Men’s Style Terminology

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Madder:
Refers to a natural dye used since ancient times, although it has since been translated into synthetic dye. Most commonly used on silk, it creates beautiful deep, muted, soft coloration usually paired with paisley and small geometric patterns in neckties. Industry professionals refer to it as Ancient Madder.

Madras:
A bold plaid plain-weave fabric. This lightweight fabric was originally hand woven in Madras, India from cotton yarns dyed with native vegetable coloring.

Medalian:
A piece of carved or engraved metal that is usually circular in shape. Can also represent a medallion print on fabric.

Melange:
Refers to two different color threads twisted together, creating a heather effect.

Mercerized Cotton:
A special kind of cotton yarn that is more lustrous than conventional cotton. It is also stronger, takes dye easily, makes the yarn more resistant to mildew and reduces lint. Mercerized yarn stays shiny through washing and gives a nice, somewhat fancier look to finished items. Mercerization is named for John Mercer, who developed the process and received a patent for his work in 1851. Mercer found that adding caustic soda or sulfuric acid to cotton made the fiber swell and straighten. However, in 1890 Horace Lowe developed a process by which caustic soda was added to the yarn under high tension, which added the luster that mercerized cotton is famous for today.

Merino Wool:
A better-quality wool yarn made from the fleece of merino sheep. Merino sheep are said to have the finest and softest wool of any sheep.

Microfiber:
Continuous filament fibers that can be spun to be thinner than a silk thread and therefore allows man-made fibers to have an array of aesthetic and performance qualities. Microfiber is used to make non-woven, woven and knitted fabrics. The combinations of synthetic fibers can add specific characteristics, such as softness, durability, absorption, wicking abilities and water repellent.

Mill Finish:
Mill finish or semi-mill finish is used to describe the soft, downy effects of fulling and/or napping. Some finishing techniques, such as fulling, have been in use with hand-weaving for centuries. The finish gives a “fluff” to the material making it look like a flannel, but without the weight.

Mock Neck:
A knit pullover finished at the neckline with a short, fitted knit band that does not fold over. An abbreviated version of the turtleneck.

Modal:
Fiber made by spinning reconstituted cellulose from beech trees. Textiles made from Modal have soft, smooth surfaces are water-absorbent and resistant to shrinkage and fading.

Mohair:
Mohair comes from the Angora goat. Best breeding on very dry land. South Africa and U.S.A. are the leading producers. Very fine, lustrous, but slightly brittle fiber. Used in summer weigh suitings and tuxedos. Often mixed with worsted or silk.

Moleskin:
A heavy cotton fabric, woven and then sheared to create a short soft pile on one side. Well-known for its buttery-soft, almost suede-like hand, moleskin cotton is also long-wearing and substantial.

Monk Strap:
A casual or dress shoe with a single or double strap closure, usually with an adjustable buckle.

Mother-of-Pearl:
The lining of an oyster or type of mollusk which is iridescent and lustrous. This high quality, luxurious material is often used in cuff-links.

MP3 Pocket:
Found on certain sport-coats, the convenient interior MP3 pocket has a safety closure and ear bud.

Nano Technology:
Provides liquid and stain repellent, shape retention and resistance to creasing.

Napping:
Uses metal rollers to raise the surface of fibers, giving the fabric a soft, lofty flannel-like feel. See Mill Finish.

Natural Fibers:
Textile fibers from animals and vegetables without a majjor manufacturing process needed.

Nested Suit:
A suit in which jacket and trousers are sold together. The nested suit also sometimes includes a vest. Compare to Suit Separates in which jacket and trousers are sold separately.

Non-Iron Cotton:
Enjoy the comfort of cotton without the wrinkles for a clean, crisp presentation. Garments which are ‘non-iron’ have seams which are taped to prevent puckering. The completed garment is [then] treated with an ammonia process, pressed and baked to make the entire garment wrinkle free. Ken’s does offer a non-iron dress shirts that are machine washable and should not be dry cleaned.

Notch Lapel:
A collar that has a triangular notch where the lapel meets the collar. This is traditional on single-breasted suits.

Nylon:
A synthetic fiber that is silky, strong and highly resilient. Nylon was originally introduced in the 1940s by DuPont for women’s stockings. However, it is widely used today and is often combined with other fibers to increase durability. Nylon has definitely paved the way for easy-care garments.