Bethan Holt | Contributor | Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Calling Bullshit On Fashion Words. All Of Them.

Calling Bullshit On Fashion Words. All Of Them.

The Debrief: Delete these from your vocab immediately

Disclaimer: as a fashion writer, I pay my bills by overusing all the words I’m about to dissect. A bit like when we did English GCSE and learnt all the 'persuasive' words, there’s a not-so-secret code of fashion writing, which involves a lexicon of go-to words which have magically taken on their very own separate meaning in a fashion context. Try using them to describe something other than, er, shoes and they seem quite frankly laughable. 

In a way, it is a wonderful thing that the murky world of fashion has co-opted so many seemingly simple terms and infused (ooops, sorry that one should probably be on the list) them with a kind of mythical alternative definition. After all, we all get that fashion’s favourite phrases aren’t exactly literal but it is time that somebody called bullshit on the most overused and farfetched tropes which you’re bound to see reading pretty much any kind of fashion writing, may I suggest a game of fashion bullshit bingo at their expense?


When the image or idea you’re describing involves some kind of casual, minimal idea then ‘effortless’ just conjures the idea spectacularly. But really, it really means Not Making An Effort. Would you want to go to your mates for an ‘effortless dinner’? Or be thrilled if your bedroom were described as ‘effortless’? Unless you’re Tracey Emin circa 1999 I’m guessing not.  And it's all a lot of bollocks anyhow as 99.9% of stuff you see described as 'effortless' has taken hours of careful thought and preparation and styling to make it look completely spontaneous. 

Something Luxe

'Boho Luxe', 'Urban Luxe' even 'Modern Luxe', feel free to try sticking any old word in front of 'luxe'and it makes it sound quite fancy. 'Hungover luxe' makes me think of someone wafting round glamorously in a silk kimono sipping at green juice rather than plain old 'hungover' which is all vomit, Friends and bacon sandwiches. 


'The Ultimate Edit of the 4379 crop tops you need right now!!!' goes a quintessential modern fashion headline. What this really means is that someone has scoured the internet to find a crap load of crop tops. Editing is a hugely important concept in fashion; without it we wouldn’t have utterly beautiful photo shoots in inspiring magazines and nor would we know that it was a button-up denim skirt which was really the one thing we need to buy right now if we want to look fashionable. Editing is usually the art of stripping away the crap. It’s just that that idea has become a bit, well, crap. 

Day to Night

This one is hilarious and also insanely useful when you’re trying to convince someone how they really, really do need this silk blouse because it will take them from meetings to cocktails. Or the way this fabulous clutch will tuck into their day bag and then they can pull it out for their fancy dinner date. But then there’s always the niggling worry of, where are they leaving their trusty big day bag? Surely not at the office, because then your lunch box will get all pongy overnight and we won’t have their make-up in the morning? Also, and perhaps this is just me, I usually just go to the pub (or sometimes even a restaurant!) in whatever I’ve worn to work. Don’t tell. 


A fresh spin, a fresh take, a fresh perspective... It sounds exciting, the kind of thing you'll likely want to give a whirl yourself. Very often though, through no fault of fashion's own really, fresh is likely to mean 'we looked at a picture from 20 years ago and did a similar thing again'. It's fresh for this very moment, yes, but in the grand scheme of things it's more of a revival. This is the wonderful thing about style; the same ideas come back around and look get a lot of love with a ahem  fresh set of eyes on them. How many times have you bought what you thought was a totally fabulous, innovative new coat only for your mother to say 'oh I used to have one just like that in 1983' or tied your scarf in a jazzy new bow only to uncover a sepia toned 1950s shot of your great-aunt sporting the very same styling trick. Sigh.

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Tags: Getting Ready