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Learn how the menswear industry talks about fabric, design and fit


Fabric GlossaryTwill: A versatile fabric woven with diagonal lines on the surface, this is our core bottom weight fabric.

Canvas: A heavy, durable plain-weave fabric, usually in cotton, linen, hemp or wool.

Denim: A sturdy cotton twill most commonly woven with an indigo blue yarn and gray or mottled white yarn.

Corduroy: A durable cotton fabric with raised vertical rows of soft pile. The more rows per inch, the finer the wale. The interpretation of the word as corde du roi (from French, the cord of the King) is a folk etymology.

Chamois: A fabric with a soft nap meant to imitate a type of sueded leather from the chamois goat.

Wale: A term referring to the width of the vertical ridges on the surface of a fabric such as corduroy. Pinwale is the thinnest, and wide wale is the thickest.

Poplin: A tightly woven, durable, plain-weave fabric with a slight ridge effect.

Gabardine: Often used in tailored clothing, a durable, compactly woven twill fabric, sometimes with a high sheen.

Cotton: The soft, fluffy fibers gathered from the seed pods of the cotton plant. There are several grades of cotton fiber; Pima and Sea Island are the best quality.

Seersucker: A traditionally preppy midweight fabric often made in cotton, that has a puckered appearance.

Chambray: A lightweight plain-weave fabric, usually made of cotton, which combines an indigo yarn with a white yarn to achieve a denim-like effect.

Knit: A type of garment that is hand- or machine-made by interlocking looped stitches.

Oxford: A soft, basket-woven cotton primarily used as a shirting fabric. First woven by a Scottish mill, oxford cloth was one of four fabrics named after famous universities; Harvard, Yale and Cambridge cloth never became as popular.

Shetland Wool: The soft, shaggy, tweed-like wool from the sheep of the Shetland Islands in Scotland.




Tartan: A multi-colored plaid fabric. Authentic tartan designs originated in Scotland where different plaids were used to represent each clan and their heritage.

Tattersall: A small-scale check design against a solid background.

Basketweave: Type of weave that produces a subtle checkerboard effect.

End-on-end: A plain-woven, typically cotton shirting fabric with alternating warped yarns, one in white and one in color, to produce a chambray effect.

Gingham: A cotton fabric with a small checkered pattern, most typically in white and another color.

Heather: A yarn consisting of differently colored fibers that are blended together to give a soft, muted look.

Herringbone: A twill fabric with a distinctive zig-zag pattern that resembles the bone structure of a herring fish.

Houndstooth: A fabric with a distinctive broken check that resembles pinwheels or the pointed teeth of a hound.

Windowpane: A pattern of continuous lines that intersect to form boxes evocative of a windowpane.

Buffalo Plaid:  a broad checkered plaid pattern usually of two colors, believed to have been
named after the herd of buffalo owned by the plaid's designer in the 1850s.

Melange: French term meaning “mix.”

Button-down Collar: A collar that is secured to the shirt by small buttons on both points. Originating in England during the 1800s, button-down collars were used by polo players to keep their collars in place during play

Spread Collar: A spread collar has wider collar points that are angled outwards. It suits men with slim or long faces, and offers a modern twist to traditional attire.  The space between the collar points allows room for a full or half Windsor tie knot, or can be worn without a tie.




Rise: A tailoring term that refers to the distance between the crotch and the bottom of the waistband.

Hem: The finished edge or border on an item of clothing. Available as a cuff, blind stitch or unhemmed.

Inseam: The inside leg seam in a pant or short that runs from the crotch to the hem and used to measure leg length.

Knife Pleat: A series of pleats formed by folding fabric in the same direction, approximately one inch apart. 

Flat-front: A term used to describe a trouser with no pleats.