Haberdasher by Apparel Search - Fashion Terms of Interest to the Apparel Industry

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According to Wikipedia, a haberdasher is a person who sells small items via retail, commonly items used in clothing, such as ribbons and buttons, or completed accessories, such as hats or gloves. A haberdasher's shop or the items sold therein are called haberdashery.

The exact definition of haberdasher depends on the locale. In the United States and Canada, it is primarily used for a person who sells men's clothing accessories (an example of this is KJ Beckett). In the British Isles, it is more common to hear this word in reference to someone who sells buttons, thread, ribbons, or drapery, but the term is much less common than it once was as fewer people make their own clothes nowadays. In 21st century Britain specialist haberdashery shops are rare, but many department stores (such as John Lewis Partnership) still have a haberdashery department.

According the the website WiseGeek, Haberdashery is no longer a commonly used term. In the US people use the term haberdashery to refer to men’s clothing stores, or men’s departments in stores that sell accessories like gloves, ties, watches and hats. This is more often called a men’s accessory department, and many in the US are unfamiliar with the term haberdashery. In the UK, a modern haberdashery usually sells needed items like buttons, thread or ribbons. Occasionally an English haberdashery specializes in selling window draperies.

Apparel Search further defines a haberdasher as a dealer in men's furnishings and/or a dealer in sewing notions and small wares. It can also be defined (by British definition) as a dealer in small articles for sewing, such as buttons, zips, and ribbons. In the US it is defined as a men's outfitter.

The Haberdasher terms was written for Apparel Search by Regina Cooper July 2010

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