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Commonly Misused Fashion Words - Boning, Minimalist Fashion, Shirring

July 20, 2020 | by bolu | 1 Comment

One peculiar thing about running a business, especially in the fashion sector, is how business owners stay on top of the latest trends and happenings. Thriving as a fashion business owner is largely dependent on the person's ability to understand and infuse good business practices.

In this column, where Mauvelli focuses on commonly misused words in fashion, fashion entrepreneurs can stay updated and corrected on the wrong usage of words in fashion. Another essence of this column is for fashion entrepreneurs to truly understand the various terms and aspects of their business, to fully utilise them.

So, considering all of these then, what do boning and shirring mean in fashion design? And when does one use the term minimalist fashion? Sit tight as we delve right into it!


In fashion designing, boning is referred to as a technique whereby rigid strips of material, known as bones, are used to maintain the shape of a corset or bodice. Used mainly in corset designing, boning can also be used to maintain the shape of necklines, waistbands and sculpted folds.

Different types of boning include featherlite boning, flexicurve boning, and white steel boning, among others. One unique feature of the boning technique is how it gives garments lightweight support and structure. When used strategically, it also keeps embellishment details and adds structure to accessories.

Minimalist Fashion 

Minimalist fashion is a conservative form of fashion whereby people shun the idea of flashy or extravagant outfits. Someone with a minimalist fashion style tends to opt for simple options, such as dresses without tiers or puffed sleeves.

However, the minimalist fashion style doesn't have to be a boring one, as going back to the basics of fashion can have its advantages. Minimalist fashionistas tend to stock up on outfits that fit their lifestyle, not aiming for the largest or statement-making outfits.


Shirring is a sewing technique, used in fashion designing, where multiple rows of stitches with elastic thread are used to create rows of gathers. Unlike smocking where embroidery stitches are used to gather fabrics to help create stretch, shirring is simply used to add form when a garment is loose and maybe a bit shapeless.

This shirring technique can also be used to add structure and texture to a garment.  A shirred top or waist can be designed so it would fit snugly and pull in at the waistline respectively.

How These Words Should Be Used 

When making a corset, for example, for an outfit, the technique being used is known as a boning process. It shouldn't be regarded as a regular sewing or stitching process, instead, the technical term should be used.

If a client would rather purchase or get fitted for a simple dress without extra ruffles or designs, then they most likely have a minimalist fashion style. A-line dresses, shift dresses, and straight silhouettes are some of the outfits in a minimalist wardrobe.

The shirring technique is very popular in fashion these days, as Anifa Mvuemba even featured it in one of the outfits delivered at the first digital runway show using 3D models.

These are some of the fashion terms that fashion entrepreneurs can take note of, and infuse on their businesses. For other commonly misused fashion words, check here.

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