Nineteenth Century Fashion Terminology

Armscye: Circular opening into which set-in sleeve is sewn.

Basque: Fitted bodice or jacket with short hip-length flared skirt.

Bishop Sleeve: Full cut long sleeve gathered into a cuff.

Blonde: Fine silk lace, usually cream in color but also made in black.

Bodice: Upper portion of garment, usually made to fit body.

Bretelles: Bodice trim consisting of bands of fabric tapered from greatest width at shoulder to nothing at waist and generally meeting at waist center front and back.

Cadet Style: A fashion in women’s dress where the dress front was buttoned at the top button and the lower torso, leaving an open oval over the chemisette.

Chemisette: Plain or ornamented white sleeveless underbodice covering neck, shoulders, and breast and worn to show above dress neckline.

Corset: Garment made to support, shape, and constrict the upper body.

Epaulettes: Oversleeve caps set into armscye.

Habit front: A style of women’s dress where the neckline is open very deeply and worn over a chemisette.

Mitt, Mitten: A fingerless glove knitted, netted, or crocheted of dark thread and worn for dress.

Pelerine: A cape-collar, usually near elbow length, with or without long ends at front; either made to match a dress or of sheer white fabric or of lace.

Whitework: White-on-white work, distinguished by patterns of small holes outlined in buttonhole stitch.