Friday, November 26, 2010

The Fashademic Guide to Fashionspeak

Don't ever say I don't do anything for you.

'dress it up, dress it down
A useful phrase to use when the garment in question could be either dressy or casual. It often escapes recognition as the noncommittal statement it truly is because of the repetition of 'dress' which makes it sound pithy rather than ambivalent. Do not be fooled. This just means that the garment can be worn any way the wearer chooses and there is nothing much else to add.
See also: 'go anywhere' (as if there are some items of clothing that mysteriously do not go where the wearer does.)

Example: 'These stretch jersey bike shorts will really go anywhere. You can dress them up or dress them down."

'Fashion's front line'
The place where models, editors, photographers, stylists and buyers live during fashion week. Because Fashion is a war, you know, and they are placing their very bodies between the onslaught and us. What if a major sponsor sends camoflage down the runway? What if Carine Roitfeld walks past right as Tommy Ton shows up? What if you arrive late to a Marc Jacobs show and it started on time? These are the terrible situations they face each and every day in the line of duty.
See also: 'models off duty' (applied when models are wearing designer clothes in their own time rather than on the clock. A crucial distinction.)

Example: 'This just in from fashion's front line: bloggers sat in the front row again at Paris.'

'on trend'
A fairly recent addition to fashionspeak, 'on trend' is a favourite with shopping magazines and high street retailers the world over. It's like a sartorial version of that game Twister: right foot maxi dress, left hand cream cable-knit jumper. Then the fickle arrow of Fashion spins on the board again and it's time to reshuffle before you're left off-trend and in an awkward tangle with your face pushed up against someone's armpit.

Example: 'These khaki, canvas, peep-toe, wooden heeled, lace-up desert booties are so on trend.'

'... the new black'
'... the new black' is Fashion's self-referential way of saying 'this is stylish now.' Black could be the quintessentially Fashion colour- it looks simple, chic, and is universally slimming. The irony underpinning this phrase is that no other colour/print/cut/silhouette can ever seriously threaten black's timeless relevance so more fool the poor consumer who believes the spin. How many of you are there with a wardrobe full of hot pink, tiered skirts and lace bodysuits? If you see this phrase being used, assume that whatever it is will have a shelf-life of two months. Just less than a season, just long enough to drive you crazy with its ubiquity.

Example: Do you really need one?

'trip the light fantastic'
No-one actually knows what this means but it is a useful title whenever there is an editorial on light-coloured clothes or shots with lots of light filtered across the lense or if there's a beauty story on anything to do with lights or paleness or anything white or anything trippy.
See also: 'down the rabbit hole' (for anything fantastical or Alice-themed or vaguely related to bunnies); think pink (self-explanatory. Funny Face owes us a lot.)

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