Horrible Fashion Jargon

“I’m all about a leopard shoe right now. I’ll wear these high/low style with a worn-out tee and skinnies”

-Maureen, copywriter. ( re Pedro Garcia shoes )

How many things are wrong with this statement from today’s front page at Shopbop, in a feature called Shopbop Obsessions?

This is what’s ruining online fashion for me. I can’t take the jargon. It is killing me. I am almost numb to the use of “rock” as a synonym for “wear.” But not quite. I can’t bear the word “obsessed’’ used as a substitute for I Love. When I read the words “I’m obsessed with this new lipstick by NARS,” I picture some girl who can’t stop thinking about the lipstick, maybe even stalking the lipstick for all I know. Can’t the term “obsession” still keep its meaning?   “Awesome” used to mean something, too. Now, if you see the Northern Lights or the Grand Canyon, you will need to say “The sight was breathtaking.” Awesome is what you say now when someone says “Dinner’s ready.”

I can’t stand the infantilisms either. The Brits do it more for some reason, but the US is catching up. Hoodie, lippie, cardie, booties, and now, apparently, “skinnies.”   Eeoow! Ugh!

Calling shoes “kicks” may be years old but it still feels like a knife in my stomach when I see this word. How about “mixing it up” as a fashion term? Jesus, am I the only one with an oversensitive ear?

Meanwhile, a “fan” has “suggested” that I am an exhibitionist. Okay then! Here’s my favorite photo of 2008, displaying the always popular Sister Wolf Beehive.

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29 Responses to Horrible Fashion Jargon

  1. skye says:

    Frankly, it’s the singular “shoe” that I cannot abide. Just that one lonely shoe. I suppose maybe she only has one foot due to an unfortunate shark attack or something, but that’s about the only excuse I’m willing to accept. I’m surprised she’s not “rocking” that leopard print shoe with a “pant” …

  2. hammie says:

    Well. Today Hammie is workin’ a pair of boardies from Byrning spears circa 1999, with pink uggies and a Tesco Tee’. When it warms up she can switch to Tesco flip flops which work in the house or in the showers to avoid the papalomas and tinea at the local pool. Practical and Tasteful.

  3. WendyB says:

    I detest “skinnies” and “sunnies.”

  4. Tobi Lynne says:

    I LOVE that beehive. I wish I could pull that off.

  5. stella-mayfair says:

    You rock the hive, Sis, like no one else ever will. Clearly you’re obsessed with the Crackie of Camden right now. Please, forgive my poor language, but English is not my native tongue. In fact, stupid fashionist lingo is. NOT!
    Btw, I totally detest that whole Brangelina, LiLo, SamRo, Speidi couple-wording. That’s just as digusting as those poo-coloured, catholic Uggs.

  6. K-Line says:

    So many words irritate me, I have to tune them out or I would go half insane…

    This isn’t fashion jargon, but my husband likes to call coffee “java”, like he’s out of 1947 or something – among other anachronistic phrases that make me want to poke him with sticks.

    PS You are a beehive goddess.

  7. Sister Wolf says:

    HAhahahaha! How did I fail to react to “shoe!” Horrible. She will be rockin’ it with the season’s iconic pant, I believe.

    What’s a “sunnie” again, WendyB?

    K-line, insist that he call it a “cup of Joe”

    Anyone who wants me to do their hair, give me a holler!

  8. Lora says:

    Couldn’t agree more with both entry & responses!

    I don’t know what’s worse though, fashion jargon in print or actually hearing somebody speak like this. I had a friend say to me “those shoes make everything so kicky, are they vint?” I may be overly dramatic here, but it almost felt like I was touched inappropriately… I just wanted to go home & take a bath.

  9. honeypants says:

    Skye — I’m with you on the singular ‘shoe.’ I was thinking ‘pant’ and ‘jean’ and then saw you beat me to ‘pant!’ Any plural that is singularized in this way is annoying (slipper, panty, stocking, sock…)

    I watch ‘What Not to Wear’ (or as Mr. Honeypants calls it: ‘The Fag and The Jew’) quite often, and they (esp. Stacy) are major offenders!!! ‘Pop’ drives me batshit crazy. And I want to punch Ms. London every time she says “Shut up!” and “Get out!” That may be irrelevant, but I figured I’d gripe while on the subject.

    I also thoroughly agree with ‘rock’ as well as lippie, nailie, etcie.

    As for obsession, that’s something I LOVE! Not the misuse of the word, but the actual act of obsession. It’s so exciting and all-consuming, and they better not take its meaning away from us x(

  10. Sister Wolf says:

    Lora, I am floored. How did you survive this????? I heard a woman say to a sales person “I don’t do pink” and that was traumatising.

    Honeypants, “pop” is awful. I once wandered into a Chanel alcove at Nordstrom and admired a little chartreuse bag. The sales girl confided, “That one is great for a pop of color.” At the time I was carrying a gigantic neon yellow handbag. As if, bitch.

  11. K-Line says:

    OMG, no joking around, he also calls it “cuppa joe”. Which makes me BALLISTIC. Thank god he’s good in bed or I’d have divorced him years ago 🙂

  12. Sister Wolf says:

    Know the feeling, K-Line.

  13. ohhh, so guilty of this. It’s awful, I’m like Madonna after a week in London. i just left a comment on another blog about how I love that skinnies are getting skinnier. omg, i so don’t heart this – see, fashion blogging is rotting my vocabulary.

  14. Sister Wolf says:

    Hahahahaha! (can’t stop laughing!)

  15. Sonja says:

    ‘like Madonna after a week in London’ – hilarious!!!

  16. Susan says:

    What about mani-pedi? Hearing that is like nails down a chalkboard.

  17. enc says:

    I’m with you. You said it all, and very succinctly.

  18. susie_bubble says:

    I must say that i’m guilty of these ridiculous exaggerated fashion jargons….. I really think it’s a way of editors/writers to really SELL in whatever they’re peddling be it a new label, a lipstick or whatever….

  19. I’m with you! When the salesman in Barneys tells me “you may want to do a bright shoe with this to make the look pop” I feel like I’m in some bad makeover TV show.

  20. Also, the use of “sick” as a synonym for great, as in “Those leopard Loubies are totally SICK!”

  21. julie says:

    This is so entertaining. I hadn’t thought about it before, but now THANK YOU SISTER, I will notice all of these things and they will drive me crazy! Oh that reminds me – DO YOU HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE YELL AT YOU?!


  22. Sister Wolf says:


    “sick” as a synonym for great has really confused me time after time. Make it stop.

    Next time someone foists ‘pop’ on me, I will say “Do I look blind, you idiot?” That might be helpful.

  23. Charponnaise says:

    Can I add ‘on-trend’ and its smirkier, more punchable cousin, ‘bang on-trend’ to the list please?

    I also resent the word ‘luxe’, and have done for some years now – [can anyone remember when it made its debut.. about 10, 15 years ago? Who was responsible for this?] Can’t you spell ‘luxurious’, fashion eds? There’s two ‘u’s, and only one ‘o’. Make up a clever, perky rhyme to help yourselves remember it when Word spellcheck fails you.

    Really, though, I hate the dumbing down of language wherever it occurs. I curse myself for not reading enough right now, because frequently I hunt for a word, and think ‘my god… my vocabulary used to be bigger than this! I used to be smart!’ This is what I get for watching MTV and reading Elle, and not making time for more substantial brain-fodder. I’ve only myself to blame, but I can still hate on the perpetrators, like a smoker suing Marlboro.

  24. Sister Wolf says:

    Charponnaise, You have nailed it. Let’s resolve to retrieve some of our misplaced vocabulary. As for “on trend” I JUST thought of it last night and nearly retched. Luxe is like “classy”, i.e. a self-negating word.

  25. Lucy says:

    I agree with all!! And here’s something even more pernicious – use of the IMPERFECT instead of present tense (I think I got that right??) E.g., “I am loving x” instead of “I simply now in the present moment all on my own…. have an opinion on x!” WHERE did this come from? It drives me around the bend.

  26. Sister Wolf says:

    You’re right, HORRIBLE!! I am hating it. Ugh.

  27. annemarie says:

    the only fashion jargon that i hate is “it’s a MUST-HAVE.”
    the more i think about it the more depressing it gets. the MUST-HAVE is not just jargon– it’s the underlying ethos of our this whole culture of consumption. it’s why everyone runs out to buy their skinny jeans and then so many people have them that they start calling them “skinnies.” indeed, the MUST-HAVE, apart from being a euphemism for the madness of this sick ‘ol world, is also the MOTHER OF ALL HORRIBLE FASHION JARGON!
    i’m just saying.

  28. Elaine says:

    and all of its spawns such as recessionista (which even more vomit-inducing)

    I believe McDicks (as I fondly call McDonalds) started the whole imperfect/present tense mix-up with its horrible but catchy jingle: Badabadkaldkj I’m lovin’ it.

  29. ali says:

    Reading your old posts because I am about to pass out at work after staying out late at a concert and throwing a tantrum because I felt left out of the group I went with. Growing up takes forever! Definitely not there yet.

    Australian English is the worst with infantilizing words (chrissy, brekky, pozzy, prezzy, etc)! Costa Rican Spanish is bad too. They add “ito” or “ita” to everything to signify cuteness or an endearing quality. I like it now because I feel “home” sick. But when I went to high school there I hated it.

    Hammie’s comment … HAHAHAH

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