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If you’re unsure of something TheChicGeek has said or would simply like to know more regarding the origins of a particular word or men’s wear term then you've found the Geekipedia. A glossary of men’s wear terms, the Geekipedia is an easy to use and straight talking explanation of anything to do with what a man wears. This is by no means a definitive list and will be added to all the time. Every six months the list will be updated to make it relevant to what is going on in the current season.


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  • Geekipedia
Term Definition

Alpaca- al-pak-a - Cloth made from the long silken wool of the Peruvian llama. Its texture is fluffy, almost teddy bear like. Normally used to make coats.


Angora - an-gora - Hair of the Angora rabbit. It is extremely soft and warm. Your mum probably had a jumper made from this in the eighties with cats or something just as tacky or grotesque on the front.


A style of jumper that takes its name from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. It is has prominent cable patterns on the chest and is often cream-coloured. The sweaters are distinguished by their use of complex textured stitch patterns, several of which are combined in the creation of a single garment. It was primarily the wives of island fishermen who knitted the jumpers. Some stitch patterns have a traditional interpretation, often of religious significance. The honeycomb is a symbol of the hard-working bee. The cable, an integral part of the fisherman's daily life, is said to be a wish for safety and good luck when fishing. The diamond is a wish of success, wealth and treasure. The basket stitch represents the fisherman's basket, a hope for a plentiful catch.


as-tra-kan - The pelts of very young or fetal lambs. The hair is very tight and curly. Often used in hats and collars on coats. Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan is always seen wearing a Karakul hat made from astrakhan or ‘Persian lamb’ as it is sometimes called.


A looser fitting, single-breasted coat which has a raglan sleeve. Usually a raincoat. Designed in Scotland, the idea being fewer seams would lower the risk of water creeping in.


bara-thea - Worsted fabric with twill hopsack weave; silk or silk-and- worsted fabric with lightly ribbed or pebbled weave. Usually used for dress clothes, blazers and uniforms.


The art of decorating cloth using wax and dye. It has been practised for centuries. In Java, Indonesia, batik is part of an ancient tradition. The word batik originates from the Javanese tik and means to dot.

Beaver-Lamb Fur

Lambskin sheared to look like beaver.


ber-ray - A round, flat cap usually made of wool and traditionally associated with French peasants or elite military units.


Ber-spoke - Bespoke derives from the word ‘bespeak’, meaning \'to ask for\' some thing. The term comes from Savile Row, where a customer would bespeak a measure of cloth. The bespoke bolt of cloth was not available to any other client until the entire suit had been cut, assembled, and sewn. Bespoke is often confused with made to measure but is not simply a process of tailoring measurements, it allows the wearer to choose materials, colours and any details they specifically request and it is also entirely hand sewn. This is the ultimate in male dressing; the haute couture of menswear.


Bye-ass - The fabric is cut diagonally across the grain of the weave.


This is the tape sewn into the inside of the bottom of your trousers without which the constant rubbing on your shoes might cause unsightly fraying.

Bird’s Eye

A fabric woven with a pattern of small diamonds each having a dot in the centre.

Black Tie

This term has changed somewhat, there was once a time when we were afraid to be under dressed; the reverse is now true. Generally ‘Black tie’ means a dinner jacket. Anything else you team with the jacket is up to your personality and individuality, but never trainers, please.


It originated in the 1860’s as a short jacket with patch pockets worn for tennis and cricket. Usually brightly coloured and sporting metal buttons. It has had something of a bad image thanks to Alan Partridge and his ‘sports casual’ look.

Boat Shoes

Boat shoes are sometimes called Deck shoes or Topsiders. Invented by Paul Sperry in 1935, the boat or deck shoe was inspired by Sperry's cocker spaniel, Prince, running across the ice on a winter's day in Connecticut. Noticing the tiny cracks and cuts going in all directions on Prince's paws, Sperry developed a patent called 'Razor-Siping' on the soles which provided a non-slip surface.


bow-ter - A hard straw hat, usually seen on toffs when near water.


boo- clay - A curled effect on the surface of a cloth producing small loops of thread. Think the material in your granny’s classic Chanel jacket.

Bow Tie

The bow tie originated among Croatian mercenaries during the Prussian wars of the 17th century. It consists of a ribbon of fabric tied around the collar in a symmetrical manner such that the two opposite ends form loops. Today, there is something slightly eccentric (in a good way) associated with wearing bow ties away from the traditional realms of ‘black tie’. TheChicGeek calls it ‘Antique Roadshow chic’.

Bowler Hat

A stiff felted hat with a roundish brim. Named after the London hat makers Thomas and William Bowler who first made it in 1849. Called a ‘Derby’ in America.


Trousers that come to the knee. The eighteenth century equivalent of cycling shorts. They are also called ‘Breeks’ or ‘Knickerbockers’. You can still pick up a pair in James Purdey and Sons in Mayfair for those days spent on the grouse moor.


The rim of a hat.


Brok - caid - This is a richly decorated fabric, usually silk woven with gold or silver thread. Comes from the Italian broccato meaning \"embossed cloth\".


B- rogue - A stout shoe with a form of decorative punching of the upper leather of shoes. The word comes from the Scottish or Irish Gaelic word ‘brog’, meaning shoe. They are known as ‘Wingtips’ in America as the design on the upper toe looks like a bird’s spread wings.


Australian term for skimpy swimming trunks or Speedos.