Blend of "Recession" + "Fashion"

Could this be the next fashion buzzword?

Read the Recession Fashion selection of post and articles on Fashion English

Heel heights grow during Recession

Towering platforms, wedges, and stilettos are becoming more popular than ever.
"We have entered a moment of heightened impracticality in footwear,"
Elizabeth Semmelhack, author of "Heights of Fashion: A History of the Elevated Shoe" told CNN.

"Heel heights noticeably grew during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the oil crisis in the 1970s, and when the dotcom bubble burst in the 2000s."
The heel height in women's shoes has greatly increased in the present day.

Semmelhack believes the height increase demonstrates a need for escapism in hard economic times.

read more on: examiner.com

see also: Recession Fashion



A Chinese term for youths at the vanguard of fashion.

Discussing the appeal of iPhones, iPads and the like, in The Global Times, Ding Gang spotlighted the term chaoren:

Chinese use the recently coined term chaoren, referring to those who stand at the front lines of fashion, with new clothes and amazing gadgets. The iPad has been every chaoren’s new toy since it entered the market.

published on Shott's Vocab


You may think that you know what this means but if you've been listing the Esprit jumper you bought last winter on an internet auction as "vintage" then you do not.
Last season's clothes are "used clothes". Vintage implies some kind of pedigree.

published on: NZ Herald News


Ambiguous phrase depending on how you feel about the person.
Telling someone whose style you like, "It's so you" is a compliment. If you don't like their outfit, it means, "I wouldn't wear that if you paid me." If this is too obvious an insult, you could say "unclassifiable" or "unique".

source: NZ Herald News

Vanity sizing

A clever marketing idea that works on the theory that if you feel thinner because you fit into a smaller size then you're more likely to buy.

published on: NZ Herald News

Trickle-up trend

When a fashion trend starts in an area other than fashion, usually at street level - that is, art students and musicians are wearing or doing something and then the fashion industry catches on and presents the look on the runway, for sale.

published on: NZ Herald News


Combination of the words tragic and trashy. A description that's so bad that its almost a compliment.

published on: NZ Herald News


Describes any sort of situation, logo or slogan that would look good on a T-shirt.

source: NZ Herald News


An extremely pointy high heel that is, in fact, so pointy you could stab a pickle with it, if you so desired.

Use it: Pickle-stabbers and pointy toes are so 20th century.

Source: NZ Herald News


A trend with a lot of currency right now. It means that something has a sort of futuristic look, but it's the kind of future that was imagined in the 50s and 60s, as in The Jetsons.

Use it: That shiny, silver bag is so retro. But, oh, it's kind of futuristic and space-age as well.
Wow, that must be the retro-futurism I've been hearing all about.

source: NZ Herald News

On trend

The person, label or item is doing exactly what you expected in terms of fashion trends.

So if lace dresses are popular, they are making or wearing lace dresses. You may wonder why we keep using such phrases if we realise some of them are so annoying. Well, you try coming up with 20 synonyms for fashionable and you'll understand.

Use it: There were some weird bits, but mostly her whole collection was so on trend.

Source: NZ Herald News


A big trend a couple of years ago when people who couldn't sew, knit or draw, took to embroidering, knitting and drawing on their own clothes. This was to set themselves apart from the fashion crowd.

Source: NZ Herald News


A substitute for the much overused word "fashionista". A glamourista is someone who really knows their way around fashion and glamour.

Use it: Oh dear, look at her. With her Chanel bag and her Dior sunglasses she thinks she's such a glamourista.

Source: NZ Herald News


Similar to a makeover, except rather than dolling oneself up, one opts for a simple, no-makeup, no-fuss look. This can be a positive or negative.

Use it: My mother used this pudding bowl and scissors to give my hair a makeunder.

Source: NZ Herald News


Combination of the words glamour and Amazon that is now considered old-fashioned terminology for long-legged, well-paid supermodels who strode the 80s' runways.

Covert couture

The sorts of clothes that cost a lot of money but don't look like they once did. Only the smug owner knows the value and quality of such items.

Source: NZ Herald News


Something that's made especially for you.
Note that there are big differences between bespoke and other similar terms. Bespoke is where it's made for you from scratch.

Source: NZ Herald News


Black: As in "the new black". A lot of fashion-industry types wear black all the time because it's slimming, it's attractive and it's a hell of a lot easier to wear than most of the clothes they see on the runway.
So when something becomes so widespread it rivals the popularity of the colour black, it is referred to as the new black.

Source: NZ Herald News


Aspirational: This is what high fashion is supposed to be. No, you're not supposed to wear the clothes you see in the glossy Italian magazines - at least, not with butterfly wings on while climbing a tree in high-heeled boots. You're just supposed to be inspired by, or aspire to, them.
It's fashion as fantasy: This is also the best excuse ever invented by the fashion industry for the politically incorrect things they do.

Use it: We don't want 14-year-old girls to develop anorexia. Surely they can tell the difference between reality and fantasy. This is high fashion. It's aspirational.

Fashionese shows a great love for blend words

Blend words are words which are formed through the combination of two or more words words such as 'trendbot', where the words 'trend' and 'robot' have been blended together to mean a person who automatically follows the latest trend.

Fashionese is also very fond of abbreviations, particularly fashion to 'fash' (as in fash pack, fash clash and so on) and of acronyms such as YSL (Yves Saint Laurent), MFW (Milan fashion week) and s/s (spring/summer fashion collections).

Fashionese may sound quite like English, but be careful, there are a number of false friends to trip up the unsuspecting fashion speak novice.

Watch out for 'very' (used to mean 'in the style of', rather than 'extremely'), 'nudes' (a natural skin toned colour palette rather than naked people), 'vanilla' (bland and boring rather than the flavouring) and 'beige' (again meaning dull or uninteresting rather than light brown coloured)

Source: Speak Fashionese

French words in Fashionese

Fashion is a global business and its language is full of words and expressions from all over the world; but just like Paris has a special place in the heart of every fashionista, so too does its language.
Some French words and expressions are used correctly such as 'avec' and 'c'est magnifique' but more often than not English expressions are translated literally and consequently incorrectly such as 'très maintenant' (which is a literal, but grammatically incorrect, translation of 'very now' as in 'very trendy right now').
Some words are not only mistranslated but are also mispronounced such as 'haute' which is pronounced as 'hot' in Fashionese rather than 'oat' as in French, and used describe something fashionable as opposed to its original meaning, 'high', in French.

Source: Speak Fashionese


Using support for breast cancer research to market products, particularly products that cause cancer.

Pinkwashing is a blend of pink, the color associated with breast cancer research, and whitewashing, "concealing flaws."

"An unflattering term coined by activists for pink products by companies that say they're helping fight breast cancer but are linked to practices that contribute to factors researchers say cause rising rates of the disease."
—Gabrielle Giroday, Think before you pink, Winnipeg Free Press, June 4, 2008

Published on: Word Spy



After the hipper-than-thou East London area, Hoxton has now become shorthand for its own particular breed of art-school edgy, particular if worn by a borderline anorexic boychild with asymmetric hair.

The difficulty with Hoxton dressing is that, like some kind of quasi-philosophical theory, as soon as something becomes thought of as “Hoxton”, it will immediately stop being worn in Hoxton. Thus most of the time, you’re locating Hoxton style in Camden and Chiswick. As a general rule, once you’re spotting Hoxton in Fulham it no longer qualifies for the term.

See also: Shoreditch.

published on: shinystyle


Impressive, decorative, but not strictly necessary.

All you need to know here is that you will never wear anything described as “conceptual”. You might put it on your coffee table, hang it on your wall or mistake it for a child’s novelty plaything, but you will never wear it. Usually the preserve of a crop of Japanese designers including Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons and Junya Watanabe, conceptual design is what the uninitiated think of when they think of catwalk fashion. Puffer jackets the size of bouncy castles, dresses made from Perspex, hats with trees growing out of them.

published on: shinystyle


Some of you might have been bought up in the mistaken belief that matching clothes was a good thing. Not so, we’re afraid. The fash pack use this as a derogatory term for anything overly co-ordinated, in colour, print or theme.

published on: shinystyle


As a general rule, notwithstanding Vera Wang, the fashion industry doesn’t persecute single women to nearly the same extent as other institutions (TV, film, elderly aunts). But every so often even the staunchly autonomous world of style has a moment of weakness and makes us feel crap for being uncoupled. “Boyfriend” style is one of those moments. Used to make baggy, manly clothes sound appealing, the concept on boyfriend blazers, trousers etc is based on the idea that you might have borrowed them from a man’s wardrobe. What it overlooks, of course, is that if you actually borrowed said items from your boyfriend’s wardrobe, they would be too big on the shoulders, too tight on the hips and smell of feet.

published on: shinystyle

Sit back

A cover-all term for the dressing down of attention-seeking garments.

If you buy a glitzy embellished jacket, for example, you could sit it back with a white vest and some denim cut-offs. Sitting back is a crucial element of modern dressing, allowing you to wear things that wouldn’t look out of place in Danny La Rue’s wardrobe without looking as if you’ve tried too hard. Or at all.

published on: shinystyle


(to) channel - a verb used to describe an item of clothing or an accessory with reference to the influence of the style of an icon, era or designer oversized or outsized - Fashionese for 'big'

There are several reasons that fashion folk use the word channelling so much. One is because it is, to all intents and purposes, another way of saying “copying” that sounds far more admirable and far less like primary school. Another is because it makes getting dressed sound like a form of superhuman act, like channelling the force of some radioactive crystals through our fingertips in order to create a rip in the space-time continuum. It makes it sound important, and fashion folk like feeling important.

source: shinystyle


BIJ stands for Big In Japan, which in turn is shorthand for your outfit getting you stopped in the street so that arty Japanese tourists can take your photo. It’s one of the best mood enhancers you can get for free. But beware, being BIJ doesn’t necessarily mean B-everywhere-else – you could just be the photo they tag as their friends on Facebook as a joke.

published on: shinystyle


A localised sub-trend, usually one that is only big for a couple of months, or within certain geographical perimeters.

Sometimes micro trends will grown into fully-fledged macro trends; sometimes they will disappear as quickly as they came (leaving you with a cupboard full of animal ear headbands and nowhere to wear them). Recent micro trends include Doc Martens, letterman jackets and top knot hairdos.

published on: shinystyle

Global Traveller Chic

Global Traveller Chic is all about trippy colours and the kind of scraps of fabrics from Bangkok night markets that first-year university students think make fabulously chic wall-hangings.
The pseudo-ethnic hippy nonsense that even Jade Jagger tossed into the trash some years ago has come back to haunt us. If you see a girl a girl in acid yellow and a trustafarian bobbly hat, you're looking at GTC.

Published on The Guardian

Candyfloss, butter chocolate, mint

Respectively, pink, yellow, brown and green.

It should come as no great surprise that the language of fashion is very descriptive, since fashion itself is all about image and appearance. A good example of the highly descriptive nature of Fashionese is the use of colour words - red, green, blue and orange just don't cut it in Fashionese - think raspberry, kelp, cerulean and cape gooseberry instead.

But with such a plethora of descriptive terms at one's disposal - snow-white/ivory/virginal/pearl and so on - knowing which one to use presents a dilemma.
So it's quite right that fashionese should have a similarly hopeful intention, even if in this case it's the hypothetical aspiration of the speaker to one day allow herself to eat the cited foodstuff (butter? Chocolate? Dream on, girlfriend), whereas blueberries are totally permissible superfoods and therefore aren't quite as thrillingly dangerous to mention. Going back to Prada, it is all about, as one far inferior newspaper put it with admirable eloquence, "deliberately alienating colours", which means orange, green and grey, which means "very tricky to wear".


Nu Tec

This can be summed up as "fabrics that look a bit funny", such as strangely shiny coats and dresses at Lanvin and bobbled fur and leather at Prada.

See also "burnt", "blistered", "puckered" and "bubbled", none of which, it has to be said, are adjectives one generally sees in a fashion context, but it's always nice to give all words their moment in the sun. And also "bleeding", which refers to colours blending into one another. The more medically slanted "bleeding" is more acceptable than the more common description of "tie-dyed" because hippies are tres passe these days - very 2004/5 as part of the hastily forgotten boho era.

Published on The Guardian

Very Edie

Think head scarves, frumpish skirts, slightly skewed makeup.
Alternatives for those who don't fancy looking like an S&M mistress from Torture Garden or a batty prematurely aged housewife are "preppy" (anything with a blazer) or "skater style" (not an encouragement to dress like Christian Slater in the seminal 1989 film Gleaming the Cube, but the more Torvill and Dean-inspired ice-skater look, which should pretty much begin and end with fake fur-lined mid-calf boots, which are not, under pain of death, to be referred to as "booties".
That term should be reserved for slightly kinky, ie totally impossible to walk in, ankle boots.

Published on The Guardian

Body con

Clothes that fit tighter than a body wrap. Derives from "body conscious", and seeing as though eating is almost impossible in this look, you will indeed be very conscious of your body.

See also "tailored" (not baggy), or its antonym "unstructured" (baggy); "strong" (exaggerated shoulders, scary shoes, heavy accessories. Not to be confused with actual human strength that might require physical bulking up. Any increase in size should be done purely sartorially, so, whoa, Nelly, put down that protein shake).

Published on The Guardian


Neologism used by fashion writer Erika Kawalek, for Vogue and Isaac’s Style Book (Isaac Mizrahi’s fashion magazine).
A yet-but is a hedge, a caveat, used when describing some discrete article of fashion: a dress, a shoe, a bag — whatever needs three lines of text to anchor the large picture, or a few words to fill out the caption: “boho yet elegant,” “futuristic yet primeval.”
The yet-but is a quirk of fashion writing that has gotten less attention than it should.

Published on: Boston Globe


Blend of „nail“ and „-phile“: Lover of or enthusiast for nail painting.

Nail polish as the new recession cosmetics staple.

When a recession hits, we can usually count on two things: hemlines will hit the floor and women will stock up on lipstick. But during the recent global economic crisis, skirt lengths remained resolutely short and a new beauty product was crowned queen of the cosmetics counter.

Nail polish sales grew by a remarkable 14.3% in the U.S. in 2009, and were the only beauty category to experience double-digit growth, according to market research firm Kline and Company. Sales of lipstick and lip gloss, meanwhile, dropped by 5.3%, leading industry experts to believe that women have embraced nail polish as the new recession cosmetics staple.
So what’s made the ladies switch from lips to tips?

Women typically stick to pinks and reds for their lipsticks, whereas for nail colours, the sky’s the limit,” posits Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, executive VP and artistic director of OPI.

Doug Atkinson, Canadian spokesperson for mass market nail brand Sally Hansen, believes that nail polish allows for more freedom and creative expression than other cosmetics. “There’s a more casual attitude toward nails than lips,” he says. “People are more conservative with their faces than they are with their nails, and they’re looking for ways to express themselves in a manner that’s still business-appropriate. You see crazy pedicures in the office and it’s totally acceptable — no one’s going to get pulled aside for a bright pink polish.”

Read more: National Post


Michelle Obama and Stock Market Fashion

October 18, 2010, 5:19 pm


In the Economix blog, our colleague Catherine Rampell writes that Michelle Obama’s public fashion choices can boost the stock price of the companies making her clothes: “That is the conclusion of an analysis by David Yermack, of the Stern School of Business at New York University, published by The Harvard Business Review. Ms. Obama wears an outfit, and in (oftentimes correct) anticipation that her get-up will become the latest New Thing, the company that makes those clothes gets a healthy boost in its stock price.”


Lindsay Lohan Stock Index

A stock index comprised of companies associated with actress Lindsay Lohan. Investors might correlate the popularity of Lohan with increased sales surrounding her related products. Firms involved with Lohan endorsements, advertising or movies are included in the index.

published on: Investopedia

Lipstick Effect

Lipstick Effect: A theory that states that during periods of recession or economic downturn, consumers will avoid purchases of luxury items and seek material solace in smaller indulgences, such as a premium lipstick.

This is the reasons why during recessions consumers want to still treat themselves but cannot afford luxury items. Therefore, they often settle for dining out and going to a movie or just buying a new designer lipstick!

You can read more on Investoedia:)

Geek chic

Geek chic refers to the embracing of stereotypically unpopular "geek" characteristics such as glasses, comic books, and computer/video games.

"Are you a real geek? Are you proud of being a geekette? You can be cute (or sexy), yet embrace your geekyness by dressing in Geek Chick Style".

published on: wikihow

Going brow-less

Models and stylists are now bleaching or shaving eyebrows on purpose.
According to makeup artist Pat McGrath -- who gives eerily similar quotes to both the Times and the Guardian -- it's all about the recession: "The current economic troubles open people up to be more daring and willing to don cutting-edge looks." The Guardian follows up on McGrath's comment with a reachy-feeling question: "At a time when advertising is suffering, is eyebrowlessness just a more extreme way for a brand to sell its products?" asks the article's author, Emma Sibbles. Interestingly, in its own attempt to pin the trend on the recession, the Times floats precisely the opposite query: "Could no eyebrows be a reflection of economic downturn? Can one be too poor to have them? Having no eyebrows is certainly a way to express oneself without buying a product

see also: Hemline Index

published on: Salon

Hemline Index

The Hemline Index is a theory presented by economist George Taylor in 1926.
Recent research suggests it is valid. The theory suggests that hemlines on women's dresses rise along with stock prices. In good economies, we get such results as miniskirts (as seen in the 1960s), or in poor economic times, as shown by the 1929 Wall Street Crash, hems can drop almost overnight. Desmond Morris revisited the theory in his book The Naked Ape and the theory was also the topic of a question on the BBC Panel Show QI in 2010.


Il termine Gypset composto da gypsy + jet set ed è stato coniato da Julia Chaplin, giornalista del New Yorker. Sul suo sito web gypset.com descrive i Gypset come un gruppo emergente di artisti, musicisti, stilisti, surfisti e bon vivants, che conducono una vita semi-nomade e non convenzionale.

Julia Chaplin ha anche scritto un libro su questo nuovo stile di vita intitolato GYPSET STYLE ed edito da Assouline.

pubblicato su: in-dies

vedi anche: Fashion's new favourite buzzword: gypset



leggings (= trousers worn by women that stretch and fit very closely to their legs) that look similar to jeans
'Dozens of students were kicked out of class on the first day of term – for wearing jeggings. Furious parents have condemned Samuel Ward College in Haverhill, Suffolk, for its "draconian" ban on the fashion item. Jeggings are denim-style leggings made popular by celebs including Paris Hilton and Fearne Cotton.'

Published on The Sun 9th September 2010

more on macmillandictionary.com/buzzword


Fashion forward

Ahead of the trend, anticipating new/upcoming fashion trends.

By revealing his 'secret' to a few fashion-forward people and allowing them do the legwork, he created a textbook viral-marketing campaign."
(The Onion, Volume 24 Issue 29 article entitle "Divorced Branding Exec Generates Buzz Before Getting Back Out There")

Interested in fashion and wearing things that will soon become very fashionable
clothes for fashion-forward teenagers

More modern than things that are fashionable now
fashion-forward jeans

read more on: Dictionary Cambridge