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I'm currently describing a dress that has a small candlestick embroidered on the chest as "Dress with candlestick embroidery".

Can I make "candlestick" and "embroidery" into an adjective to shorten the name of this dress?

Candlestick-embroidered dress?
Embroidered-candlestick dress?
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I would say:
    "Dress with an embroidered candlestick on the front."
    "Dress with a candlestick embroidered on the front."

    Jamming a bunch of adjectives together in new ways seldom forms a clear idea. "Candlestick embroidery" and "candlestick-embroidered" sound like a method of embroidery (perhaps using a candlestick instead of a needle or making stitches that look like tiny candles). An "embroidered-candlestick dress" is made entirely out of embroidered candlesticks.

    Sparky Malarky

    English - US
    I kind of disagree. If you are describing the dress, yes "dress with small candlestick embroidered on the chest" is best. But if you have a picture of the dress and you are just trying to give enough description to identify it, you want to use as little as possible, especially if a long, full description is elsewhere. So, in a list, you might have:

    Rose-print dress $49.99
    Blue swing dress $48.99
    Candlestick dress $51.47
    I have a picture that goes with the dress, but the original Japanese name is (literally translated) "candlestick embroidery side frilled dress", so that's why I want to keep "embroidery" in it's name.

    I think "side-frilled dress with embroidered candlestick" is staying the closest to the Japanese name, so I'm going to use that. Thank you all! :)


    Senior Member
    English - US
    Candlestick dress $51.47
    Without the picture, however, I might think that this is or a dress in a color called "candlestick" or a dress with a type of broomstick skirt that the designer has dubbed "candlestick".
    From the Wikipedia on "skirt":
    Broomstick skirt, a light-weight ankle length skirt with many crumpled pleats formed by compressing and twisting the garment while wet, such as around a broomstick. (1980s and on)
    What if the picture shows an candle-colored dress with a broomstick skirt and a candle embroidered on it? :)


    Senior Member
    I think if you say "candlestick embroidery," many people would think you are talking about a specific kind of embroidery known as "candlestick embroidery." There are lots of different kinds of embroidery, you see - pulled thread, drawn thread, cutwork, crewel, etc. I would probably think it was just a different word for candlewick embroidery (because there really is such a thing, and I've often thought about teaching myself how to do it), and that's not what you're talking about at all.

    I'm not saying that everybody would think the same thing, because most people don't know much about embroidery, but when you modify the name of a craft with an adjective, it often sounds like the name of the craft. What kind of painting is it? It's a watercolor painting. What kind of pot is it? It's a coil pot. What kind of embroidery is it? It's candlewick (or candlestick ;)) embroidery.

    A further complication is that people who write the descriptions of clothing that is for sale in catalogues or on websites do often throw in these sorts of details, not necessarily because they think people really know enough about embroidery to care whether it's candlewicking or not, but just because it sounds cool. A lot of catalogue copy, at least in the U.S., consists of 75 percent empty words that are there just because they sound kind of cool.
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