Gown Glossary

  • Bateau- Follows a line curving slightly downward below the collarbone from shoulder to shoulder.
  • De’colletage- Plunging, cleavage revealing neckline.
  • Fichu collar- Similar in shape to portrait collar but envelops more off the shoulders with shawl like effect.
  • High Neck- Covering collar extending to just below jawline.
  • Illusion- Transparent lace or netting that begins at high or jeweled neckline and ends just above the bustline.
  • Jewel- Circles the base of the neck.
  • Portrait Collar- Wraps around shoulders, gathering at a point just above the bustline in front center.
  • Queen Anne- High at the back and sides of the neck, angling outward and then across top of bustline.
  • Queen Elizabeth- High standing collar in back of the neck that flows to a V-front.
  • Sabrina- Straight neck line beginning 2″ inside the shoulder line; slightly higher that bateau neckline.
  • Scoop- Low, rounded neckline.
  • Square- Shaped like half a square.
  • Sweetheart- Begins 2″ inside the shoulder line and dips to a heart shape at bustline.
  • Balloon- Very large pouf sleeve extending from shoulder to elbow.

  • Bishop- Softly gathered at the shoulders and full to the cuffs

  • Cap- Very short fitted sleeves that just cover the shoulders.

  • Fitted Point- Long sleeves with little or no fullness that fall just below the waist.

  • Gauntlet- Lace or fabric that covers forearm and wrist (detachable).

  • Juliet- Long sleeve with poufed top. Fitted on the lower arm.

  • Leg of Mutton- Full and rounded from shoulder to just above the elbow, tapering to more fitted sleeve from forearm to wrist.

  • Pouf- short, full, gathered sleeve, can be worn on or off the shoulder

  • Alencon- Delicate floral or leaf design in a fine net background outlined with heavy threads to define the pattern and add dimension.

  • Battenberg- Made by applying a coarse linen tape to the design and connecting tape with decorative linen stitching.

  • Chantilly- Web-like floral pattern on a lace background outlined with silk threads, soft to the touch.

  • Point D’Esprit- Oval or square dots woven in a pattern on net fabric.

  • Schiffli- Intricate floral pattern embroidered directly onto the gown as opposed to a separate lace sewn to the fabric.

  • Lyons- Ornamental design on a net background outlined in silk or cotton.

  • Venise- Heavy needlepoint, floral or leaf pattern with motifs connected by bars.

  • Asymmetrical- Begins at the natural waistline and angles down to one side.

  • Basque- Slightly elongated, dipping to a point at the center front.

  • Dropped- Falls to several inches below the natural waistline.

  • Ballet- Hemline falls just above the ankles.

  • Floor- Hemline falls ½” to 1 ½” from floor.

  • Intermission- Hemline falls mid-calf in front, floor length in back.

  • Street- Hemline just covers knees.

  • Tea- Hemline falls several inches above ankles

  • Bustle- Gathering of fabric at the back waistline of gown.

  • Flounce- Wide piece of fabric of lace, gathered and attached at the hem.

  • Peplum- Short overskirt of flounce starting at the waistline.

  • Tiered- Layered panels of fabric that fall from the waist to the hem in varying lengths.

  • Catherdral- Extends 2 ½ yards from the waist.

  • Chapel- Extends 1 & 1/3 yards from waist.

  • Court- Extends 1 yard from waist.

  • Extended Cathedral or Royal- Extends 3 yards from waist.

  • Sweep- Short train, barely sweeps the floor.

  • Watteau- Attaches at the shoulders of the gown.

  • Ballgown- Sleeves may be short and full or off the shoulder with a natural waistline and very full skirt.

  • Empire- High waist that starts just beneath a fitted bodice with a slim skirt.

  • Mermaid- Narrow, body-hugging style with a skirt flaring from or just below knee.

  • Princess- Vertical seams extended from shoulders to hem with skirt curving outward at waistline.

  • Sheath- No-waisted, narrow, form-fitting style.

  • Floral Wreath- Circle of flowers that sits on top of the head or rests at mid-forehead.

  • Half Hat- Small hat covering half or less than half the crown.

  • Juliet Cap- Small cap that hugs back of head.

  • Mantilla- Lace-trimmed veiling that frames the face and is usually secured with a comb.

  • Picture Hat- Wide brimmed hat, usually decorated with lace, pearls, or sequins.

  • Pillbox- Structured, rounded, brimless hat worn on top of the head.

  • Profile- Floral comb worn asymmetrically on one side of the head and adorned with lace, pearls, or crystals.

  • Tiara- Ornamental crown of pearls, crystals, rhinestones, or lace worn on top of the head.

  • Ballet or Waltz Length- Falls to the ankle.

  • Blusher- Shot, single veil worn forward to cover bride’s face as she enters ceremony and worn back afterward, usually attached to longer veil.

  • Cathedral Length- Falls 3 ½ yards from headpiece, usually worn with cathedral train.

  • Chapel Length- Falls 2 ½ yards from the headpiece.

  • Fingertip Length- Touches fingertips when arms are held straight at sides.

  • Fly-Away- Multi layers that brush shoulders, usually worn with an informal dress.

  • Pouf- Short, gathered veiling attached to a headpiece, usually worn with an informal dress.

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