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178 Ways to Describe Women’s Clothing

There are so many terms for women’s clothing, they boggle the mind–dolmen sleeves, pencil skirt, choker, colorblock. The best conjure up colorful images that share with a few words a glorious picture that sticks in your mind as the character walks through the scene.

Unfortunately, they don’t always come to mind as you’re writing. Not to worry. I collected them for myself and will share them with you. Please add any others you use in your writing. There’s no way my list can be exhaustive when we’re discussing women’s outfits.

Flared skirt

clothing

Photo credit: Länsmuseet Gävleborg

Pleated

Skirts:

Floral print

A-line

Knee-length

Jeans skirt,

mini

pencil skirt

gored skirt

tulip skirt

wrap skirt

Blouses:

peasant blouse

baby doll

Maxi

Printed flounce Georgette

Tiered skirt

Crinkle skirt

pin tucked

fitted shirt

oxford shirt

camp shirt

split neck tunic

logo t

camisole

tank top

beaded tank

kimono

rib-knit turtleneck

halter top

bodysuit

flutter sleeve tunic

silk blouson top

ruffled silk blouse

oversized silk blouse

silk peasant top

off-the-shoulder top

tuxedo blouse

off-the-shoulder top

v-neck shell

safari vest

appliqué

dolmen sleeves

three-quarter sleeves

cap sleeve

Henley sleeves

double-breasted

balloon-sleeves

shell

pullover

Dresses:

Cocktail dress

Mini dress

Jacquard sheath

Sheath dress

Essential little black dress

Empire waist silk dress

Shirtdress

Sweater dress

Bias-cut dress

Sequined mini

Micro mini

Halter dress

Fabric:

Plaidclothing descriptors

Tweed

Color block

Ponte knit

Box pleat

Chiffon

Jersey

Crepe

Linen

Silk

Tweed

Velour

leather

suede

Polka dot

Pintuck

embroidered

Floral

Appearance:

Wrap

empire waist

sharktail hem

fringed

french cuff

bib front

layered look

colorblock

beaded

drop waist

split neck

ribbed

Shirred

Shirred waist

button tab

chain trim

paisley

smocked

French-ribbed

Pants:

Leggings

Skinny jeans

Tight-legged jeans

Wide-leg

Straight-leg

High-waisted pants

Color-washed jeans

Boot cut jeans

Leather pants

Cropped pants

Stretch pants

banded bottom

cuffed legs

Capris

Cuffed pants

Neckline:clothing descriptors

Braided scoopneck

Ruched sleeve

flutter sleeve

cowlneck

v-neck

crew neck

Mock turtle neck

Wing collar

Shawl collar

Notch collar

ruffled

draped

t-back

smocked boatneck

Jewelry:

Hoop earrings

Studs

Clip

Crop earrings

Diamond studs

Cameo necklace

Bangle

Pendant necklace

Choker

Pearl necklace

Tennis bracelet

charm bracelet

cuff bracelet

toggle bracelet

link bracelet

Shoes:

sling-back open toed shoes

pumps

flats

Uggs

Ballet flats

Thong sandals

Windslow sandals

Sequin pumps

Platforms sandals

Platform pumps

Ankle boots

Western boots

Peep-toe pumps

Wedge sandals

Mules

Clogs

Oxfords

Loafers

Skimmers

Jelly sandals

Mary Jane’s

Moccasins

Bow flats

Hepburn flats

Dressy sandals

Persia sandals

Evening sandals

t-strap sandals

Garbo sandals

slide sandals

Birkenstocks

Sweaters:

bell-sleeve jacket

open front cardigan

shaker sweater,

cable knit sweater

cardigan

light-weight cardigan

bolero cardigan

Purses:

patchwork tote

patent bag

satchel bag

hobo bag

clutch

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49 thoughts on “178 Ways to Describe Women’s Clothing

  1. More colorful and full of variety. My main character in my second novel is a man, and making him come to life was a challenge. Of course, the women I created around him helped. :-)

  2. Thank you so much for this! I’m not a fashion-obsessed person and I don’t know much about what or how to call what we wear. (As long as I can wear it, I wear it… so why bother asking what it’s called?) But unfortunately, I do need to know what they’re called for the stories I write. Haha!

  3. Maybe I missed it, I just kinda scanned over, but what are those shirts that show your stomach? Isn’t it like ‘midriff top’ or something?

  4. This is so great! I always have such trouble with clothing descriptions and with your advice i can at the very least find some pictures of the clothes and have a more clear vision myself. so thanks.

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  7. I had great hopes when I saw your descriptions of women’s clothing. i bought a light weight sweater that my husband of 41 years has remarked about at least three times. When he describes me as “stunning” at this point in our marriage, I would love to extract that same response with other tops, I cannot find a description of this type of women’s wear. I will descrbe it and see if you or anyone has a name for it,. Then I will be able to shop for it on the internet. The sweater is loose fitting, comes over one shoulder, crosses the chest and is attached to the wide waistband which sits rather low on my hips.. Then the other shoulder piece does the same in the opposit direction. So the front of the sweater forms a v neck by crisscrossing the chest and fits loosely around the ribs. Can you help? I still like it when my husband gives me one of those emphatic compliments.

  8. Just a thought…but what about maxi dress, maxi skirt, Buffalo plaid? Maybe these could be added to your list. It’s great though! I needed it to help write a script for a fashion show my church is hosting.

  9. I think I’ll never be able to comprehend the complexities of women. There are so many skirts, blouses, dresses, sweaters, etc. and all the combinations. The man’s point of view is much more simple. If clothes are important to her, let her tell him what she is wearing. All the color combinations really don’t make him desire her more or less. The important question is not about how she’s dressed but if.

    • Haha. Which is why this list will help. When you’re writing, if your audience is female, a nod toward these will help explain your character’s appearance. Unless you’re always in a male POV.

  10. Lyrical, Jacqui!
    Playsuits, crop tops, winkle-pickers (shoes) & bikinis for your delectation. Don’t even start me on haircuts (bob, crimp, beehive, shingle, crop, pixie, shag…..).
    Love your curation sensibility.
    Sam

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