Fashion A-Z

From applique to zippers, a comprehensive dictionary with definitions and
meanings of key fashion vocabulary, written by Camilla Morton.

Bias Cut

Bias cut means to ‘be cut on the grain’. Rather than following the straight line of the weave, the bias cut places the pattern at a 45° angle on the woven fabric. At this angle, the ‘warp’ and ‘weft’ threads give the fabric more of an elastic ‘stretch.’ The bias cut is popular for accentuating body-lines and creating more fluid curves or soft drapes. It was championed in the 1920s by Madeleine Vionnet and later became one of John Galliano’s signature style.


Bolero here does not refer to the slow-tempo Latin music, but rather a shrug or short jacket. Typically open-fronted, it is collarless with long sleeves and characteristically stops above the waist. It originates, like the music, from Spain. Before the 19th century, it was more commonly referred to as a Zouave. Although these two jackets share all the same features, a Zouave had a military influence, while the bolero had been inspired by dance and sometime even a toreador, Ole!