The Wedding Gown Glossary

the wedding gown glossary

The wedding dress is one of the most important elements of your wedding day. Not only do you want to look amazing, you want to feel amazing too. But the world of wedding dress shopping, designing, and creating can be intimidating. Don’t worry. This blog was created to remove all the fear of dress shopping.

Let’s start learning the lingo.


Alencon Lace: Fine needlepoint lace with corded designs on a sheer net background.

Batiste: A lightweight, soft, transparent fabric.

Brocade: A Jacquard-woven fabric with raised designs; traditionally popular for fall and winter, now also worn in warmer weather.

Burnout: Chiffon or organza based fabric that has been put through a process that leaves a pattern in the backing fabric.

Chantilly Lace: An elaborate French bobbin lace that is characterized by delicate motifs of scrolls, vines, branches, and flowers.

Charmeuse: A lightweight, semi-lustrous soft fabric, that is satin-like to the touch.

Chiffon: Delicate, sheer, and transparent -- made from silk or rayon, with a soft finish; often layered because of its transparency, making it popular for overskirts, sheer sleeves, and wraps.

Crepe: A light, soft, and thin fabric with a crinkled surface.

Damask: Similar to brocade with raised designs, but woven in a much lighter weight.the wedding gown glossary

Duchesse Satin: A lightweight hybrid of silk and rayon (or polyester) woven into a satin finish.

Dupioni: A finish similar to shantung, but with thicker, coarser fibers, and a slight sheen.

Eyelet: open-weave embroidery.

Faille: A structured, ribbed finish like grosgrain ribbon; usually quite substantial.

Gabardine: A tightly-woven, firm and durable finish, with single diagonal lines on the face.

Georgette: A sheer, lightweight fabric often made of polyester or silk with a crepe surface.

Illusion: A fine, sheer net fabric, generally used on sleeves or necklines.

Jacquard: A fabric with a raised design or pattern woven into it.

Jersey: A very elastic knit fabric; the face has lengthwise ribs and the underside has crosswise ribs.

Linen: a cloth made of flax, that is noted for its strength, coolness, and luster.

Mikado: A blended silk that is usually heavier than regular silk. Can also be made of polyester.

Moire: A heavy silk taffeta with a subtle, wavy design.

Organdy: A stiff transparent fabric.

Organza: Crisp and sheer like chiffon, with a stiffer texture similar in effect to tulle, but more flowing; popular for skirts, sleeves, backs, and overlays.

Peau de Soie: A soft satin-faced, high-quality cloth with a dull luster, fine ribs, and a grainy appearance.

Pique: A knit fabric with a waffle-weave appearance, pique has distinct sides. The outside resembles a honeycomb or waffle and the underside is flat and smooth.

Polyester: An inexpensive man-made fiber that can be woven into just about anything, including duchesse satin

Rayon: Similar to silk, but more elastic and affordable.

Satin: A heavy, smooth fabric with a high sheen on one side; very common in bridal gowns.

Silk: The most sought-after, cherished fiber for wedding dresses (and also the most expensive); there are several types with different textures: raw silk and silk mikado are just two examples.

Silk Gazar: A four-ply silk organza.

Silk Mikado: A brand of blended silk, usually heavier than 100-percent silk.

Silk-faced Satin: A smooth silk satin, with a glossy front and matte back.

Shantung: Silk that has a rough, nubby appearance. Once only associated with silk fabrics, shantung can be a finish for synthetic fabrics as well.

Taffeta: Crisp and smooth, with a slight rib.

Tulle: Netting made of silk, nylon, or rayon; used primarily for skirts and veils (think ballerina tutus).

Velvet: A soft, thick fabric with a felted face and plain underside.



The wedding gown glossary

A-Line: A dress with a fitted bodice that gradually flares from the waist.  Vertical seams flow from shoulders to hem. There is no seam on the waist.

Ball Gown: A dress with a fitted waist and bodice, with a full skirt.

Basque: A natural waist with a V-front, that starts at your own waist (or just below) forming the shape of a U or V.

Empire: A dress with a small, scooped bodice that gathers at a high waist (generally right under the bust line) and has a slender skirt.

Mermaid/Fishtail/Trumpet: Very similar to the sheath, but typically has a longer train and covers the entire leg. The top is fitted and flares just below the knee.

Princess: Very similar to the A-line with a slim fitting, vertical seams that flows from the shoulders to the hem. There is no seam on the waist.

Sheath:  A dress that hugs your body, highlight all your curves.



Halter: The straps come up and around the back of the neck.

Jewel: A t-shirt cut neckline that slightly curves at the base of the neck.the wedding gown glossary

Off the Shoulder: The neckline sits of both shoulders, but has small fabric stapes.

One Shoulder: The neckline exposing one shoulder in a diagonal line from one shoulder the just under the arm.

Portrait: A similar cut to the strapless but there is a wide gathering of fabric that highlights the cut.

Sabrina: Otherwise none as a boat neck. A soft wide scoop that follows the curve of the collar bone.

Scoop: A slight rounded curve that forms a U-shape.

Square: A neckline that forms a square.

Strapless: The neckline is off the shoulders underneath the arms. It can be straight, slightly curved, or sweetheart.

Sweetheart: A neckline that is shaped like the top of a heart. 

Queen Anne: A high rise of the collar around the neck with a wide cut across the chest.

V-neck: The neckline dips down to form a V and de-emphasizing the bust.



the gown glossaryAbove the Knee: Gowns hem stops at a location above the knee.

Knee Length: Gowns hem stops at a location the knee.

Tea Length: Gowns hem stops at a mid calf.

Ankle Length: Gowns hem stops at the ankle.

Floor Length: Gowns hem stops at just above or on the floor.









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