Fashion Vocabulary
Language Resources

Fashion Vocabulary

Spain is important when it comes to fashion. How many Spanish or Latino designers do you know? We’re sure you’ve been to clothing stores with clothes exclusively from Spain and made in Spain? And don’t you know of at least two international cat walks located in Spain? Because of all of this, we’ve decided to share some vocabulary related to the world of fashion with you that we think you should know.

Adlib: More widely known as “Ibizan style,” this style is characterizes by lots of white and a stylized hippies aesthetic. Although it sounds like English, its origin is Spanish and it comes from the Latin “Ad libitum,” or “a pleasure,” in other words “dress how you like but with style.”

Rebeca: In Spain, this woman’s name is also used for a light, knit sweater, that’s open in the front, or a cardigan. Why this name? It comes from the movie Rebecca, in which the protagonist wore this garment. The funny thing is that the protagonist was not even named Rebeca (the common spelling of which in Spanish only has one “c”).

Americana: This is the typical jacket with lapels and buttons that hits below the hip. In Spain, they started to be called “americanas” because, even though they use a British cut, they came from the United States.

Photocall:  This is the place where, before a runway show or a distinguished party, photos are taken of famous guests as they arrive. Many Spaniards think it is an Anglicism, but in English it is actually called “step and repeat.” Where we got the word from is a real mystery.

Ganchillo: This word refers to the type of garment made using a hook and yarn. The style is very characteristic and, in the rest of the world, is called “crochet.”

Palabra de honor: This word is used in Spanish to name strapless dresses that leave the shoulders uncovered. In English they are called “strapless dresses.” Legend has it that the name in Spanish comes from the fact that the designer promised the first model who wore this type of dress that it wouldn’t fall off.

Topo (literal translation: mole): This is another word that we use in Spanish to refer to dots; the equivalent in English is “polka dot.” The name in Spanish is thought to come from the fact that the dots remind people of the holes these animals (topos or “moles” in English) make in fields as they make their underground tunnels.

Lentejuelas: This word has nothing to do with the legume cooked with chorizo (lentejas or “lentils” in English). Lentejuelas are those little metal circles sewn to accessorize dresses; the things many countries call “sequins” or “paillettes.”

As you can see fashion vocabulary is full of curiosities, but it is also practical.

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