Costume Dictionary M-N-O

illustration of dress bodice with tiny vertical pleats

Accordion Pleats

Very fine pleats. In soft fabrics they can be used to shape a garment closely to the body; in crisper fabrics these pleats can make a fan-like skirt.

Dance frock, 1914, from Julia of the Nouveau Age

woman's legs wearing stockings held up by garter-clasps

Adjustable Garters

Adjustable garters hanging from corsets or girdles appeared in last decade or so of the 19th century and were common until pantyhose appeared in the early 1970s. Those of us who remember sitting on them were glad to see them go.

Adjustable garters on an elasticized girdle, 1933s, from The Glamorous Thirties(not currently available).

Hat with stiff, vertical feather spray


Vertical arrangement of feathers or plumes to decorate a hat, bonnet, turban, or hairstyle.

Turban, 1914, from Pamela of the Nouveau Age

Combination longline bra and girdle from 1936


Undergarment that combines the function of a bra, chemise or undershirt with that of a girdle, panties or drawers.

1936 all-in-one from The Glamorous Thirties(not currently available).

brimmed felt hat with a small feather

Alpine Hat

Soft felt hat with a low crown and medium sized brim. Often decorated with a narrow band and small feather.

Alpine style hat from Heritage Children

pink dress with white flowers sewn onto the front


A decorative technique by which small pieces of lace or fabric are applied to the surface of a garment.

Lace appliqué on a gingham sundress from Kitty Dale

black lace apron worn over a white evening gown


An apron might be the scruffy thing your mother ties on over her good clothes while she cooks or something far more decorative and frivolous. Aprons cover the front of the skirt and sometimes the front of the bodice and are usually tied around the waist. In the 1880s, the short upper skirt that pulled back to drape over the bustle was often referred to as an apron.

Decorative black lace apron over a white ball gown from Corinna (not currently available).

Blouse with floppy tie at the throat


An ascot can be a formal men's necktie (think wedding) or a scarf tied loosely at the neck..

1930s blouse with attached ascot, The Glamorous Thirties (not currently available)

stockings with an all-over diamond pattern


Plaid of diamond shaped narrow bands and wider blocks of color; most often used for stockings, neckties and skirts. These stockings are part of a 1920s golfing outfit.

Golf stockings from The Roaring Twenties (not currently available).