A 

Accessories

Everything you wear that isn’t your clothing or footwear. it’s used to describe everything from belts, backpacks and socks to sunglasses, jewellery and watches.

 

Athleisure

A portmanteau of ‘athletic’ and ‘leisure’, basically athleisure refers to all the clothes that were originally meant for the gym that people now wear in the street, from trainers to hoodies, joggers and even compression tights (although that last one’s quite a statement).

C

Complexion

The tone and colour of your skin. Certain colours and tones work with – or against – different complexions. Figuring out what yours is means you can find clothes that complement you, rather than wash you out. If in doubt – and it’s a complicated thing to figure out, so no shame there – ask your stylist.

 

Contemporary

A term to describe modern dressing that nods to streetwear, but also encompasses things like trucker jackets and knitwear. It’s most frequently used for brands that are more expensive than the high street, but more affordable than luxury labels.

F 

Fit

The fit is the most important thing when it comes to clothes. But it’s about more than getting the right size. For example, boxy is means a squarer, less fitted cut that hangs off the body. Like a box. Oversized is something that is intentionally larger and cut to be that way, rather than too big. An oversized coat, for example, might have excess fabric in the shoulders and chest, but the sleeves will still end at your wrists. It’s the opposite of slim, which means something fitted closer to the body.

A layered, smart-casual look full of texture. The burgundy cardigan is part of an autumnal palette.

H

Harrington

The Harrington is a jacket with a high collar and a zip or button front. It was first made in Manchester in the 1930s, by Baracuta (who still craft some of the best) and got its name from Rodney Harrington, a character in a 60s soap opera who always wore one. Its most famous wearers, however, are James Dean and Steve McQueen.

 

Heritage

No, not old clothes – it refers to traditional fabrics, like tweed and cotton, as well as workwear. Think brands like Belstaff and Barbour, the kind of clothes a gentleman adventurer would wear on one of his excursions.

L

Layering

The way that different items work when you wear them on top of each other. It’s all about the way they trap heat and offer contrasts in texture and fabric. For example, a shirt and overcoat isn’t layering. A shirt, jumper, denim jacket and overcoat is. It makes your outfit more interesting and more adaptable to changing weather.

M

Maximalism

Maximalism means embracing everything eye-catching – patterns, bold shapes and colour. You can wear different styles together or clash your patterns, but it has to be done with care or your maximalist looks tips into obnoxious.

 

Minimalism

Minimalism is about wearing simple pieces, streamlined shapes and neutral colours to create an understated look.

 

Monochrome

From the ancient Greek to mean ‘having one colour’, monochrome has become shorthand for wearing black and white, but actually any outfit of all one colour is technically monochrome. That includes different shades; wearing navy, royal blue and petrol blue together would count.

 

This look is made up of tailored staples in a neutral palette. The overcoat is the outerwear.

N

Neutrals

A neutral is a colour that goes with anything, often black, white, grey, navy or stone. They’re easy to match, so easy to wear. 

O

Outerwear

Simply, outerwear is clothing (primarily coats or jackets) worn over other clothes. It’s your final layer against the elements.

P

Palette

Similar to the idea of an artist’s palette, where you bring together the colour range for your clothes. It often refers to groups of similar or complementary colours, like pastels, neutrals or autumn leaf shades. 

R

Roll neck

Whether you call it a turtleneck, polo neck or roll neck – it’s all the same thing. This high neck jumper gained popularity in the 1920s but became synonymous with the beatnik poets and musicians of the 1950s and 60s in Paris, New York and London.

A roll neck layered under utilitarian outerwear. It's knitwear that serves up all kinds of texture.

S

Smart-casual

The most common and yet hardest to define dress code, smart-casual strikes a balance between smart (suits, blazers) and casual (jeans and jumpers). It’s a spectrum and you can either pair things that are closer together (a tweed blazer and dark denim) or far apart (a suit with trainers and a hoodie) and so long as they average out, that’s smart-casual.

 

Silhouette

The shape of an outfit. It could be loose if you’re wearing lots of oversized clothes, or slim if everything’s more tailored.

 

Staple

A timeless item that appears in almost every man’s wardrobe. They’re the kinds of clothes, like blazers, chinos and jeans, you’ll build most of your outfits around. A capsule wardrobe consists almost entirely of staples.

 

Statement

A statement piece is the one thing that stands out. It doesn’t have to be bright or patterned or different to your usual style, it’s just the one thing on your outfit that has the most impact.

 

Streetwear

In essence, it means clothes worn in the street, originally things like the logo tees and sweatshirts popularised by surfers and skaters in the 70s and 80s. It’s since become more complicated and has gone from something simple and subcultural to a style driven by hype, nostalgia and exclusivity. Once the preserve of independent brands who released clothes whenever they felt like it, it’s been co-opted by huge brands and its definition evolves so quickly that the term has become slightly meaningless.

This look is slim-fit and trans-seasonal, because you can add or lose layers depending on the weather.

T

Tailoring

Tailoring refers to the style and cut of garments typically used in relation to suiting. Structured tailoring is more traditional, was developed by English tailors and emphasises certain aspects of a masculine body shape – shoulders, chest – to give a stronger silhouette. There is often more padding and a lining. Unstructured tailoring was the Italian response, without the lining, because it was too hot. This is lightweight and softer but doesn’t mean completely free of structure. Workwear jackets usually follow this unstructured style.

 

Texture

The feel of a fabric, but also how that affects the way it looks. Materials that are more interesting to touch are said to have more texture, which also makes them more interesting to look at. Tweed, denim and wool have lots of texture; cotton and leather don’t.

 

Trans-seasonal

Think of trans-seasonal clothes as the things you wear when summer’s gone but autumn’s not quite arrived, or when you might have to battle spring showers and summer heat in the same day. They’re items that can be layered over or under other clothes and that make an outfit more adaptable.

U

Utilitarian

The dictionary definition of utilitarian is ‘useful or practical, rather than attractive’. In fashion, utilitarian items are practical but look good too, often minimal and in neutral colours. Things covered in pockets, that can deal with foul weather, or that are particularly comfortable to wear, are utilitarian.

W

Workwear

Workwear comes from traditional worker’s clothing, but has evolved to be everyday wear in practical durable fabrics and styles like denim, chambray shirts, khaki trousers and work boots. Basically, stuff people used to wear in factories, but which now gets worn more in offices.

 

Words: Nadia Balame-Price
Photography: Jon Cardwell