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~ Thursday, September 04, 2003

Some cloths and garments which take their names from places:

astrakhan - lambswool cloth originally from the Caspian port of that name
balaclava - woollen head covering, presumably worn to keep out the chill in Balaklava in the Crimea
balmoral - a man's bonnet, after the royal palace in Scotland
basque - name used for various garments; originally a pleated jacket worn by women of the Basque region of Spain
breton - white brimmed hat, as worn by women in Bretagne in northern France
buckram - the name of this stiff fabric may be connected to the lost Tartar city of Bukhara
cashmere - fine goat's-wool cloth from Kashmir in India
cravat - the neck-scarf was commonly worn by Croat soldiers and merchants
denim - 'de Nîmes', from the town in France where the cloth supposedly originates
derby - US name for the bowler hat, named for the middle England city
Dunstable - a straw hat, from the town in Bedfordshire, England
galligaskins - baggy trews of yesteryear, derive their name from a corruption of an old French word for 'Greek-style'
glengarry - ribboned Scottish cap for men, named after the northern town
guernsey - tight woollen jumper, after the Channel island
Homburg - felt hat originally from the German town
Inverness - a long coat with a cape, suitable for the weather around the north Scottish city
jean - a cotton from Genoa in Italy, giving its name to jeans
jersey - fine wool, or the garment properly made from it; from the Channel island more commonly associated with cows
jodhpurs - tight, thick trousers for horse-riding, taking their name from the Indian city of Jodhpur where a local maharajah designed them to replace easily torn riding pyjamas
kolinski - mink fur from the Kola peninsula in northern Russia
madras - a patterned silk fabric from the Indian city
melton - a thick cloth originally made in Melton Mowbray, England
nankeen - dark cotton material, once a speciality of the Chinese city of Nanking
oxford - a light cotton cloth
paisley - patterned fabric based on designs from the rainy Scottish town
panama - hot-weather hat named after Central American state, despite being from nearby Ecuador
polonaise - a woman's frock and underskirt, in the rustic Polish style
satin - may derive from the Chinese city of Zaitun, or may not
tuxedo - the American jacket for evening wear takes its name from Tuxedo Park, a resort in New York state popular with wealthy socialites in the early 20th century
ulster - a long style of overcoat first made in Northern Ireland

Some near misses:

acton - stuffed military jacket; named from the Arabic for cotton, not the London suburb
cardigan - named after a Lord of that name, not the place
nubia - woolly headscarf for women, from the latin for cloud; nothing to do with the African area
nylon - the man-made fibre was said to be named after New York and London but this is probably not true, the word being a corruption of No-run, the original name suggested.
raglan - this overcoat is also named after a lord
tweed - from 'twilled' meaning woven; probably not from the Scottish river

Source: various

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