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The Men’s Style Glossary: Fashion Terms You Need to Know

The fashion world is full of terms many people don't know. This can be a potential roadblock for the modern gentleman when trying to craft the right look.

Whether you’re working with your tailor or a retailer, you'll want to feel comfortable using the proper terminology to get what you need from the experience. To assist with this, we’ve compiled a glossary of men's fashion terms you need to know.

When you leave this article today, you should know the basics you need to navigate men’s fashion confidently and successfully.

Automatic Watches

There are three primary types of watches: automatic, quartz, and mechanical. Automatic watches use intricate gears and parts like a mechanical watch but don't require manual winding. 

Balanced Jacket

A balanced jacket has its front and back lengths adjusted to match the wearer's build and posture. This jacket is different from bespoke fashion in that it is customized or altered to fit the wearer after the fact.


A bespoke garment is any piece custom-made for the wearer from start to finish, from the materials and patterns chosen down to the fit. Bespoke clothing is fashion at its peak, designed exclusively for the wearer.


The fold in the fabric that shows up where the pants meet the wearer's shoes is aptly named “the break.” A full break will have a more noticeable amount of fabric folding, whereas no break will end up as more of a straight-leg style that can highlight fashionable socks.


The top portion of any shirt where the fabric meets the neck. The collar is often made of a stiff, rigid material—though this isn’t always the case. Collar styles differ, from smaller spreads to larger spreads, and should be chosen depending on the face shape for maximum impact.


The end of the dress shirt sleeves closest to the hands. Dress shirt cuffs can come in different styles, such as a classic barrel cuff or a more upscale French cuff. There are a few different shapes, including rounded, square, and angled cuffs.

Joesph Abboud male model


Compared to their single-breasted counterparts, double-breasted suits have an extra row of buttons down the front of the jacket. Because of this, there will also be an extra bit of fabric folding across the front.

Double-breasted suit jackets are typically considered the more formal option, though this isn't a hard and fast rule. 

Eau de Parfum

One of the most popular types of men’s cologne. Eau de parfum is designated as such based on the fragrance concentration, which is generally between fifteen and twenty percent.

Eau de parfum is often used as a nighttime fragrance when a bold scent can be a crucial part of setting the desired tone.

Eau de Toilette

Another one of the more popular types of men's fragrance, eau de toilette, has a lower fragrance concentration than eau de parfum, comprising about five to fifteen percent.

This lightness makes it perfect for everyday use, especially as a daytime scent. 

Fragrance Notes

The different scents that make up the lifecycle of a fragrance. There are three notes:

  1. Top notes: These notes make up the first ten minutes to two hours of scent wear.
  2. Middle notes: These notes are the fragrance's core, lasting from three to five hours.
  3. Bottom notes: This is the base of a fragrance and may last anywhere from five to ten hours, depending on the formula chosen.


This fashion term has two different meanings depending on your location.

In the UK, this tends to refer to a business or a person who deals in small clothing items, such as buttons or ribbons. In the US, a haberdasher refers to a men’s clothing retailer.


The folds on the front of a suit jacket that create an iconic V-shape near the chest and neck are known as the lapel. There are three main types of lapels: peak lapels, shawl lapels, and notched lapels.


The interior fabric on any suit jacket or outerwear coat. Most jackets generally have a lining since an unlined coat costs more than a lined coat. You can also have some jackets with special interior lining as a unique and personal touch.

Joseph Abboud male model


Made-to-measure fashion sits between off-the-rack and bespoke—these garments are not fully custom, but they are tailored to fit your body type. Consider the balanced jacket mentioned earlier, and you’ll be on the right track.

When choosing a made-to-measure suit, you'll pick from a selection of suit styles that are already pre-made before the suit is cut to your specifications.

Mechanical Watches

Mechanical watches are considered traditional watches and are the most sought after by watch collectors. They’re hand-wound and require the user to wind the watch daily for it to function properly.

Nested Suit

A type of suit tailored in such a way that the pants and jacket are sold together with a “drop” in size from the chest of the jacket to the waist of the pants. 


Clothing purchased directly from a brick-and-mortar store or online retailer sans customization, hence the term "off-the-rack clothing."

In most cases, an off-the-rack suit won't fit you perfectly and will require additional tailoring. You will also be limited to the patterns, styles, and fabrics the retailer has on hand.


For men’s fashion, the term “pleats” generally refers to the fabric folds on dress pants that are created by the material doubling over itself. Pleats add some visual flair to an outfit.

Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses in sunglasses protect the wearer’s eyes from light that reflects off of different surfaces, such as snow, water, asphalt, and any other reflective surface.

Model wearing Joseph Abboud Black Round Double-Brow Bar Sunglasse

Quartz Watches

Unlike mechanical and automatic watches, quartz watches rely on a battery for power. They're named after the small piece of quartz inside the watch that helps conduct and regulate the electrical current.


The more common of the two types of suits, a single-breasted suit has only one row of buttons down the front. The single-breasted style is also commonly found on sports jackets and blazers.


This relaxed or casual type of dress pant is typically purchased off-the-rack.


These formal dress pants are tailored to the wearer’s specific measurements. They usually feature belt loops, a structured waistband, and fly-front construction.


The lower-back portion of a suit jacket that creates additional freedom of movement for the wearer.

Watch Complications

These small features inside the watch casing offer more information than the time. For example, some watch complications involve displaying the date or additional time zones. 


In men’s dress shirts, a yoke is the section of the shirt connecting the shirt to the shoulders. 

Elevate Your Style with Joseph Abboud

At Joseph Abboud, we offer an excellent selection of core pieces that cater exclusively to men’s fashion, including bespoke garments and fine fragrances. Shop our collection today to get started.

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