel that is distinguishable by a triangle (v-shaped notch) cut where the lapel meets the collar. It is the "everyday" lapel style for a man's suit.


This is a large waterproof jacket with a hood and drawstrings at the waist and cuff. It designed to be won on cold season.

Patent Leather

Black leather finished to a hard glossy surface, used chiefly for shoes, belts and purses. The leather got its name from the US Patent Office, as the leather's finish was once protected by patent.

Peak Lapel

A coat lapel that creates an aggressive upward point towards the shoulder; emphasizing the already dramatic "V" silhouette.


Narrow, crisp lines running in parallel, found in fabric often in suiting.

Raw Edge

This describes the unsewn edge of a piece of fabric like seen on t-shirts at the neck, hem and arms giving them an unfinished look.


The distance from the crotch to the top of the waist band in jeans and trousers. Options include High, Medium and Low rise.


A printed cotton or synthetic fabric that has a surface consisting of puckered and flt sections, typically in a striped pattern.

Selvedge (Denim)

This refers to the finishing of the jeans fabric by reinforcing with tightly woven bands running down each side that prevent fraying, raveling or curling. Commonly found in unwashed or raw denim.

Shawl Lapel

A lapel that runs continuously from the back of the neck down to the buttons on the front of the coat without breaks or points.

Shearling (Coat)

A coat made from or lined with shearling wool especially on the collar for warmth.


The raised surface found projecting from a fabric; produced intentionally by brushing or naturally during weaving.


Refers to the inside or flesh side of leather which is brushed to produce a nap. Also used to refer to any fabric with a velvet-like finish.


Cow hides have to be split into two layers before they can be used as leather. The bottom layer created by that split is refered to as the cow-split leather or the bottom grain.

Full grained leather

Refers to hides that have not been sanded, buffed or snuffed to remove imperfections on the surface of the hide. The grain remains allowing the fiber strength and durability.

Top grain leather

Top grain leather refers to leather that has been made from the top or outer most layer of cowhide.

Bonded leather

Refers to a material that has small amounts of leather in it. It usually contains polyurethane on the exposed side, followed by a thin layer of fabric with bits of leather scraps fuse onto it. It is not as strong or durable as true leather.


A vent is a cut/slit in the bottom (tail) of a coat, allowing the material to move freely when being won.

The above terms are not conclusive and their meaning was heavily borrowed from wikipedia and fashionbeans glossary. Feel free to add more or suggest better description on the comments section.



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