Style Series: The Ultimate Guide to Dress Style Keywords

Selling clothing online is an increasing competitive market.  When writing your listing it is important to make your item stand out to create interest and to attract your buyer. Including many clear and varied photos of your item is important.  Using wording, in your title and description, that is likely to be searched by the buyer is just as, if not more important.  These are known as keywords.  A good knowledge of the item you are listing is vital in finding the keywords that are likely to attract your buyer.  This is your ultimate comprehensive guide to identifying Dress Styles and the keywords you can use to describe them.



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The Bubble Dress

The Bubble Dress takes it’s name from the style of hem. The hem is gathered and attached to the lining of the dress, creating a bouncy bubble effect.  This is also known as a Balloon Dress.

The Maxi Dress

The Maxi Dress is just as it sounds, it is a dress at it’s maximum length.  Therefore it is a long, full length dress. Other keywords can be used depending on the variation in this style i.e. Maxi Sun Dress, Strappy Maxi Dress, Maxi Bodycon DressAsymmetrical Maxi Dress etc.

The Slip Dress

The Slip Dress resembles a petticoat or ‘slip’ that would normally be worn underneath a dress.  This was hugely fashionable in the 90’s and has recently seen a resurgence. It is strappy and can be of varying lengths.  It can be layered over a t-shirt or shirt, and it can be worn on it’s own.  With the nostalgic nod back to 90’s fashion trending at recent fashion shows and in high street stores, other good keywords to use are ‘Grunge‘, ‘90’s‘ and ‘Indie‘.

The Shift Dress

The Shift Dress is a simple throw on, no fuss kind of dress. It can be a slip on or zip up dress.  It is generally a straight design, very similar to the Tunic Dress.  ‘Tunic‘ can be used as an extra keyword in some cases and the reverse for a Tunic Dress listing.

The Tunic Dress

Similar to the Shift Dress in it’s simplicity.  The Tunic Dress can vary in style with different length sleeves and design, but will always hold the tunic shape.  Think Roman. It is usually knee length or above the knee in length. A Tunika Dress is a slightly more feminine version of this with a fuller skirt.

The Pouf Dress

Also know as the Bouffant Dress.  This dress gets it’s name from the shape of the skirt and how the shirt ‘poufs’ out.  The skirt may be slightly rigid, and stick out due to the gathering at the waistband.  It may have a frilly underskirt or a layered skirt to make it appear fuller and wider.


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The Wrap Dress

The Wrap Dress is so named due to the wrap around, criss cross design of the material. This could be a dress with a wrap around top, or it could be the entire dress.

The Sun Dress

The Sun Dress is generally sleeveless with straps.  It can be of varying lengths.  It is the kind of dress you would wear to keep cool in the heat and to soak up the sun. Other good keywords are ‘Strappy‘ or ‘Spaghetti Straps‘.

The Jumper Dress

The Jumper Dress is basically as it sounds.  It is a long jumper that can be worn as a dress, or a dress that is knitted. Also known as a Sweater Dress.

The Apron Dress

Also known as the Pinafore Dress this is a dress that resembles an old fashioned ‘Pinny‘. It is usually worn over a top, t-shirt, shirt, or jumper.  ‘Dungaree‘ is another good keyword for this.


The One Shoulder Dress

This is self explanatory.  It is a dress that sits on only one shoulder leaving the other shoulder bare.  This can have no sleeves or just one sleeve.


The Halter Dress

So named due the halter neck design of the dress.  This can be of varying styles and can be cross listed with other style keywords depending on the design of the dress.


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The Strapless Dress


A dress without straps that is able to support itself.


The Bodycon Dress

This dress is figure hugging and often stretchy.  It can be of varying lengths. It fits to the contours of the body.


The Asymmetrical Dress

A dress with an asymmetrical hemline.  In other words a hemline which is uneven and not straight.  The hemline can also be described as a Dip Hem.


The Drop Waist Dress

This is a dress which has a waist line nearer to the hips than the waist itself.  Think 20’s style in terms of design.


The High Waist Dress

Simply as it sounds, a dress with a higher waistline/waist band than usual, but not as high as an empire line.


The Princess Dress

No, not the dress up version 😉 This dress is named due to the way the material tapers in and cinches at the waist. The skirt is very full and sticks out in the same way a Princess dress would do. The dress is usually very pretty and quite formal, or a party dress.


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The Sheath Dress

This dress is fitted to the body, straight in design, but not as tight as the bodycon. Another name for this style is the Column Dress.


The Tent Dress

This dress is named due to it’s shape, it is similar in appearance to the triangle shape of a tent. The fit is large making the dress roomy and comfortable.  Another name for this dress is Trapeze.


The Blouson Dress

This dress has a larger top, above the waist band, and gives the appearance of a blouse tucked into a skirt.


The Empire Line Dress

This is a dress styled with a waist band which sits just below the bust.


The A-Line Dress

Named after the shape of the skirt on the dress which is in the shape of an A.


The Shirt Dress

A dress which looks like a long shirt.  The dress has a collar and buttons down.  There might be buttons along the entire front line of the dress or just to the waist. It can be short sleeved, long sleeved or sleeveless. Sometimes listed as a Shirt Waist Dress depending on the style.

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The Peasant Dress

The Peasant Dress has a Romany, Gypsy look to it, or think Elizabethan Peasants.  Other keywords for this are Boho, Hippie, Gypsy, Romany, Bohemian, Festival.


The Flapper Dress

The Flapper Dress is a throwback to the 20’s and 30’s. Another good keyword is Art Deco, as long as the design is symmetrical.


The Kaftan Dress

The Kaftan Dress looks like a beach throwover.  It is smock/tunic in  style.  It often has a colourful embroidered pattern or trim.


The Dashiki Dress

The Dashiki Dress is a dress with a colourful African print.  It can be similar in style to the Kaftan.  It can also be more fitted and varies in length.  The Dashiki can be identified by it’s bold ethnic design.

The Frou Frou Dress

The Frou Frou Dress is a fussy, showy type of dress.  It is likely to have lots of embellishments, and can be pretty and intricate. There are likely to be lots of ruffles, sequins, feathers, and applique details. Other good keywords are Princess, Prom, Ballgown, Evening, Party.

The Polo Dress

This dress is similar in style to a polo shirt.  Good keywords for this are sports, casual and tennis dress.

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The Coat Dress

This is similar to the shirt dress but the dress is less a shirt and looks more like a coat.

The Wiggle Dress

The Wiggle, or Pencil Dress, is a straight fitted dress with a slightly tapered skirt.  You will usually see this type of dress in a Rockabilly, 50’s design. More modern versions of this type of dress are marketed as Office Dresses and worn for Business or Work.

The Mermaid Dress

The Mermaid Dress tapers towards the bottom hem and fans out to look like a Mermaid’s tail.  This is usually a long dress.

The Yoke Dress

A Yoke Dress is identified from the panel which stretches across the top of the chest.  This can be a different pattern or material, it can be sheer or lacy, but the panel gives this dress style it’s name.  It can also be crossed with other dress styles i.e. A Tent Dress with a Yoke Panel feature, or a Tunic Dress with a Yoke Panel etc.

The Peplum Dress

This dress has a peplum feature at the waist or hips.  This is a panel of material around the waist or hips that fans out to make the dress look like it is actually a top and skirt.

The Skater Dress

The skater dress has a skirt which looks similar to the skirt on a skating dress/outfit.  It is usually fitted to the waist with a skirt that fans out from the waist.

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The Tea Dress

This is a Day Dress with a pretty print and has varying styles and lengths.

The Tiered Dress

The Tiered dress has tiered panels of material within it’s design. Also known as a Layered Dress.


This is translated as ‘Layering Look’ from German.  So it is basically a style of clothing and dress that looks like several items of clothing layered over each other.  You will usually see this look in neutral and earth colours.

The Qipao Dress

A body hugging Chinese style dress. Keywords – Traditional Chinese, Mandarin.

All Keywords are highlighted in bold.  Please feel free to bookmark this guide to refer to.


  1. thanks Andrea for this guide. i volunteer as a ebay manager for a charity and have no clue when listing womens clothes. nice to have something pinned to the notice board next to me now!!!


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