Fashion A-Z

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


Yoke is the frame or bar, fitted to a person, or animal, that helps to spread and carry weight evenly. They can also be a frame or pattern that is fitted at the shoulders or the waist, to emphasise the structure of a garmet. Bodice yokes were first seen in the 1880s, with the yoke skirt in 1898, but they can now be found stitched-in, overlaid (as decorative or transparent yokes), scalloped, scrolled or even as plastrons — yokes worn on the outside of a garment, that have been tied around the waist with a sash.


Zippers are hookless fasteners. They have two rows of ‘teeth’ that slide together to bind and fasten openings on bags, skirts or trousers. Zips can be inserted into a slash or seam with a closed end. Elsa Schiaparelli was one of the first designers credited with turning zippers into a fashion statement back in the 1930s.