Bridal Terms

Bridal terms

Gown Silhouette

A-line Silhouette: gown with slim-cut bodice that hugs the waist and a skirt that flares out gently in the shape of the letter "A" for a universally flattering fit

Ballgown: gown with slim-cut bodice that hugs the waist and a dramatic, voluminous skirt

Basque Waist Silhouette: gown with a fitted bodice that extends past the natural waist and floats away from the body in a full skirt from the top of the hip; one of the most flattering waistlines

Bridal Separates: in lieu of a traditional gown, the bride wears a top with a skirt (or pants!) to create a unique look; build your bridal look with our tool

Column Silhouette: garment that follows the body's contours, allowing room for natural curves; thicker fabrics are more structured while satin and silk columns are more body-skimming

Drop Waist Silhouette: a loose-fitting dress in which the seam falls below the hips rather than at the waist; often associated with flappers and the 1920s

Fit & Flare Silhouette: form-fitting gown or skirt that flares just past the waist

Maxi Dress: floor-length dress

Mermaid Silhouette: form-fitting gown or skirt that flares dramatically below the knee

Midi Dress: dress that falls to mid-calf

Sheath Silhouette: garment that follows body's contours for a fitted look

Tea-Length Dress: dress that falls to just at or above the ankle

Trumpet Silhouette: form-fitting gown or skirt that flares at the mid-thigh

Silhouette Details

Boatneck: (also called Bateau neck) wide neckline that dips at the collarbone and extends to shoulders

Blouson Top: top that fits loosely over torso and snug at the waist for an elegant draping effect

Cold Shoulder: sleeve style in which part of the sleeves sits atop the shoulder and the remainder drapes below allowing the shoulders and part of the arm to peek through

Cowl Neck: draped neckline that highlights one's décolletage

Flutter Sleeve: sleeve defined by fuller volume; created by pleats or by cutting the fabric wider to create a fluttering effect

High-Low Hem: hemline that runs shorter in the front and longer in the back

Illusion Detail: lace or embellishment with a very fine tulle backing; so fine, it appears to float along the skin's surface

Keyhole Cutout: opening in the fabric that allows for a peek of skin

Off-the-Shoulder: sleeve style in which the shoulders are fully bare and the sleeves drape along the arm

Princess Seam: curved seam within garment that allows for tailored fit

Surplice Neckline: diagonally crossed neckline or bodice, often creating a deep v-neck

Sweetheart Neckline: neckline that frames the décolletage and mimics the top of a heart

Train: long back portion of a gown that trails behind the bride

Gown Construction

Bodice: the part of a garment that runs from shoulder to waist

Boning: supports built into the bodice to provide additional structure to some gowns; often seen in corsets

Bust Cups: cups sewn into the bodice of a gown for added support or coverage

Covered Buttons: buttons that have been covered in the same fabric as the garment

Darts: v-shaped seams sewn within the garment to allow for a tailored fit

Godets: triangular pieces of material sewn into a skirt to add volume and flared effect; they lend stunning dimension with movement

Hook and Eye Closure: closure that has a small hook on one side and a loop of fabric or metal on the other; often used at the upper back of dresses and on lingerie

Rouching: fabric gathered into a ruffle or pleats

Top-Applied Hemline: decorative trim sewn to the exterior of a gown's hemline that can be removed by a tailor and reapplied to preserve the beautiful details even when the dress is altered for length

Bridal Accessories

Bodysuit: one-piece garment that fastens between the legs; often a component of bridal separates

Bolero: a short, open-front jacket; often used to add coverage or create a unique bridal look

Cape: a sleeveless garment that fastens at the neck and drapes loosely over the shoulders; a great way to stay warm at a winter wedding

Capelet: top that is often worn over a gown or cami; it covers the shoulders and drapes open at the front, allowing your gown or top to peek through

Fitted Belt: a sized belt usually secured with covered buttons or a hook-and-eye closure; can be altered by a tailor for the best fit

Overskirt: a skirt, often made of sheer chiffon, lace or tulle, that allows the fabric beneath to peek through

Sash: a one size fits all belt, often made of embellished ribbon or tulle, that ties in the back

Topper: unlined top that can be worn over a gown or in addition to another top; it's an easy way to transform your look

Tucker: a lace garment that covers the neckline and shoulders, tucking into the top of the gown

Veil: see our complete veil guide here

Wrap Cover Up: the most versatile of cover ups, a wrap is a shawl able to cover the shoulders and arms and whose primary use is to provide warmth

For the Bridal Party

Bridesmaids Separates: in lieu of dresses, maids wear coordinating skirts and tops to create unique looks; build your maids look with our tool

Convertible Dress: dress that can be worn in a variety of styles using ribbons or ties; dressing maids in convertible dresses adds visual interest to a bridal party

Mix-and-Match Bridesmaids: bridal party including different dresses or separates, often with a unifying color palette


Alençon Lace: known as the "queen of lace," an intricate floral lace with three-dimensional corded detail sewn onto a fine tulle backing; named for its origin in Alençon, France

Bias-Cut: garment that has been cut diagonally across the grain to follow contours of body for a flattering fit

Brocade: heavy, richly patterned jacquard-woven fabric featuring textured motifs

Chantilly Lace: the most dainty of all lace, featuring florals and ribbons sewn onto a tulle background; named for its origin in Chantilly, France

Charmeuse: smooth, flowing, and semi-lustrous fabric constructed of silk, cotton, or synthetic materials that drapes beautifully

Chiffon: sheer and lightweight fabric of very fine weave silk or synthetic materials that lends an ethereal, flowy quality to garments

Crepe de Chine: thicker, lightly textured fabric constructed of silk or synthetic materials that offers a clean look

Crochet: fabric constructed by needlework in which yarn is looped with a hooked needle; bestows an open thread effect to garments

Dupioni: crisp silk fabric with highly-lustrous and elegant appearance; its textured slubs, or irregular lines of thicker threading, are characteristic of its unique weaving process

Damask: heavy jacquard-woven fabric with elaborate patterns, but lacking the texture of brocade

Eyelet Lace: vintage-inspired lace featuring dainty cutouts and scalloped edges

Georgette: (also called crepe georgette) sheer fabric constructed of silk or synthetic materials with matte finish that drapes beautifully

Graphic Lace: modern lace featuring bold, textural, and often geometric motifs

Guipure Lace: heavier, bolder lace that adds a unique three-dimensional quality to garments

Jacquard: style of loom in which complex woven fabrics, rich in patterns, such as brocade and damask, are created

Lace: openwork fabric that comes in many styles (see: Alençon, Chantilly, Eyelet, Graphic, Guipure)

Organza: sheer and lightweight fabric of very fine weave silk or synthetic materials; slightly stiffer than chiffon, it lends more volume to garments

Point d'Esprit: net fabric with round or square dots woven in an regular pattern

Satin: sleek, highly lustrous material constructed of silk or other synthetic materials; it tends to hug the body

Sateen: smooth and lustrous fabric reminiscent of satin, but constructed of cotton or cotton blend

Shantung: silk fabric lighter in weight than dupioni with more subtle textured slubs, or irregular lines of thicker threading

Silk: fiber produced by silk worms and woven into a variety of soft, lustrous fabrics

Taffeta: crisp, lustrous fabric with super-fine horizontal ribbing; makes a characteristic rustling sound when moved

Tulle: fine-netted material, often used in gowns and dresses to create lightness and volume

Embellishments & Embroidery

Appliqué: decorative fabric, often lace or floral motifs, sewn onto a fabric backing to add dimensional intrigue to a garment

Embellishment: details such as beads, crystals, sequins, pearls, appliqués, etc. that add luster and dimension to a look

Eyelash Trim: trim of teeny threads, often appearing on lace edges, that resemble wispy eyelashes

French Knots: decorative embroidered knots on the front side of fabric to create textured dots of color

Grosgrain Ribbon: ribbed fabric, often appearing in belts or sashes

Piping: a cord covered with bias fabric, often used for decorative edging on garments

Industry Terms

Lookbook: a collection of photos introducing the latest collection, shot to evoke the mood that inspired the assortment

Trunk Show: event in which BHLDN travels to Anthropologie stores or Kimpton Hotels around the country to allow brides-to-be to try on the latest collection; click here to see our trunk show schedule

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