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Welcome to the Clothing Cove!

Fashion Tips From The Experts At InStyle


If you've got a closet full of neutrals—be they navy, black, camel, or gray—add energy with boldly hued shoes and bags. Not only is a hunter green satchel more lively than ho-hum black, but it's also surprisingly versatile. Feeling really brave? Wear a neutral base with shoes and a bag in two different complementary colors.


Take a cue from Jackie O, who had a closet full of sheath dresses. If you find an especially flattering fit right off the rack, go ahead and buy doubles. When it works, why question it?


The secret formula for a soft but formfitting T? 95% cotton, 5% Lycra spandex. For jeans to hold their shape, they need at least 2% Lycra.


"The biggest mistake women make is wearing pants that aren't the right length for their shoes," says stylist Kate Young. To fix this, hem to either heels or flats—no going back. Generally, hems should just graze the tops of your shoes and be from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch off the floor.


It's the ultimate accessory according to a host of the best-dressed women we interviewed. Stash one in your purse or carry-on to transform simple Ts in the time it takes to make a knot.


A dressy bag with a chain helps you hold crudités and a cocktail—plus, it lends a cool edge to evening wear, says stylist Cher Coulter. Wear the chain diagonally across your body for the best effect.


"Once you know which silhouettes flatter you, filter trends ruthlessly," says designer Shoshanna Gruss. For instance, if you're petite and shapely, it's best to avoid tall columns and billowy maxis even if you love them. Go for a dress with a defined waist and just-above-the-knee hem.


100 Essential Fashion Terms

  ACETATE (FABRIC) Fiber which is man-made from cellulose acetate. Acetate drapes well, has a silk-like appearance, and resists wrinkles and fading. Used for dress and coat linings, blouses, lingerie, shoe linings and backing on bonded fabric.
  ACTION BACK Used to describe the extra fullness worked into the back of a jacket, coat or dress from shoulder blades to waist usually in the form of pleats, to permit freedom of movement.
  A-LINE Term introduced in 1955 by Paris couturier Christian Dior to describe apparel styled close and narrow at the shoulders and flaring gently away from the body from under arms to hem-resembling letter A. One of the most popular silhouettes used for coats and dresses.
  ANGORA Soft fuzzy yarn made from under hair of angora rabbit; popular for sweaters and knits
  ANTIQUE FINISH Finish applied to leather givies a shaded effect by dyeing, buffing, wrinkling, waxing and oiling the surface to resemble old leather.
  APPLIQUE Surface pattern made by cutting out fabric or lace designs and attaching them to another fabric or lace by means of embroidery or stitching. Also refers to applied leather designs on shoes and handbags
  ARGYLE Diamond-shaped plaid pattern with narrow over-plaid superimposed in several colors. Popular for hand or machine knitted socks and sweaters. Derived from Tartan of Duke of Argyle and Clan Campbell of Argyll, a county in West Scotland.
  ART DECO Geometric non-representational style of jewelry and fabric design popular in late 1920's. Inspired by Exposition International des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris,1925.
  ASYMMETRIC Principle of informal balance, rather than formal balance, with each side of the garment offering a different silhouette. Garments may be draped to one side, have uneven hemlines, side closings, or cover only one shoulder.
  AVANT-GARDE Forward thinking or advanced. When referring to art or costume, sometimes implies erotic or startling. Derived from French: "advance guard"
  AVIATOR Adjective used for clothing and accessories used by pilots and adopted for general use. Stylings found in glasses, helmets and jackets.
  BALLERINA-LENGTH SKIRT Calf-length full skirt in gored, gathered, or flared style, used mainly for evening dresses. Adapted from skirts worn by ballet dancers.
  BAROQUE Art and decorative style in the 17th and first half of 18th Centuries, characterized by heavy ornate curves and excessive ornamentation. Term is mainly applied to jewelry and embroidery designs.
  BASQUE Early 20th Century term which refers to a women's waist-length jacket or dress that fits tightly through the waist and rib cage.
  BATIK Method of dyeing fabric by drawing the design on silk or cotton, then covering with hot wax all areas which are to remain white, dyeing, and removing wax- resulting in a pattern with a crackled effect; this process originated in Indonesia.
  BELLOWS SLEEVE Full Sleeve, gathered into cuff at wrist, with vertical slit from upper arm to below elbow.
  BIAS CUT Manner of cutting diagonally across grain of fabric, resulting in a garment that clings and follows body curves closely.
  BI-SWING Suit or sport jacket with set- in belt in back and deep pleats extending upward to each shoulder to give freedom of movement. Has single- breasted closing and conventional notched collar with lapels.
  BLENDING Fur-industry term for lightly applying dye to tips of hairs of furs, such as mink and sable, to improve the coloring.
  BOARDED FINISH Leather finish that makes the grain of the leather more pronounced. Hand-processed by folding the leather with grain sides together and rolling it back and forth while pressing it with a cork board.
  BOLERO Waist or rib-length jacket, open in front, with or without sleeves, often embroidered; first became popular at end of 19th Century.
  BOUCLE Fabric characterized by a looped or nubbed surface caused by using boucle yarn in the filling. Yarn may be a different color, texture, or fiber from the warp making an interesting two-toned effect. Made in wool, cotton, or combinations of fibers, either knitted or woven.
  BROCADE Classification of fabric woven on the Jacquard loom giving design a raised appearance. Design is usually satin weave with background in satin, rib, or plain weave. Made with all types of yarns including gold, silver, silk, rayon, cotton, acetate, or man-made fibers.
  BRUSHED WOOL Extremely soft knitted or woven fabric. Made of loosely twisted yarns brushed to form the nap. Also, used to describe wool which has been brushed or cleaned while still attached to the pelt.
  BURNT-OUT FABRIC Fabric of lace made on the Jacquard loom with two different yarns-one forming the pattern and part of the ground- the other the ground. When printed with chemicals, one of the sets of yarns is dissolved, leaving a lacy pattern on a sheer ground. Brocaded effects on velvet can be made by destroying part of the pile and permitting the rest to remain. Also called etched-out fabric or burnt-out print.
  BUSTIER Dress or top made in strapless style which is held in place by boning, elastic, or stretch knit fabrics.