Posted by Mike Monts De Oca, Regional Account Manager
In any industry there is jargon that must be understood in order to make the best decisions and the imprinted wearables industry is no different. Now, thanks to your supervisor, the task of ordering shirts for your entire company just landed in your lap and you aren’t sure what to make heads or tails of. In order to help you with this task, we put together a “cheat sheet” of commonly used terms. This glossary will help you decipher all that shirt lingo and make you a smart, informed buyer of corporate apparel.
Apparel Terms: A Quick Glossary
ANSI The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is an organization that promotes standards for industry and government.
ANSI Class 2 An ANSI designation for garments that are intended for activities where greater visibility is necessary during inclement weather. It also covers workers who perform tasks that divert their attention from approaching traffic or puts them in close proximity to vehicles traveling 25 mph or higher.
ANSI Class 3 An ANSI designation for garments that provide the highest level of visibility and are intended for workers who face more serious hazards than Class 2.
Antimicrobial A term used for a garment that is able to resist, either naturally or chemically, the effects of microbial secretions put off by the human body, resisting odor and increasing garment life.
Anti-Pill Finish A treatment applied to garments primarily to resist the formation of little balls on the fabric’s surface due to abrasion during wear. See Pilling.
Cotton. Soft vegetable fiber obtained from the seedpod of the cotton plant.
Drop Needle. A knit fabric characterized by vertical lines within the cloth. Manufactured by dropping a needle from the knitting cylinder.
Drop Tail. A longer back than front for the purpose of keeping the shirt tucked in. Also referred to as Extended Tail.
Flame-Resistant (FR) These fabrics and garments are intended to resist ignition, prevent the spread of flames away from the immediate area of high heat impingement and to self-extinguish almost immediately upon removal of an ignition source. FR clothing is NOT fireproof.
Full Cut. Refers to a garment’s fit as being generous and roomy.
Garment Dyed. A dyeing process that occurs after the garment is assembled.
Garment Washed. A wash process where softeners are added to finished garments to help the cotton fibers relax. The result is a fabric with a thicker appearance, reduced shrinkage and a softer hand.
Interlock Knit. A two-ply fabric knit simultaneously to form one thicker and heavier ply. It has more natural stretch than a jersey knit, a soft hand, and the same appearance and feel on both sides. Commonly used in knit shirts and turtlenecks.
Jacquard Knit. Often an intricate pattern knit directly into the fabric during the manufacturing process. Typically, two or more colors are used.
Jersey Knit. The consistent interloping of yarns in the jersey stitch to produce a fabric with a smooth, flat face and a more textured, but uniform back.
Low Profile. A term used for a cap or hat silhouette that is more closely fitted to the head. Can be either structured or unstructured
Microfiber. Tightly woven fabric from a very fine polyester thread, usually with a sueded finish for a soft feel. Inherently water repellent and wind resistant due to its construction.
Microfleece. Crafted from ultra-fine yarn, this lightweight, high-density fleece is brushed less than a regular fleece garment for softness and warmth without bulk.
Polyester. A strong, durable synthetic fabric with high strength and excellent resiliency. Low moisture absorbency allows the fabric to dry quickly.
Poplin. A tightly woven, durable, medium-weight cotton or cotton blend made by using a rib variation of the plain weave which creates a slight ridge effect.
Princess Seams. Short, stitched folds that taper to a point, typically used to shape women’s garments.
PVC. A polyurethane coating that is added to make garments water resistant.
Raglan Sleeves. An athletic cut sleeve set with a diagonal seam from the neck to the underarm. Offers more freedom of movement in comparison with set-in sleeves.
Rayon. A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters or other vegetable matter, with a soft hand. Frequently used for shirts and pants.
Ring Spun. Yarn made by continuously twisting and thinning a rope of cotton fibers. The twisting makes the short hairs of cotton stand out, resulting in a stronger yarn with a significantly softer hand.
Scoop Neck. Characterized by a deep, rounded neckline that is significantly deeper than normal necklines. Typically found on women’s shirts.
Sherpa Fleece. A knit terry fabric that has been brushed and washed to raise the fibers for a fluffy, plush feel. The thick terry loops stay soft and absorbent over time.
Side Vents. Slits found at the bottom of side seams, used for fashion detailing, as well as comfort and ease of movement.
Spandex. A manufactured elastometric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking and will still recover to its original length.
Structured. A headwear term referring to a buckram lining used to control the slope of the cap.
Thumbholes. Openings at the cuffs so they cover the back of the hands and the palms for warmth and enhanced fit.
Twill. A fabric characterized by micro diagonal ribs producing a soft, smooth finish. Commonly used for casual woven shirts.
Unstructured. A headwear term referring to a low profile cap with a naturally low sloping crown. No buckram has been added to the crown for structure.
Waffle Knit. A square pattern knit into a garment.
Waffle Weave. A square pattern woven into a garment.
Wind shirt. A typically water and wind resistant outerwear piece. Popular for golfers.
Wind Resistant. The ability of a fabric to act against or oppose the penetration of wind or air, without being completely windproof.
Wickability. The ability of a fiber or a fabric to disperse moisture and allow it to pass through to the surface, so that evaporation can take place.
Wood Tone Buttons. Buttons that simulate a wood appearance.
Wool. Usually associated with fiber or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or lamb. The term wool can also be applied to all animal hair fibers, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers of the camel, alpaca, llama or vicuna.
Woven. Fabric constructed by the interlacing of two or more sets of yarns at right angles to each other. Woven fabrics are commonly used for dress shirts and camp shirts.