Boys' Clothing Glossary: "A"

Figure 1.--Well made Scottish and Irish kilts are heavily pleated. The boys participate in Irish step dancing. Notice the pleats on the kilts.

We have begun to build a glossary of boys' clothing terms. As boys clothes until the 19th century was the sane as adult male clothing, we have included many applicable men's clothing terms. We have also included some women's terms as younger boys commonly wore dresses until the 20th century. As HBC is extensively used by non-native English speakers we plan to give considerable attention to this glossary so that words can be looked up. It will also serve as an index as we will provide links to the appropriate pages. We eventually hope to add foreign words, but that will take some time.

Accordion pleat: A pleat is a fold of definite even with. Accordion pleats are a series of narrow, evenly spaced parallel pleats with alternating raised and recessed folds set into cloth. Made by doubling the cloth on itself. Modern pleats are made by commercial pleating machines. Named after the musical instrument. The pleated garment most commonly worn by boys is the kilt. Acording pleats are extensively used in well-made kilts. Cheaper kilts have fewer pleats because they require more material.

Acid-washed: A denim garment that has been processed with a bleach solution so that the color becomes faded and whitish or grayish. Popular because many denim wearers do not like to be seen as wearing new clothes. Primarily assocated with denim jeans and denim jackets.

Afro: A hair style popular with Afro-Americans. I'm unsure how common it actually was in Africa. The hair is allowed to grow long naturally and because of the texture of the hair of black persons, can acquire a bushy appearance. Some Afros are quite large in diameter.

Aglet: A small metal tip or sheath on the ends of lacings used for tying, such as a shoelace. In the 16th and 17th centuries an aglet was an ornament or bauble at the end of a point or other ribbon used to secure a garment.

Alb: A linen eclesiastical vestment with narrow sleaves, worn chiefly by priests, now invariably white in the Western Church but can be any color in the Eastern Church.

A-line: A design commonly used in women's and girl's clothing. It is a cut of plain garment consisting basically of two "A"-shaped panels for the front and back, designed to give increasing fullness toward the hemline. Generally used for dresses and coats.

Anklet: A sock that reaches just above the ankle. This has normally been a girl's or woman's sock style, but in the late 1990s socks called sport socks have been worn by boys.

Anorak: A hooded pullover jacket originally made of fur and worn by the native people of the Arctic. Modern Anoraks are made of any weather-resistant fabric. Widely worn today by British boys in light fabrics, primarily as rain gear. I'm not sure why the term has become so popular in Britain.

Apparel: Clothing, espcially outerwear; garments; attire; raiment.

Appliqué: This French word has been incorporated into the English language meaning ornamental work on one material that has been applied or sewn on to a garment. Also used tp describe the actual ornamentation. Appliqué is commonly used on the clothing of younger children. It was widely used on blouses, dresses, smocks, and shoralls. In France it was also commonly used on rompers.

Apron: A sleevless-garment covering part of the front of the body and tied at the waist to protect a person's clothing, commonly used in the kitchen. HBC notes that computer tranlatiions often translate foreihn words for smocks into apron.

Apron smock: A simple sleeveless style of child's smock. Worn to school in some countries. Also called a pinafore smock.

Arch: A device inserted in or built into shoes to provide spport for the arch of the foot.

Arch support: A rigid support placed inside a shoe so that its molded form fits the arch of the foot, providing extra support, relieving strain on the muscles of the foot.

Argyle: A pattern for knitted articles, especially socks, having a diamond-shaped pattern in two or more colors. American boys commonly wore Argyle kneesocks with knickers, but less commonly with short pants. Subsequenty a popular patteren for ankle socks. The style was named after the western Scottish county.

Arm hole: An arm opening in a garment.

Armscye: A garment's armhole.

Ascot: A necktie or scarf with broad ends, tied and arranged so that the ends are laid flat, one across the other, sometimes with a pin to secure them. Associated with dressing in a fancy manner for the Royal Ascot races. More of an adult garment.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: April 24, 1998
Last updated: July 9, 2001