The Essential Bridal Fashion Dictionary

It can be confusing out there for a newly-engaged bride taking her first step into bridal fashion. With lots of bridal lingo to be learnt, the experts at language learning app Babbel have listed some of the key foreign language words and phrases to know before heading to the bridal shop.




Bateau (French) - This stunning neckline is wide and horizontal, and highlighted by a gentle dip in the fabric across the chest and back, with straps at the mid-shoulders. It translates directly from the French for boat and traditionally referred to sailors’ blouses or sweaters.


Décolletage (French) - This more general term for a neckline refers to any neckline that reveals or emphasises cleavage. Often used in off-the-shoulder designs, this term derives from the French “décolleter” meaning “to reveal the neck”.


bridal fashion Trains


Cathedrale (French)- A great way to add drama to your dress, this type of train can extend down from the waist up to 6-9 feet behind the gown. Historically, the longer the bride’s train, the higher up in society she was. Kate Middleton’s stunning wedding gown with its nine-foot train was no exception! Today, every bride can add a touch of drama to her dress with this design and feel like a princess on her big day.


Watteau (French) - A slightly more modern style, this term refers to a pleated train that attaches from the shoulder or the top of the back of the dress, and often falls to the hem of the dress. Originally from the sack-back gowns seen in works of 18th century painter Antoine Watteau, this style was revived in 19th century tea gowns and is still popular today.




Brocade (Italian) - Stemming from the old Italian word “brocco” meaning “twisted thread”, this material is a heavy fabric often used in winter wedding dresses as it is likely to provide more warmth than a dress of a lighter fabric. In modern times, brocade is often used to describe the aesthetic of the fabric as this material is delicately embossed or has an embroidered surface effect.


Tulle (French) - A fabric commonly used in the skirt of ball gowns, tulle is a fine netting which comes from the southern central region of France. This fabric is often found in veils and is used to embellish the gown itself.




Appliqué (French) - In French, this term literally translates as an adjective meaning “hard-working” or “meticulous” but as a fashion term, appliqué refers to a decorative work in which one piece of cloth is sewn or fixed on top of another.


Broderie Anglaise (French) - This translates from French as “English embroidery” and is a whitework needlework technique incorporating features of embroidery, cutwork and needle lace that became associated with England, due to its popularity here in the 19th century.

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May 18, 2018

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