Welcome to Bespoke Unit’s Suit Glossary.

With over 100 suiting-related terms, you’ll find definitions here, as well as links to further information on select topics.

How To Use Our Suit Glossary

Find A Term: Click on any letter in the “Alphabet Key” below in order to jump to that letter’s section in the glossary.

Learn A New Term: You may come across a new word or phrase while reading a definition. Click on any word or phrase that is linked for a full definition.

Explore Suit Topics: “Learn More” sections appear after many definitions, allowing you to read an in-depth resource on the topic.

Anything Missing? If you can’t find the word you’re after, just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!

Tuxedo Jacket getting tailors pins inserted

Select a letter below to jump down to its entries!



A type of three-button, single-breasted jacket in which the top buttonhole is technically functional, but not intended to be buttoned. Common on sport coats, particularly preppy ones.


A double-breasted button stance in which there are four total buttons, one of which is functional. Also known as a “Kent” model.


A double-breasted button stance in which there are four total buttons, two of which are functional.


A double-breasted button stance in which there are six total buttons, one of which is functional.


A double-breasted button stance in which there are six total buttons, one of which is functional.


A Dente

See notch lapel.


Sometimes referred to as “furnishings” in higher-end menswear circles, this term refers to anything in a tailored outfit that isn’t jacket, trousers, shirt, or shoes. Examples include ties, belts, pocket squares, braces, cufflinks, and the like.

Alteration Hand

A professional specializing in making modifications to existing articles of clothing, rather than creating garments from scratch. See bushelman.


A term that refers to the wide ends of a tie, both front and back. American in origin.


Perhaps the most popular tartan in existence, this is a multi-colored diamond pattern, often with an overplaid called a “raker” pattern. Commonly found on socks and sweaters or jumpers.


An Italian fabric mill headquartered near Naples. Known for high quality and fabrics that often appeal to the dandy set.


A corruption of the phrase “arm’s eye,” this refers to the armhole of the jacket.


A type of tie with square ends of equal width. Typically worn for formal daytime wear. The name comes from Ascot Heath, the English racetrack where it was first worn.

Learn More: Ascot Tie Guide




A stuffed cloth pad on which a tailor works his/her cloth.


Adjustment of the lengths of the front and back panels of a jacket so that they sit harmoniously in relation to the wearer’s posture.

Band Collar

A shirt or jacket collar which stands up straight instead of turning down. Because of this, it lacks collar points.

Learn More: Dress Shirt Collar Styles


Piece of wood with a handle used to draw out steam and smooth cloth during ironing.


An Italian term that refers to the curved breast pocket often found on suits from that country. Means “little boat.”

Barrel Cuff

The most commonly found shirt cuff style. A single cuff attached with a button and buttonhole.


To sew loosely together with long, easy-to-remove threads so that a garment can be temporarily held together to be tried on. Used in the full custom process to perfect the customer’s pattern.

Basted Fitting

An intermediary fitting (often the second of three) during the bespoke or custom process.


A style of bow tie with two narrow ends of equal width. One of the most popular bow tie silhouettes.

Belt Loops

Self-colored pieces of fabric sewn onto the outside of a trouser waistband to keep a belt in place.


A material commonly used in jacket linings. Often mistaken for silk, it is in fact the trade name of the unusually fine Cupramonium rayon first produced in the early twentieth century. However, it is still a high-end fabric.

Bengal Stripe

A common shirt pattern with stripes of equal width in two colors, typically white with something else. So called because they originally shipped to world markets from Bengal, India.


A flapless pocket with a welt found on jackets our trousers. Often referred to as “besom pockets” and also known as “jet pockets.”


Term referring to a garment that has been made almost entirely by hand based on a pattern created exclusively for the customer, often with the stipulation that 50 hours of handwork are necessary to earn the title “bespoke”. The Savile Row Bespoke Association also states that the suit must be made on or around Savile Row itself to be considered truly bespoke.

Derived from the phrase “been spoken for,” in reference to a particular cloth.

Learn More: Bespoke Suit Guide


A garment is said to be “cut on the bias” when the a woven fabric is cut at a 45-degree angle. Any necktie worth buying is cut on the bias as this allows the tie to knot properly, stay resilient after many tyings and untyings, and avoid twisting when hanging around the neck.


A fabric pattern of small repeating circle or diamond shapes which resemble the eye of a bird.

Learn More: Suit Patterns: Birdseye

Bi-Swing Back

Found in casual sport jackets, these have vertical inverted pleats running from shoulder to waistline on each side of the back. Often paired with a stitched-on half belt in back.

Learn More: Sports Jackets

Black Tie

A formal dress code for functions later than 6 p.m.

Learn More: Guide To The Black Tie Dress Code

Black Watch

A classic tartan that, interestingly, involves navy and green (not black). Serves as a blazer option in addition to solid navy. Named after The Black Watch (or Black Guard), who were a group of Scotsmen hired by the king of England as a way to control rebellious Scottish clans. Now the uniform tartan of the British Army’s 42nd Highland Regiment.

Learn More: Guide to Plaid Patterns


A British term indicating extra fullness at the jacket’s shoulder blades or the the broader apron of a necktie. Also refers to the ends of a bow tie.

Learn More: Guide to Necktie Terminology


A solid-colored odd jacket with metal buttons, the archetype of which is a navy 6×2 DB. Based on the reefer jacket, it has nautical origins and was originally used as wear for regattas and were so bold that they were referred to as a “blaze” of color.

Block Pattern

A pre-made pattern that is used to create standardized garments, either mass-produced or made-to-measure.


A length of wool cloth from the loom. Ranges in size from 50-70 meters long and 32-60 inches wide.

Learn More: All of our resources on suit fabrics


A flower (real or fake) that sits in the lapel buttonhole of a jacket. Often worn by wedding parties and dandier men.

Learn More: Learn when to wear a boutonnière

Box pleat

Found on the center of the yoke of some dress shirts, this is a small section surrounded by two pleats on either side that allows further room for movement.

Bow tie

Neckwear that is tied around the collar like a bow using the same technique as tying a shoelace. The only appropriate option for semi-formal and formal dress codes, and stereotypically worn by those wishing to appear professorial.

Learn More: How to wear, buy, and make a bowtie


A British term that refers to what Americans call “suspenders.” Sartorially correct braces are pieces of fabric (sometimes silk, sometimes not) that sit on the shoulders and attach to the trousers’ waistband via buttons to hold them up. Clip-on braces are incorrect.

Learn More: Guide to wearing braces


A tailoring term that refers to the amount of pant that sits atop the wearer’s shoe when finished. Breaks can be anything from non-existent to large depending on the wearer’s personal preferences and frame.

Learn More: How trousers should fit, including break


A shirting weave that yields a smooth, lustrous finished fabric free of ornamentation. Also found in undergarments.


A tailor’s workbench.


A length of wool cloth from the loom. Ranges in size from 50-70 meters long and 32-60 inches wide.

Learn More: Learn about wool suit fabric


A very pale brown or tan color, appearing in, e.g, morning coats.

Learn More: Guide to morning dress, including morning coats


A dark red, nearly brown, taking its name from the French wine.


A tailor who performs alterations and repairs but doesn’t make clothes.


A bow tie silhouette with flared ends. Makes a wide bow that resembles butterfly wings.

Learn More: Bow Tie Styles


A circular piece of material that fastens two sides of a jacket, trousers, or waistcoat. Commonly made in horn, mother-of-pearl, plastic, wood, corozo, and leather.

Button-down Collar

Popularized by Brooks Brothers, this is a type of shirt collar in which the collar points button to the shirt itself. A more casual shirt, it requires longer collar points to achieve a handsome “roll.”

Learn More: Read about button-down collars and other collar styles

Button Stance

Refers to both the number of buttons on a jacket or waistcoat and their placement relative to the wearer’s navel.

Learn More: What Is Button Stance & Why It’s Important

Buttonhole Guard

A piece of thread woven into the backside of a jacket’s lapel to keep a boutonniere in place.




A material used in between a jacket’s lining and outer fabric to give it shape and longevity. Often made of horse hair and linen.


A fine wool from the undercoat of the long-haired Kashmir goat. Woolen cashmere is used for sweaters and casual jackets, whereas worsted cashmere is used for suitings and sport coats. A rare fiber with an exceptional hand.

Cash Pocket

See ticket pocket.

Center Back

A tailoring term that refers to the point of a jacket immediately below the center of its collar. Often corresponds with the wearer’s first vertebrae.

Center Vent

A single vent in the back of a jacket. Traditionally used for sport coats as opposed to suits, as the vent opens conveniently when on horseback.

Learn More: Sport coat guide, including the anatomy of different styles

Chalk Stripe

A pattern often found on heavier-weight and flannel suitings; thick vertical stripes that look as if they were drawn on with tailor’s chalk.


A pattern of squares.

Learn More: Suit Patterns: Checks


A pattern that uses v-shapes that are both interlocking and horizontally adjacent. This gives it a zig-zag appearance when viewed close up, distinct from herringbone.


Synonym for “fabric.”


Abbreviation of “cut, make, and trim,” which refers to the labor portion of suit making price structures (the other portion being cloth).


A suit jacket.

Coin Pocket

A small trouser pocket that sits flush against the bottom of the right side of the waistband. Made for holding coins but is mostly decorative.


The portion of a jacket that sits around the back of the wearer’s neck against a shirt collar.

Collar Spread

The degree of space in between the collars points at their longest point. Can range from narrow to cutaway.

Learn More: Learn about shirt collar types and when to pick each

Con Rollino

An Italian term describing a type of Neopolitan suit shoulder which has a narrow, slightly puckered sleeve head and is typically left unpadded. See also: pagoda shoulder.


The specific method by which a suit is made: fused, half canvas, or full canvas.


One of the world’s most common textiles, this is used in everything from underwear and socks to shirts and warm-weather suits. Derived from the cotton plant.

Cravate Noire

See black tie.


The vertical line that runs from a trouser’s thigh down to them hem. Ideally, it will bisect your knee.

Learn More: How your trousers should fit


The part of the trouser at which both inseams meet. Also referred to as the “fork.”


The top of the sleeve head.

Cuff (pants)

“Turn ups” in British English, this refers to trouser bottoms whose material has been folded over onto itself. Typically 1.25″ thick, they add weight to trouser bottoms and aide in their drape.

Cuff (shirts)

The part of a shirt that surrounds the wrist. Available in many styles.

Learn More: Learn about the different shirt cuff styles


A wide sash worn around the waist with black tie attire, under the dinner jacket.

Learn More: Cummerbunds Guide


A suit making process similar to bespoke insofar as it requires full canvas construction and a customer-exclusive pattern, but doesn’t necessarily require a minimum level of handwork.

Learn More: What is a custom suit, and how do you get one?


A term that refers to an extremely spread collar. Often, the spread will be 180 degrees.

Learn More: Our in-depth guide to shirt collars


A clothing professional who takes clients’ initial measurements and then creates a paper pattern from which the cloth is cut or “struck.”




A seam created on a jacket or shirt front to give it additional shape.

Learn More: What parts of a dress shirt can be altered?

Diamond Tip

A bow tie silhouette in which the ends are similar to the shape of a diamond.

Learn More: How To Make A Bow Tie, including a pattern for a diamond tip bow tie


The indentation directly underneath a necktie’s knot. In addition to helping hold the knot in place, a dimple is a symbol of a well-tied tie and adds an element of dash to the ensemble.

Learn More: Why is the tie dimple important?

Dinner Clothes

A British term referring to what Americans call a “tuxedo.” Denotes evening semi-formal wear.

Dinner Jacket

British English for black tie attire. Known in America as a “tuxedo.”

Learn More: A Guide To Tuxedos


A tweed originally from County Donegal, Ireland. Characterized by small nubs of color in the weave.

Learn More: Types of tweed


A British fabric mill that works with custom clothiers worldwide.


A common pattern in menswear, often found in ties and socks.


A type of jacket in which one front panel covers up a great deal of the other when worn. Classically worn with side vents and peak lapels.

Double Cuff

Also known as a “French cuff,” these are shirt cuffs that fold back onto themselves and require cufflinks to fasten.

Learn More: Our guide to wearing double cuffs

Dove Grey

A medium grey, variously with a touch of red or blue, which is a traditional color for morning coats.

Dress (right or left)

A tailoring term that indicates the side to which a trouser’s wearer chooses to place his genitals. Back when trousers were often high-waisted, tailors would build a bit more room into the side of the client’s choosing so that he would be comfortable and avoid having an overly-long rise. Most men dress on the left.

Learn More: All you need to know about trouser fit, inside and out


A ready-to-wear suit term used to denote the mathematical difference between the jacket’s chest measurement and the trouser’s waist measurement. In the United States, this is generally six inches.


Eighth Lining

A minimalist way to line a jacket in which only the front of each jacket panel is lined. Best for warm-weather suits.

English Back

A trouser style in which the back side of the waistband curves up higher than the front and includes a notch in the center. Made to be worn exclusively with braces and is ideal with a waistcoat. Sometimes called a fishtail back.


A military detail on coats and some shirts, this is a strap that runs parallel to the trapezoid at the shoulder.


A Spanish corruption of the word “smoking.” Refers to a smoking jacket.

Eton Collar

Also known as a “club collar,” this is a shirt collar style that features relatively short, curved points.

Eyelet Collar

A shirt collar style with holes (eyelets) in both collar points. Made to be worn with a tie bar.

Learn More: Resources on shirt collars




An extra piece of fabric on a garment’s edge which protects and hides the seams. An example would be the lapels and pockets of a tuxedo.


Also known as side-tabs, these are found on trousers with no belt loops as a tightening mechanism. Traditionally seen on tuxedo trousers.


A nubby wool material often used in the undercollar of a jacket to give it shape retention.


In a step collar, a small-size notch.

Learn More: What Is The Notch Lapel?


A type of trouser back with two raised peaks where the buttons fasten. See also English back.


A heavyweight, nubby wool found on winter suitings and some casual shirts.

Flat Front

A style of trouser without pleats.

Forward Pleats

Trouser pleats that face the fly. Also know as inward pleats.


A twill cloth for neckwear or scarves. Worn as a dandier, less dressy alternative to neckties.


A simple necktie knot that yields a smaller, more asymmetrical knot.

Learn More: Learn to tie a four-in-hand


A covering for the mouth of a pocket.

French Facing

A facing that is part of the same piece of fabric as the lapel. This is common in both unlined and partially-lined jackets.

French Fly

In trousers, an interior button tab which releases tension from the main buttons and zipper of the fly.


A braided ornamental closure occasionally appearing on dinner jackets and traditional military dress uniforms.

Full Canvas

The highest quality (and most expensive) suit construction method in which the canvas interlining extends the entire length of the jacket, giving it better longevity and drape.

Fused Canvas

The lowest quality (and least expensive) suit construction method in which the canvas is glued to the fabric and is often only found in the chest area.


A term that refers to gluing two pieces of a garment together. Saves time and money but sacrifices quality.




Tightly-woven woolen or cotton fabric with a diagonal rib texture on one side, using more warp than weft yarns. Because of its toughness, tailors use this as lining when heavy wear is expected, such as in pockets.

Learn More: Men’s Suit Fabric Types


A cotton fabric of medium weight, especially in a check or plaid pattern.

Glen Plaid

A 4×4 and 2×2 color effect often found in sport coats.


The place at which a jacket’s collar and lapel meet. Gorge height (or placement relative the the collarbone) changes with fashion every decade or so.


A fabric with a significantly heavier weft than warp, resulting in a ribbed appearance. Dinner jacket facings and morning coat hems feature this fabric, while various other coats use it in hems and edges.

Gun Flap

An extra thickness of fabric added to a jacket to minimize the recoil from firing a shotgun. Nowadays used solely for aesthetic purposes.


A fabric section inserted at the seam of a garment to allow for more strength and ease of movement. Typically an indicator of higher-quality shirt making.


Hacking Jacket

A longer-than-regular length tweed jacket made for horseback riding (“hack” is short for “hackney,” which was a horse used for ordinary everyday riding, not racing or hunting). Traditionally features a raised waistline to allow for greater flair at the hip to make sitting on a horse easier. Also has a deep center vent and a three- or four-buttoned single-breasted front with hacking pockets.

Hacking Pocket

A slanted pocket; theoretically easier to access while on horseback.

Half Back

A tailoring term that refers to the distance between a jacket’s center seam and where its side and sleeve seams intersect.


A jacket construction technique in which the chest area uses a stitched floating chest piece in lieu of fused canvas, and the lower portion of the jacket utilizes fused canvas. A halfway point between fused and full canvas, it’s commonly seen on made-to-measure suits and high-end ready-to-wear suits.

Half Lining

A lining technique in which a suit jacket is only lined along the shoulder blades and down each side panel. Allows for greater ventilation and is popular on spring and summer suitings.

Half Windsor

A necktie knot that yields a larger, more symmetrical knot than a four-in-hand but not as large as a full Windsor.

Learn More: Our guide to tying a half windsor


Synonymous with “handle,” this refers to how a garment feels in your hand.


A piece of cotton, linen, or silk that belongs in a jacket’s breast pocket. The saying, “One for blowin’, one for showin'” refers to keeping one in your breast pocket for show and another one on you to blow your nose, offer to a lady, or perhaps clean up blood from a fancy bar fight.


A spool totaling 560 yards of yarn. “Super” numbers used to classify wool are determined by the number of hanks that can be spun from one pound of raw wool. The thinner/finer the fibers, the more hanks can be spun from it, thus the Super number increases.


See hand.

Harris Tweed

A popular tweed created in the Outer Hebrides Islands of Scotland.

Learn More: What are the different types of tweed?

Head Forward

A tailoring term that refers to someone with stooped posture. The back of a jacket may have to be lengthened for a customer with this bodily idiosyncrasy.

Learn More: How to account for posture in your wardrobe

Heel Guard

A strip of fabric sewn to the insides of trouser bottoms to give them additional weight and thus improved drape.


An edge of a piece of fabric that folds back and is sewn down.


A pattern consisting of interlocking v-shapes, but distinct from chevron weave. In herringbone, each V is vertically offset from the horizontally adjacent V. Similarly to houndstooth, herringbone is a twill weave.

Learn More: Suit Patterns: Herringbone

Holland and Sherry

A British fabric mill that works with custom clothiers worldwide.


A material for buttons.


A twill pattern that uses broken checks resembling diagonally-oriented teeth.

Learn More: Suit Patterns: Houndstooth




A portion of extra fabric inside a garment’s seam, which facilitates modification when adjustments are necessary.


A separate lining between both the outer fabric and normal lining. Tailors use this in order to add support, preserving the garment’s shape and making it more robust.


The trouser measurement from the fork in the crotch down to the hem. When RTW brands refer to trouser length, they are referencing inseam (as opposed to outseam). Also refers to the a jacket sleeve’s measurement from armpit to hem.



Any motif or intricately woven fabric, such as brocade or damask. Named after Joseph Marie Jacquard, the Frenchman who invented the loom that created it.


A garment that covers the torso and arms, the top half of a suit. In Britain, suit jackets are referred to as coats.

Jet Pocket

A pocket with no flaps. See also besom pocket.

Jigger Button

The inside button of a double-breasted jacket used to help keep the jacket in place while buttoned.



See 4×1.


Buttonhole consisting of a long slit with a round opening at the end, in order to minimize fabric distortion.


A tailoring term used to describe the circumference of the trouser’s knee area. This area can also be determined by halving the inseam and measuring two inches up from that.



Flaps of fabric that fold back from the front edge on the chest of a garment.


A warm-weather textile that comes from a flax plant; breathes as easily as it wrinkles. Also a term used for how much shirt cuff is shown when wearing a jacket, i.e. “Show a half inch of linen.”


Material used to line the inside of a garment. Is often silk, Bemberg, or another synthetic material such as polyester or viscose. Cotton linings are less common.

Lounge Suit

The early name for what we now know as a business suit. It was so named because business wear at that time consisted of striped trousers and a cutaway coat, a type of morning coat, making our “suit” a casual option by comparison.




A suit construction technique in which a block pattern is altered (typically by a CAD system) to accommodate a customer’s measurements before the garment is made. Typically offers superior fit to an off-the-rack suit but inferior fit to a custom or bespoke one.


Wool from the Australian sheep of the same name. Considered to be high quality but less expensive than cashmere.


A suiting fabric with excellent wrinkle resistance, recovery, and bite. Comes from an angora goat and is ideal for summer wear. Derived from the Arabic word mukhayyar and later corrupted into “mockhaire.”


A cotton fabric with a thick, soft nap that simulates mole fur. Often found in trousers and odd jackets.

Morning Coat

A formal single-breasted coat with peak lapels and with tails in the back, chiefly worn as part of morning dress.

Morning Dress

A dress code for formal weddings; another term for this is “formal day dress.” Includes a tailcoat, as well as a top hat.


Natural Shoulder

A jacket’s shoulder expression in which the garment’s shoulder follows the line of the body’s, typically with minimal padding.


The long tie that nearly every man owns. Every man in the Western world should own at least one.


A hip-length tailored coat with a Mandarin collar. Modelled on the Indian sherwani (also known as “achkan“), a garment worn by Jawaharlal Nehru, a former Indian Prime Minister.

Notch Lapel

See step collar. Also “notched lapel.”



A sartorial term referring to the concept of intentional mismatching. An odd jacket doesn’t match its trousers, an odd vest doesn’t match its suit, and so on. Appropriate for casual endeavors.


A term referring to ready-made clothing that can be purchased and worn right “off the rack.” The least expensive way to manufacture and sell clothes, off-the-rack suits were practically invented by Brooks Brothers in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. See also: ready-to-wear.

Onseam Pockets

Pockets that lie directly next to or on a seam. Typically refers to a trouser’s front pockets that lay directly next to the outseams.


The long seam on the outside of a trouser leg or jacket sleeve.



Pagoda Shoulder

See con rollino


An intricate design that suggests a swirling pine cone pattern. Often found in neckwear and socks.

Patch Pockets

A jacket style in which the pockets are created by sewing a patch of fabric to the outside as opposed to having the pockets rest inside the garment accessed by the pocket mouth. Considered a more casual style, patch pockets can take flaps or be flapless.


A paper representation of a suit’s measurements. A pattern is laid onto a bolt of fabric, traced in tailor’s chalk, and cut (or “struck”) into the various elements of a suit. There are patterns for jackets, trousers, waistcoats, etc. Ready-to-wear and made-to-measure clothes utilize block (pre-made), whereas custom and bespoke tailors create custom patterns for each of their clients after taking their measurements.

Peak Lapel

A lapel style in which the lapel juts outward and upward toward the shoulder. Typical of evening wear, morning dress, and non-business suits.

Perkins Devices

Equipment used by tailors to determine a customer’s posture, shoulder slopes, sleeve pitch, and other bodily irregularities.

Learn More: What are bodily irregularities, and how do I dress for them?

Pick Stitch

A line of stitching at the edges of lapels, collars, and jacket hems. Formerly a sign of a custom suit, now a common aesthetic detail. May be set 1/16″, 1/8″, or 1/4″ off of a hem, with more space corresponding to a more casual look.


Also tartan. A pattern of overlapping lengthwise and crosswise bands.

Learn More: Suit Patterns: Plaid


A piece of fabric folded over itself in an accordion fashion. typical of men’s trouser fronts, they allow more space for the hips, especially when sitting.


The distance from a jacket’s shoulder seam to the other. Used by made-to-measure, custom, and bespoke clothiers, it is a crucial measurement as altering jacket shoulders is quite time-consuming.


The degree to which the head sits forward or backward. May be regular, stooped (head sits forward, perhaps hunchbacked), or erect (head sits back, spine curves inward).


A French term referring to ready-to-wear clothing. Has a luxury connotation.



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