The online platforms of luxury fashion retailers are wondrous places. Bridging the divide between runway and consumer, they're where we finally get the chance to add some everyday context to the collections we gawked at open-mouthed months ago, frequented all the more when prices are slashed in sales periods like now.
But even the most dedicated follower of fashion has blind spots in their knowledge, and the largest hurdle that the everyman tends to face when browsing the virtual racks of SSENSE, Farfetch, Browns, and more is making sense of the product copy.
If you've ever wondered, "what is a Jacquard?" when hovering over the add to cart button of a very nice sweater, here we've focused on 10 often used, often baffling descriptors and offered up straight-forward definitions to ensure you're shopping smarter.
Without further ado, read our ABCs of menswear product descriptions below.
Jacquard is a highly-textured cotton fabric with woven-in patterns, rather than graphic prints onto the fabric. For this reason, the pattern tends to be slightly raised from the garment, commonly seen on sweaters, shirts, and tees featuring florals or animal patterns.
Beloved by technically-led brands such as Stone Island and Nemen, you'll see the term "garment dyed" in product descriptions to indicate the process whereby a garment is made from a grey fabric and then dyed the desired color, rather than constructed using already dyed fibers and fabrics.
Loopback refers to a particular knit method that features loops on the underside of the fabric, used most commonly on sweaters. The name comes from the traditional knitting machine, the "loopwheel", made originally to trap warm air and provide an insulating layer.
When you see the term "cotton-twill", it's referring to a type of textile weave with a parallel, diagonal pattern given by threads that pass over one and under two or more warp threads. You'll see the pattern at it's most pronounced when used on denim jeans.
Quite the opposite of drop shoulders, raglan-sleeved tops include sleeves that extend right up to the neckline, with diagonal seams from the armhole to the neck. The term can be traced back to Lord Raglan, who is said to have adopted a coat with this style in the search for greater freedom of movement after losing his arm in the Battle of Waterloo.
We’ll stop you right there. This has nothing to do with the sex lives (or lack thereof) of the sheep sheared to make your knitwear. Virgin wool simply means the wool used to make the garment is new and hasn’t been recycled from any other product.
Garments tend to come either with tonal stitching using threads the same color as the rest of the piece, or contrast stitching – something that purposely stands out from that color. Though it may seem like a technical, unimportant term, brands such as Affix, Polar Skate Co., and A-COLD-WALL* have made the technique something of a trend in its own right.
When it comes to weatherproofing your wardrobe, you'll likely see the term "shell" bandied about product descriptions left, right, and center. Shell refers to the outer material of waterproof garments – generally polyester or nylon – that sits atop two or three-layered jackets and other outdoor gear.
Sweaters and t-shirts with dropped shoulders are constructed so that the shoulders are lengthened to extend past where the arm joins the body, often allowing for a boxier, relaxed fit. This kind of style was notably adopted by the likes of Jil Sander, PHIPPS, and Dries Van Noten for SS19.
Otherwise known as Cuban or simply bowling-collared shirts, camp collar is a term used to describe a spread ’50s inspired shirt opening with a quasi-mini lapel and buttons that sit slightly lower on the chest than, say, an Oxford shirt. They've been a common fixture of laid-back, summer shirting for a few seasons now, and don't look to be going anywhere fast.
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