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Laceless, pull-on, tab-fronted shoe originated by Prince Albert - Queen Victoria's Prince Consort.
A tartan-style check associated with the Scottish Duke of Argyll. Popular as a pattern for sporting socks or stockings.
Form of stock worn with formal Morning Dress. Named after formally dressed annual race meet at Ascot Heath in England's Berkshire.
Soft, Scottish, peakless, male bonnet. Named in the nineteenth century in honor of Queen Victoria's great castle at Balmoral, where it was much worn. Also called a Tam 'o Shanter (or Tammy) after the hero of Robert Burns's poem.
A plain weave used in neckties with two or more yarns woven together, resembling the weave of a basket or the squares of a checkerboard.
Hard wearing trousers of breeches cloth, named after English town of Bedford where it was first made. Rounded cord effect in the weave, with lines running lengthwise.
Even stripes of same width, usually white and a color. 'Tiger' stripes in India, and popularized by returning members of British Raj. Also called 'Regency' stripes after King George IV (The Regent) who was fond of them.
Roomy pockets used in some English country jackets. They are patch pockets with side pieces which give them the appearance of old English fire-lighting bellows.
Popular pattern in Yorkshire worsted for day suit. All over annulus shapes like small bird's eyes. Don't confuse with Pinead pattern.
Traditional hard straw hat, popularized concurrently with 1880s blazer and much worn until the 1930s. Derived from hats worn by Lord Nelson's crew and taken up by sailors generally (most of the naval uniforms are based on that of the British Navy.)
Uniform tartan of British Army's 42nd Highland Regiment. Popular for men's wear because it is the soberest tartan. Black Watch or Black Guard originally a group of renegade Scots recruited by the English king to check troublesome Highland clans. The tartan is the same as the Campbell tartan but without Yellow and White overchecks.
Not named after uniform of H.M.S. Blazer. First 'blazers' were bright scarlet jackets worn by student members of Lady Margaret Boat Club at Cambridge University. Joking reference to a 'blaze of color' was also applied to brightly striped boating jackets which became popular in the 1880s. The style sobered greatly in the 1930s and the modern blazer has more affinity with the British Navy 'Reefer' (see REEFER), but for some reason the name has stuck.
Australian wool named for the fact that it was originally shipped out of Australia's Botany Bay, so called because of the wealth of new botanical specimens found there when England's Captain Cook discovered the new Continent.
Rounded, hard-felt hat designed by William Coke (afterwards Lord Leicester) who ordered London hatter Lock to make one as a protective riding hat. Lock's sub-contracted the job to firm called Beaulieu (anglicized Huguenots) so name has nothing to do with a 'bowl.' Americans call it a 'Derby' after Lord Derby who popularized it on a trip to the U.S. Lock's still call it a 'Coke.'
Short overcoat, worn by Army Officers as an alternative to the military greatcoat. Fawn in color, double-breasted, short, like a Covert coat. Derived from: "Overcoat, British, warm, officers of field rank, for the use of."
Originally rough leather foot-covering worn by Scots and Irish peasants. (From Gaelic brog - a shoe). Now modernized for country-wear, with seams and toecaps punctured to form patterns and edges and laces tasseled.
Originally invented in England as sporting shirt (collar points did not flap about in movements). Whilst watching a polo match in England, John Brooks of New York firm of Brooks Brothers, was intrigued and sent an example back home in the year 1900. Since then they have become a prime symbol of that famous house.
Knitted, usually sleeved and usually collarless, open-fronted, buttoned or slide fastened jacket. Invented by Lord Cardigan who wished for a woolen 'jersey' he could don without disturbing his coiffure. Cardigan was also famous for leading the rash and glorious Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War.
Hard wearing, steep-set twill cloth for trousers and breeches - hence the association with British cavalry officers.
Stripe of rope-like effect similar to the mark made on cloth by tailor's chalk. Don't confuse it with PIN STRIPE.
"The supple, lightweight woolen fabric called Challis was first woven 170 years ago in the city of Norwich, northeast of London, and gained immediate popularity among Victorian ladies and gentlemen. Men used it for coat linings, neckties, and fancy waistcoats, and women wore dresses and shawls of challis because it so wonderfully combined the qualities of firmness and resilience with softness (the word challis is a corruption of the Anglo-Indian word “shalee”, meaning soft) and lightness." ~ G. Bruce Boyer
Plain-toed, side elasticized ankle boot, similar to Jodhpur Boot but strapless. Greatly popular in 1950s and early 60s when very narrow trousers were in vogue.
Lord Chesterfield adapted this overcoat from the old Frock coat, in the nineteenth century. Originally shaped and fly-fronted, the name is given now to most town coats with lapels and set-in sleeves. The same man designed the leather, button-backed sofa which bears his name.
Tweedy woolen fabric (pronounce it Cheeveeot) of relatively coarse wool from Scotland's Cheviot Hills. Coarser than Saxony cloths but more lustrous. For casual and country-town wear.
Casual, sporting boot to just above the ankle, plain toed, fastening with two high lacings. Derived from Polo (a chukka is a period of play), the game brought to the West from India by the British Raj. Also called the 'Desert Boot' through being much adopted in suede by British forces in the Western Desert campaign of World War II.
In the traditional cloisonné enamel process, finely ground colored glass is applied by hand between raised borders in the jewelry - the borders hold the fields of color during the firing process, so that the melted glass flows up to the edge of the border in which the color is applied before being fired for permanence.
A cut filling pile cloth with narrow to wide wales running in the warp direction of the baric. Made by using an extra set of filling yarns in construction. The back of the cloth is a plain or twill weave.
Coarse cotton fabric. Name probably derives from its use for British Army drilling uniforms in tropical climes.
Light, knee-length, showerproofed topcoat in Venetian twill, generally of pale stone color and often with toning velvet collar and three or four rows of stitching at sleeve cuff and hem. Usually fly fronted, name derives from an English word meaning 'a thicket hiding game.' Originally for riding.
Another British Raj inspiration. From the word kammerband it was a wrap-around waist garment which was more attractive for jacketless tropical occasions than the contrast-backed waistcoat.
Stiff-brimmed, soft tweed cap with ear-protectors which are tied up to the crown when not in use. Popularized in Queen Victoria's reign on Scottish estates where deer-stalking was popular. Is identified with fictional detective Sherlock Holmes through artistic license. Nowhere in Conan Doyle's books does he refer to it.
Originally designed by King Edward VII for private parties and based on the English smoking jacket. An American dinner guest, much impressed, took a copy made by the King's tailor back to New York where it became the official dinner wear for the Tuxedo Park Club. Hence 'Tuxedo.'
Like Tartans, an internationally appreciated innovation. Tartans though associated with Scottish families and clans. District Checks evolved as liveries on specific Scottish estates.
Generic term for loose Irish tweed of speckled appearance through contrast colored yarns.
Unlined jacket of coarse material worn by municipal workers, etc., who do the 'donkey work' (i.e. heavy manual work). Sleeves and shoulders reinforced with leather or waterproof cloth.
Cutting system whereby folds of superfluous fabric stitched into the chest area give the impression of muscularity. Invented by Scholte, tailor to the Brigade of Guards, who noted how chest fullness was suggested by tightly belted, very full overcoats of Guards officers.
A silk weave with thin, tight warp threads and thick, loose weft threads, resulting in a surface with pronounced transverse ribs.
Brightly colored, intricate knitting patterns from the islands north of Scotland. They have affinity with early Spanish knitting patterns, which is believed were taught to the islanders by Spanish sailors stranded from a wreck of ships following the defeat of the Armada. The theory is enforced by the traditional names of designs - many redolent of the Roman Catholic Church. The Duke of Windsor favored Fair Isle, and first made it highly popular in the 1920s.
Usually a twill weave, slightly napped on both sides. It can be woolen (carded) or worsted. Worsted flannel is lighter, not as soft as woolen flannel, and has a more visible and resistant weave.
A weave in which each turn of the weft thread is crossed by at least three warp threads, or vice versa. This configuration produces satin.
Originally a watch pocket in the waistband of the trousers from which a ribboned seal dangled. Now a 'secret' cash pocket that is hard to pick.
The modern necktie, possibly named because its knot with two long, trailing ends resembled the reins of a four-horse carriage.
A tightly woven, nearly waterproof combed yarn characterized by vertical twill lines created by using more threads in the warp than weft.
Widely misnamed 'Prince of Wales' after Duke of Windsor who wore it often when Prince of Wales. For authentic version see PRINCE OF WALES CHECK. Authentic Glen Urquhart is actually only in black and white - with no colored overcheck - though popular misusage has come to embrace such in the title. Strictly, these latter can be loosely described as 'Glen' checks.
A loose weave using twisted yarns, resulting in a fabric that resembles a knit, which has excellent drape, maintains its shape, and knots well.
Sweater peculiar to the Isle of Guernsey in English Channel Islands. Distinctive patterns often had origin in local identification. They were knitted by the sailor's sweetheart as a betrothal present, and sadly helped trace the village origins of drowned fishermen.
Scottish District Check which lost its original name. Like the Shepherd Check but alternating black with red-brown, it was originally The Coigach from the Ullapool area in the west of Scotland. Around 1874 it was adopted by an American shooting club as their livery, and the name changed.
Originally an extra thickness of fabric to neutralize the impact of the shotgun's recoil on the shooting jacket's shoulder. Nowadays it is often added simply as a decorative feature, or to add up-market symbolism to the jacket.
'Hack' is short of 'hackney' - a term for a saddle horse for ordinary riding rather than racing or hunting. Long-skirted and with a long center vent, the jacket has a 3 or 4 button front and short lapels, and has much influenced the English 'sports-coat.' But, authentically, it should have flapped out-breast pocket, a large inside Poacher's Pocket, elasticized wrist linings and a waterproofed tail lining.
The English term for men’s socks. "Hose" and "Hosiery" derive from the old Anglo-Saxon word hose, which originally meant any kind of leg covering, including breeches.
Term used in the textile industry to describe a fabric1s texture and consistency.
Traditionally a hairy, colorful tweed made from virgin Scottish wool, and spun, dyed and finished in the Outer Hebrides – the group of islands off Scotland’s west coast. Authentic Harris Tweed is denoted by the "Orb" mark of the Harris Tweed Association.
A zigzag pattern across the piece, recently very popular. So named because it resembles the varying diagonals of a fish’s backbone. It should not be confused with the less oblique-angled CORKSCREW.
From Germany, but popularized by King Edward VII who brought it back to London as an alternative to more formal town hats. A soft felt with an upturned, braided brim, it was also popularized in the nineteen thirties by British Foreign Secretary (later Prime Minister) Anthony Eden – who gave it his name in modern times.
Generic term covering yarns, and fabrics made from them, made locally in Britain by crafters, villagers and farm people. Usually only 28 inches in width, Harris, Donegal and Welsh Tweeds are examples.
A medium sized broken check often used in clear finish worsted, woolen dress goods. Based on a herringbone weave, with four ends on left, then four ends on right. The check is shaped like a four pointed star.
Not pink, but scarlet. Originally all English hunting rights belonged to the King; and those taking part therefore wore the King’s livery – which was scarlet. The tradition has lived on in riding coats everywhere though reasons for the term "pink" are not clear. Purists do not use the term.
Inverness is a northern Scottish town where temperatures demand warm garments. This is a sleeveless coat much favored in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and "nostalgia" fashions have seen a recent slight revival. It is sleeveless but with a shoulder cape serving as protection to the arms and upper body. Like the Deerstalker, it is also apocryphally associated with Sherlock Holmes.
Silk woven on Jacquard looms, allowing for the use of threads of various colors to weave a motif.
The English Channel Island Jersey was famous for its knitting trade in medieval times, and because of that original fame, the name jersey is still applied to many forms of knitted fabric, round or flat. It is also another name for a Pullover or Sweater, because those garments were usually made from knitted Jersey. See also GUERNSEY.
The button on the left side of a double-breasted suit which fastens to the right front and keeps both fronts in juxtaposition.
Color adopted by British Army for their field uniforms. From an Indian word meaning "dusty colored," fabrics in this shade were first produced as camouflage for Indian Army regiments by a Manchester textile firm in the 1870s. A previous theory, abandoned at last, recommended scarlet coats as identifying British soldiers clearly so that the artillery could aim beyond them. Khaki has been popular recently for the informal "chinos."
Tweedy successor to knee breeches, forerunner to Plus Fours. The name derived from English artist George Cruikshank’s illustrations to Washington Irving’s book Knickerbockers History of New York. Abbreviated to "knickers" for small boys truncated version, and for a form of women’s elasticized underwear closed at the knee.
Fancy yarns much used in Donegal tweed, most often in the weft, as decorative color patterns.
Stout woolen cloth of deep green originally made in town of Lincoln. Reputed to be cloth used to merge into the landscape of Sherwood Forest by the celebrated English outlaw Robin Hood and his followers.
A natural fiber produced from the stem of the flax plant. Stronger, stiffer and more lustrous than cotton, it yields cool absorbent fabrics that wrinkle easily.
Internationally accepted standard for cloth finishing. Originally all Yorkshire cloth was sent down to London merchants to be submitted to a consistent method of shrinkage which is highly technical. Nowadays the technique is applied usually at the seat of production, but the term "London shrunk" remains a widely respected standard.
A basically blue/yellow shade which suggests green/brown. One of the earliest experiments in "protective" coloring, it resulted from Lord Lovat looking from the south side of Loch Morar in Scotland and noticing how bluebells and primroses blended into a harmonious whole with thee colors of the surrounding countryside. He mixed equivalent yarns into a tweed for his ghillies and his family, and gave "invisibility on the hill and advantage for sport and deer stalking."
Term applied only to silk fabrics woven in Macclesfield, in the English county of Cheshire, from natural silk.
Term often applied to any shiny black raincoat, but properly derived from Charles Mackintosh of Glasgow who in 1823 produced the first waterproof fabric by cementing two pieces of cloth together with a solution of naptha and crude rubber.
Term designating a specific color range and texture in some silks, obtained by dying them with a madder-root extract, giving them an indigo bath, and treating their surfaces. Characterized by deep muted colors and soft, suede-like finishes.
Soft cotton shirting brought to Europe by members of the British Raj. Because of its un-fast dyes, the colors tended to "bleed" into one another with washing, producing pleasing effects which the original pattern hadn’t promised.
Densely woven, heavy overcoating originally from the town of Melton Mowbray in the West of England.
Technique perfected by Lancashire cotton finisher John Mercer, which lusterizes cotton by stretching it in a solution of caustic soda. The best mercerized effects are obtained with Sea Island Cotton.
The softest and whitest used in British wool cloths. Wool of 60s quality and upwards.
A very finely woven fabric with as many as 124 warp threads per centimeter of silk warp and silk, cotton, or linen weft.
A very tightly woven basket weave made with complementary or contrasting colors in the warp and weft, creating subtle variations of color.
Soft, plied effect given in cloth finishing. Surface fibers are raised by revolving cylinders covered with metal points or teazel burrs. This "nap" is finally brushed and cropped level.
As worn by the British Navy, this color is virtually black.
Informal, yoked and belted, tweed jacket originally much worn with knickerbockers. Lately archaic, but revived a few years ago by Prince Philip and members of the Royal Family.
All point to derivation in the ancient English university town of Oxford. The "bags" were excessively wide trousers worn by students (and devotees of fashion) in the 1920s; the "shirting" is a plain, relatively open weave which is semi-formal; the "shoe" has a plain toecap and closed-laced instep.
Scottish town famous for its cashmere shawls in the swirling, pine-coned pattern which originally came from Persia. In Victorian times, Paisley manufacturers so improved the product that the worl acknowledged the quality by giving it the town’s title.
Introduced by Edward VII as an alternative to the Boater for summer holiday wear. Actually, the raw material doesn’t come from Panama, but from Ecuador and its native long stalked leaves of the jipijapa plant (Jipijapa is the old Spanish name for Ecuador). But, Panama marketed the hats and got the credit.
Not to be confused with BIRDSEYE.
Not to be confused with CHALK STRIPE.
In general misusage, this has become an alternate term for a Check; but wrongly so. The plaid was a strong rectangular cloth (usually in black and white Shepherd Check) in which Scottish shepherds wrapped themselves in for day and night wear. By day it was kilted at the waist.
Developed in the early 1920s and popularized by the Duke of Windsor, they were an English development of Knickerbockers. Also fastening with a strap at the knee, they were made four inches longer (hence Plus Fours) so as to pouch over and hide the fastening. In the 1950s the British Federation of Merchant Tailors created a short revival with "Plus Twos."
A large pocket hidden inside the jacket – so called because it could hide away illicitly taken rabbits, hares, birds, etc.
The "Coat" is in Camel Hair, double breasted with a generous wrap, has the half belt or tie-belt, patch pockets and wide welt seams. The "Shirt" is in wool or heavy cotton with a self-ribbed, short collar and a buttoned, short, front placket and short sleeves. The "Sweater" turns its collar over at the top to give a "Turtle" effect.
Originally in silk for church vestments, it is not in other fibers for shirts. A plain weave, but a coarser weft than warp gives pronounced rib.
Low crowned, soft-felt hat, worn rounded and un-dented at sides, shaped like the English Pork Pie. Out of fashion when tall, slender silhouettes are in vogue.
Name widely but wrongly applied to the Glen Urquhart check and similar checks with a colored overcheck. These were popularized by the Duke of Windsor when he was Prince of Wales. The authentic Prince of Wales Check was designed by King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales, as livery for his shootings at Abergeldie House on Scotland’s Deeside. It is of similar pattern to the Glen Urquhart but nearly twice its size on the repeat, and far too big to illustrate here. Its authentic colors are red-brown on a white ground, with a slat-grey overcheck.
The Savile Row term for trouser turn-ups (Permanent Turn-Ups). Trouser bottoms were often turned up in wet and muddy weather. King Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) started the fashion of permanently turning them up in the eighteen nineties.
Light, patent leather shoe with a flat, dull-silk bow at the instep. Akin to the Albert shoe, and only worn with evening clothes or dinner clothes.
Late nineteenth century replacement for the Nightshirt, they were originally paijamas – a word from India where they were used as normal day wear. Returning members of the British Raj adopted them for loungewear in private, and then for bedwear.
A type of sleeve which runs up into the collar-line at the neck point. Invented by Lord Raglan, C. in C of the British forces in the Crimean War. As extra covering against the bitter cold, he suggested troops cut holes in blankets for their hands, then stitch superfluous hanging folds into cylinders for the arms. This smooth shoulder line was later adapted for civilian wear.
Originally a sailor’s jacket, double-breasted and fastening at the side – so centrally placed buttons would not be caught in the rigging lines when aloft "reefing" sail. It is now the basic Royal Navy officer’s jacket and is also a variation on the Blazer. It has eight buttons, fastening four, as opposed to the Blazer which usually shows six and buttons two. The Reefer has clearly influenced the modern Blazer more than has the widely striped Blazers of 1880.
Fabric with ribs running perpendicular to the selvedge.
Used more particularly in the Scottish wool cloth trade to signify Botany or Merino quality as opposed to Cheviot or Cross-Bred.
The very finest cotton, grown originally in British colonial islands in the Caribbean. It has a far longer staple than other cottons and yields the finest high-quality shirting.
A lightweight fabric made of cotton with crinkled stripes made by weaving some warp threads slack and others tight.
A tie without an interlining. Its firmness and shape are assured by the quantity of silk itself.
A heavy fabric with a rough nubby surface, made of spun wild silk.
Rounded, continuous collar and lapel, without notch or peaked break. Favored for Dinner Jackets. If the lapel is wider over the body at the collar it is sometimes called a Roll Collar.
Squared black and white check not to be confused with DOGTOOTH or GUN CLUB. In earlier days, was also known as "Spongebag" because washing bags were traditionally in cloth of similar pattern.
Islands to the north of Scotland famous for Shetland wool and knitwear. Shetland sheep, like Shetland ponies, Shetland cows, and Shetland collie dogs are the smallest of their species.
The end of the thread, several inches long, deliberately left free in quality ties at one end of the lengthwise seam in order to let the tie stretch. This is indispensable if the tie is to maintain its shape and drape.
Mess Jacket. A Tail-Coat without its tails. In eighteenth century, Lord Spencer stood his back to a fire and caught his tails alight. The burned parts were cut away and Spencer liked the resulting style. Vulgarly known as the "Bum-Freezer" it is too closely identified with Bellboys to attract the modern gentleman.
Colorful checked designs adopted in Scotland by various Highland clans and other families and sects under the protection as means of identification. See also DISTRICT CHECKS.
Against a white ground, offset checks of red and black are laid in even squares -– though there are modern color variations. Tattersall derived from a man who lived in Tatt’s Hall in Lincolnshire originally and then from the colorful checked waistcoats worn by the racing fraternity at Tattersall’s horse market.
A military waterproof coat invented by the British trade at the request of the British War Office during World War I. Overcoats soaked with rain and mud were too heavy and uncomfortable, normal raincoats inadequate. Tested against hose-pipes, the proofed material was double thickness across the back and high storm collars buttoned tight across the front via special straps. Various metal hooks and D-rings allowed the hanging of equipment, and a tradition was created. Since then, Hollywood has added glamour via wearers such as Dick Powell, Alan Ladd, Robert Taylor and Humphrey Bogart et al. and it is clearly the most popular raincoat in the world.
Wide brimmed, slouched felt hat, worn by heroine in a famous du Maurier play about a hypnotist named Svengali. It somehow became transferred to the men’s hatter’s trade and became a generic term for all soft felt hats.
Not apparently, from the River Tweed in Scotland, but from a misspelling long ago on an invoice for Scottish twill (see below) – which the Scots pronounce as "tweel" and may well have been written the same way.
Name originally for fundamental basic weave fabrics characterized by a diagonal rib.
Quality touch to overcoats, sometimes to Evening Dress Tail Coats. Originally worn only in black – as a mark of mourning by English aristocrats for French equivalents decapitated by Madame la Guillotine in the Revolution.
Gold plate, of at least 10k fineness and at least 2.5 microns thick, over sterling silver.
As opposed to "undervest" or "singlet," is still the tailor’s name for a "waistcoat." First worn by England’s King Charles II (recorded in Pepy’s Diary, October 8, 1666) as one of the new fashions he introduced as a breakaway snub to the fashion lead of France, with whom England was at war. America, too, still calls the waistcoat a "vest."
Famous center for high quality wool cloths with extremely close pile. Billiard table cloth is a non-tailored example.
Hard wearing, closely woven fabric for trousers and breeches. Pronounced "cord," or diagonal rib; horsy connotations of "whip" are clear.
Both introduced by the Duke of Windsor in the 1930s. The first is a method of tying a necktie to produce a balanced, wedge-shaped knot that doesn’t twist in one direction. The knot is necessarily larger though, and the widely spaced points of the Windsor Collar effectively house it. The Windsor Collar is also known as the Cutaway collar.
High standing, stiff collar with points folded down to eliminate discomfort. Out of fashion for years, it has returned to favor recently for Dinner wear.
The two basic forms of the British wool cloth industry. In "woolen" fabrics the fibers are "carded" before spinning – i.e. deliberately tangled to give a rougher, surfaced yarn and fabric. In "worsted" fabrics, the fibers are "combed" parallel before spinning to give a smooth yarn and resulting smoother cloth. The English town of Worsted gave its name to the latter process centuries ago.