Fashion A-Z

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


Overlay is like a top coat of nail-varnish over a base colour — it is the top layer of frosting in fashion. Often, overlay is a lace or sheer fabric that has been placed over a different fabric underneath. It is also the shoemaking term for the pieces of material (usually leather) that are stitched onto the footwear to form decorative patterns.

Paper-bag Waistbands

Paper-bag waistbands are, actually, a contradiction — both refreshingly loose and using extra fabric. Imagine, if you will, a paper bag full of sweets twisted shut. Now turn this into fabric and instead of the twist, add a belt. Paper-bag waistlines can be both high and feminine or low slung, echoing the spirit of Katherine Hepburn. They get their name from the gathering technique and the fabric over the belt hooks.