The First A-Z Bali Fashion Glossary

Welcome to the first A-Z Bali Fashion Glossary brought to you by Black Book Fashion. Here you will find all the lingo you need to know to understand this creative fashion hotspot.


A-line- An A-line piece is one that begins at the waist, typically fitted, and gets gradually wider going down. It is the basic shape of many skirts, dresses and even trousers.

Baju- A loose fitting dress worn by both men and women and comes in a wide range of styles depending on the traditional Indonesian traditions from where the wearer is from. In its simplest form it is a loose fitting top, worn at formal occasions, with long sleeves and generally cut to below the waist. • Bandeau Top- A band like top covering the chest also known as a tube top.

Batik- A traditional cloth with intricate patterns and designs that is made using an extensive dyeing technique. Batik cloth is often worn by men wrapped into sarongs or made into shirt with the patterns and designs differing from region to region.

Bias Cut- A bias cut means cutting cloth at a 45 degree angle of the woven fabric. It is a technique used to enhance silhouettes, enhancing curves or for creating drapes.

Black Buffalo Horn- The horn of the Balinese kerbau, or water buffalo, is often used in jewelry pieces. It has an intense black color and is strong enough to withstand intricate carving and is easily combined with precious metals. 

Boho-chic- A Bali signature, boho-chic draws on bohemian and hippie influences while adding a dash of sophistication. Easily worn as day and night wear, Bali is one the the world’s creative hotspots for this stylistic genre.


Caftan- A long sleeved garment usually tied at the waist, worn at the beach to cover up or for lounging at home.

Canggu- The cool hipster enclave found between Kerobokan and Echo Beach, best known for great surf, bars and independent designer brands. Known for home-grown surfwear brands, ceramics, jewelry and homewares.

Capri Pants- Three quarter pants ending below the knee. A wardrobe staple that transcends seasons and can be worn as day and night wear.

Cheeky bottoms- Bikini bottoms that sit at the hip and expose just a bit more of the bum than other bikini bottoms. A fashion staple of Bali’s swimwear designers.

Chiffon- A popular crepe fabric used in blouses, dresses and lingerie; chiffon is a sheer fabric with a slight stretch and rough feel. It has an elegant floating appearance and is often used over other materials.

Crepe fabrics- These are fabrics that can be made from several types of materials such as silk, cotton or even wool, but is mostly characterized by its sheerness and slightly rough texture. It drapes easily, is soft to touch and is usually layered onto other materials to create a translucent effect.

Craftsmen/women- Bali’s uniqueness as a creative center stems from its rich artisanal history. The jewelry making industry is supported by a large network of craftsmen and women applying their woodworking and stone carving heritage to create handmade items of exceptional quality.

• Drape- The way a garment is arranged to be hung, usually in folds.


Embroidery- A stitching technique used to embellish and decorate clothing combining a variety of yarns and decorative pieces. A technique common in haute couture but also common in Bali’s bohemian inspired design.

Espadrilles- Originally from the Catalan region of Spain, Espadrilles are soft flat shoes with a jute sole and a cotton fabric cover.

• Flowers- Bali’s flower are a source of inspiration for many designers and find their ways into print and batik designs. The most common flowers are the francipani, cempaka, hibiscus, heliconia and the thumbergia. 


• Gypsy Fashion- A fashion style inspired by a freedom loving philosophy, hippie and bohemian designs. It is as much a fashion choice, style inspiration as a way of life. 

• H-Line- A silhouette, as the letter ‘H’ implies, with a straight cut usually with a slight accent at the waist.

• Handmade- The majority of items in Bali, whether clothing, jewelry or swimwear, are handmade by skilled craftsmen and women in workshops making each item unique.

• High Waisted Bottoms- Inspired by 1950’s fashions, high waisted bottoms are swimwear bottoms that sit above the hip and are ideally suited for all types of women’s shapes and body types. 

• Hipster Bottoms- Hipster bottoms on the other hand sit at the hip, and while they offer less coverage than their high waisted counterparts, they form a good combination of functionality, sexiness and comfort.

• Hot Batik- A traditional Indonesian technique that uses hot running wax to skillfully draw the desired pattern on fabric. Once the design has been hand-painted, the wax is removed to leave behind stunning patterns. 


• Ikat- Meaning ‘to bind’ in Indonesian, ikat is a decorative technique whereby yarns are dyed prior to being woven into fabric patterns or designs. Usually by hand.

• Jumpsuit- One-piece flowing suit usually covering the legs and arms, perfect for warm tropical nights and easily doubling as day and nightwear. A popular style in Bali taking inspiration from the 70’s hippie movement. 


• Kamen- A long strip of ankle length cloth, usually batik or woven, worn by men and women and tied at the waist. It is the traditional dress of Bali tied with a fold and leaving a corner pointing the ground in homage to the motherland. 

• Kebaya- A traditional blouse worn by women made of lace with a corset underneath, often embroidered with elaborate designs and worn at religious and family events.

• Kimonos- T shaped robes wrapped at the front with wide sleeves and a T-shaped silhouette. Originally from Japan but now a common item in homewear, beachwear and resortwear collections.

• Lace- A patterned mesh made of interwoven fabrics such as cotton or linens. It is popular in a range of styles from evening wear, to lingerie and bridal wear.

• Low plunging V-cuts- A style of bikini top with a deep plunging frontal design giving a sexy silhouette while still maintaining enough coverage. 


• Maxi Dress- A maxi dress is an ankle length dress, made to flow over the body and fitted at the top or the waist. Often coming in a variety of prints, colors and necklines; it is a staple of any beachwear collection.

• Monokini- A sexy type of one-piece swimwear that tries to give as much coverage as a bikini but still leaves enough to the imagination. Often with cut-outs at the waist, low plunging necklines and intricate ties. 


• Playsuit- A playsuit is a shorter type of jumpsuit usually landing above the knee with either short or long sleeves. Inspired by 70’s hippie fashion, it is a staple of Bali fashion design.

• Pleats- Are folds of fabric that have been pressed and held together by one line of stitching at the waist for example. This is opposed to tucks that are pleats which have been sown into place and held usually by two lines of stitching at opposite ends.


• Rayon- A fabric made from regenerated cellulose fiber, it drapes easily and holds color extremely well and is therefore a popular material used by Bali designers. In addition to this, rayon has breathable qualities and has a softer texture resembling fabrics such as silk or cotton. Used interchangeably with the word viscose.

• Romper- The same as a jumpsuit- a one-piece suit usually longer at the legs. A popular item in Bali’s fashion industry, perfect for the warm weather and can be easily worn as both day and night wear.


• Satin- Is a type of weave that has been constructed by the satin weave method rather than a type of material. It can be made of silk, polyester or nylon yarns and has a smooth glossy surface and a dull back and is known for its soft, silky and luxurious texture.

• Sarong- The archetypal item of clothing worn in Indonesia and Malaysia. It is a cloth, often batik or woven by hand, worn around the waist by both men and women.

• Seminyak- The centre of Bali’s retail and fashion industry, Seminyak hosts a dense collection of designer boutiques, restaurants and café’s making it a magnet for Bali’s tourism industry. Seminyak’s retail activity is mostly concentrated around Jalan petitenget and Jalan Oberoi.

• Sequins- Sequins are small decorative shiny disks sown onto clothing or accessories. They are commonly used by Bali designers to embellish dresses, skirts and tops to add a chic and luxurious touch to bohemian designs.

• Silk chiffon- Chiffon is the name of the fabric type with a sheer aspect with a crepe like texture. Silk chiffon is simply chiffon made of silk and is characterized by its ability to hold color, excellent draping and its soft texture.

• Triangle top- A bikini top with cups in the shape of triangles. It is usually tied at the back and behind the neck with strings.


• Ubud- An hour north of the airport, Ubud is Bali’s cultural heart and the center for traditional crafts and culture. It is also a center of jewelry production being home to Bali’s best craftsmen and women. 

• Unpressed pleats- As opposed to normal pleats and tucks, unpressed pleats have a softer and more flowing appearance as they have not been ‘set’ through pressing or held together such as tucks by two lines of stitching. 


• Wax Carving- A technique used by jewelry craftsmen and women in Bali whereby they create master moulds for the jewelry pieces by carving them in wax. It is part of the production process which often sees a single artisan starting with hand drawn sketches, proceeding to wax carving, casting and the setting of each piece, a process taking several days.

• Yankini- A tankini is a two-piece bathing suit that covers the whole torso and, as its name suggests, is made up of an upper ‘tank top’ and a bikini bottom. A practical item of swimwear that provides the benefits of ample coverage and is suited for physical pursuits.

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