Fashion A-Z

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


Petticoat was a term first used during the early 15th century, when it was actually used to describe a gentleman’s short coat or undershirt. Later on in the century, it was adopted for women’s dress and worn beneath a gown as an underskirt — only a small glimpse of the lacy under layer would peak through. Since then, the petticoat has evolved from plain to ornate, and is now used to add body to loose fitting skirts. Today, a petticoat hem describes the ornate lace or embellished hem that is added underneath a skirt — more as an extra flourish, than as an extra layer.


Piping is a trim or edging formed by sewing a thin strip of folded fabric — typically bias binding — into a narrow tube and attaching it to the edge of a piece of fabric. It can also include cord to give it extra body. Piping is often used to define or reinforce the style lines of a garment.