Category: term definition

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Akwete is a decorative cloth with complex weave designs, creating intricate geometric patterns, made with many vibrant colors. It is usually made into wrappers for women to wear and it is made by the Igbo women of Nigeria.

aniline dyes

Synthetic, chemical dyes for garments first invented in the 19th century.


An anorak is a jacket that typically has a hood, but not always, which was originally worn by the indigenous peoples of the Arctic designed to keep them warm and protected from harsh weather.

back apron (negbe)

An oval-shaped decorative pad worn by Mangbetu women over the buttocks in Central Africa.

backstrap loom

The backstrap loom is a lightweight, mobile loom made of wood and a strap that is wrapped around the back. It only needed to be attached to a tree or a post for stability and to provide tension.


A piece of linen which passes under the chin and is pinned at the sides, usually worn in conjunction with additional head coverings during the Middle Ages.

bark cloth

Bark cloth is fabric made out of bark from trees.

beadnet dress

A decorative sheath dress made of beads worn in ancient Egypt.


Bloomers are a bifurcated garment that were worn under dresses in the 19th century. They soon became a symbol of women’s rights because early activist Amelia Bloomer wore drawers long enough to stick out from under her dress.


The padding used to structure clothing and create fashionable silhouettes in the 16th and 17th centuries.


The boubou is an African robe made of one large rectangle of fabric with an opening in the center for the neck. When worn it drapes down over the shoulders and billows at the sleeves.

buff coat

A leather version of the doublet that was often, but not exclusively, worn by people in the military in the 17th century.