You might feel pretty au fait with fashion terms, but wedding dress shopping opens up a whole new world of terminology you'll never need again. When you first encounter these new silhouettes, designs, fabrics, and cuts you never knew existed in a bridal boutique, it can be a little intimidating.

We don't want any heads spinning at your lovely bridal appointments so we thought we'd make it easy with a wedding dress glossary to help you get familiar with any of the wedding dress lingo you're not familiar with. Let's go!



A dropped, V-shaped, fitted waist.


Bateau neckline

A round neckline that gently follows the curve of the collarbone.


Bell sleeve

A sleeve that’s narrow at the armhole and tapers out to the wrist.


Bias cut

Cut diagonally.



Heavy, woven fabric with raised design.



Fabric added at the back, just below the waist, to add fullness, and allow you move freely if you've got a long train.


Chantilly lace

The lightest and most delicate of all laces, it has a web-like floral pattern.


Lighter and softer than satin, but with a similar sheen. Not brilliant for outdoor summer weddings, as it shows sweat easily.


Court train

Starts from the waist and trails about a foot behind the bride.


Drop waist

The waist sits at hip level.


Empire line

Nipped in just below the bust.


Fishtail train

Flares out seamlessly from the knee.




Short at the front, long at the back.


Illusion back

A sheer back panel.


Juliet sleeve

A long sleeve that’s fitted at the wrist.


Keyhole back

A circular-shaped opening at the back.




A semi-sheer, stiff fabric.



A sometimes-detachable outer skirt, worn over the skirt.



An overskirt attached at the waistline.


Queen Anne neckline

A high collar in the back and scoop in the front.



Scoop neck

A low, circular neckline.


Sheath dress

A close-to-the-body shape.



Similar to organza, taffeta looks like silk with a more textured feel. Good for ballgown silhouettes.



Flares out at the knee.




Fine netting, often made from silk.


Watteau train

A panel of fabric that falls from below the shoulder blades to the floor.


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