Costume Dictionary E-F

Typical Edwardian costume with long skirt and large hat


The Edwardian (1901-1910) feminine ideal was a generous in the bosom and hips with a tiny waist. The figure was corseted into an "S" shape that threw the bust forward. Fashions of the period favored delicate fabrics and elaborate trimmings. Needlewomen of the period created magnificent lace and embroidered garments. Virtually all women of the time wore their hair long and swept up into loose buns near the top of the head. Hats tended to be very wide and sumptuously trimmed

Walking dress, 1904 from Helen of the Edwardian Age

Elizabethan court costume


Noble women of the Elizabethan period (1558-1603) were tighly corseted into elaborate gowns with low, pointed waists and very full skits worn over the wheel-like farthingale. Stiffened and wired lace collars like the one shown were common as where the jewel ornamented sleeves.

Elizabethan court gown, c. 1600 from Shakespeare's Ladies

early 1800s dress, white with long slender skirt and high waistline


"The period of Empire fashion covers Napoleon's First Empire in France (1804-1814) and the few years before. The period is notable for a relatively abrupt break with previous fashion. After only a decade or so of transition, the tight corseting, extreme skirts and luxurious fabrics of the previous age gave way to very little corseting, a straight silhouette with a high waistline and simple, very often white, fabrics.

Very fine, nearly sheer muslin dress over an opaque slip, c. 1810, from Regency Cousins

1880s skirt with apron-like draping

En Tablier

The term refers to any apron-like effect. It was widely used in the 1880s to describe a horizontally draped upper part of the skirt at sweeps back into a bustle.

Bustled day dress of c. 1885 from Augusta of the Gilded Age.

Corset cover trimmed with lace insertions

Entre Deux

Literally the term means "between two." It refers to the ribbon beading and/or lace stitched between to other fabrics to join them. Here the entre-deux is ribbon beading connecting a bit of embroidered lace to the body of a corset cover.

Elaborately decorated corset cover, c. 1905, from Nancy of the Edwardian Age

Doublet with shoulder epaulettes

Epaulets, Epaulettes

The epaulet has a military origin and is often used to give clothes a military fair. Always used in pairs - one for each shoulder - epaulets are decorative bits of fabric or braid that extend over the shoulder and make it appear somewhat wider.

Man's doublet with epaulettes from Shakespeare's Ladies.

Short cape made of white fur with a few scattered black spots


Ermine is the name of the winter pelt of a weasel-like animal. The fur is white with black or brown spots or splotches. Occasionally reserved only for royalty, it has always been a luxury fur.

Ermine evening wrap, c. 1865, from Kitty Dale.

1900s short jacket

Eton Jacket

The name of this short jacket refers to the boys' school in England that adopted a short jacket as part of its uniform.

Eton jacket over an embroidered vest, 1906, from Helen of the Edwardian Age

Elizabethan court costume


The farthingale was a Spanish fashion introduced to English fashion by way of France during the reign of Charles IX (1560-1574). It consisted of a stiffened circular pad tied around the waist by tapes and worn over petticoats and under the gown. The full flounce at the waist of this gown emphasizes the farthingale's wheel-like effect.

Court gown with farthingale fromShakespeare's Ladies

1870s dress with short scarf-like cape


The fichu draped over the bodice and tied in the center front with the ends hanging loose. Some fichus were separate from the dress, very like a small shawl. Others were connected to the dress. Whichever this one was, it was clearly meant to be part of the ensemble. .

Elaborate promenade gown with fichu, 1876, from Corinna (not currently available).

ribbon band tied around a woman's forehead


The fillet is a narrow band or ribbon tied around the head above the eyebrows. It's purpose is decorative or to secure the hair in place or both. Today, twisted bandanas are worn in the same way for much the same reason.

Fillet over a gorget from Elsabeth of the 1500s.

coat pocket with flaps

Flapped Pocket

Flapped pockets are very common on menswear and widely used on women's clothing as well. This one covers slit pocket (made by slitting the garment and sewing the pocket itself to the inside), but flaps are also used on patch pockets (formed by sewing the pocket to the outside of the garment like a patch).

O Pocket flap on a 1959 corduroy car coat Kitty Dale..

Young woman in short 1920s evening gown


The flapper was basically the "chick" of today. Young, free-spirited and uncorseted (mostly), the flappers bobbed their hair, rouged their cheeks, and wore their skirts a scandalously short just below the knee-length. They were apt to drive cars, travel unchaperoned (more or less) drink liquor, dance exuberantly, read banned authors like James Joyce (now a requirement in most college programs) and perhaps even smoke.

Bobbed haired flapper in heavily beaded short evening gown with a plume fan, 1925, from The Roaring Twenties not currently available.

skirt with loose hanging scarves

Floating Panel

A floating panel is a decorative piece of cloth sewn from the shoulders or waist that hangs free from the rest of the garment and usually hangs slightly below the hemline. This dress has two floating panels decorated with embroidery.

Floating panels on a 1923 tea gown, from The Roaring Twenties not currently available.

Full skirt with rows for ruffles


Flounces are gathered or pleated bands left free at the bottom and often sewn to the hems of skirts. In this case the whole skirt consists of tiers of flounces.

Day dress with flounced skirt, 1862, from Kitty of the Civil War Era.

Stand up lace collar with tiny ruffled edge


Frills are similar to flounces, but are are narrow and appear often on collars, cuffs, necklines and bonnets. This one edges the high pleated collar of a summer riding habit.

Frilled collar of a summer riding habit, 1832, fromEstelle of the Romantic Age.

skirt trimmed with fringe


Fringe consists of loose hanging strings of thread, leather, beading, etc. It's very popular in American Western wear (probably due to a Native American influence) and was wildly poplular in the 1920s.

Fringed skirt and floating panel hems of a 1924 day dress from The Roaring Twenties (not currently available).

jacket with braid closures


Frogs are probably of oriental origin and were once widedly used for Western military dress uniforms. They are made of cleverly twisted braid or cord. This woman's jacket from the World War I era has a military flair with frogs and epaulets of braid.

Short jacket of an 1914 suit from Julia of the Nouveau Age.