Fashion terminology is DEF ahhhmazing!

Fashion terminology has a twin-nature: extremely accurate and specific when dealing with clothing from a technical point of view; merry and creative on fashion blogs and magazines.

Technical-field terminology (production materials and machinery, as well as standard kinds of clothes) has three main characteristics: precision, auto-referentiality and transparency.

Fashion terminology on fashion blogs and magazines combines instead, a lot of wordplays, acronyms and abbreviations (for instance: LBD, standing for Little Black Dress). Fashion terminology mixes also words from different languages and literature language with everyday slang.

By playing with terms, synonyms and sounds of words, fashion language faces an endless challenge: it is a battlefield for bloggers and journalists for a challenge to the latest neologism. The ever changing nature of fashion terminology depends actually on the influence of new coinages.

"Every girl needs a black leather skirt. Step it up this season with an architectural shoeNothing screams military chic like skinny cargo pants with a pair of beautiful camo-print ballet flats. Want to look as effortlessly cool as Rachel Bilson? Try a tribal-inspired hobo bag with a retro mini. For night, go luxe with a glam gown, but add unexpected accessories, like a splash of leopard print.Totally surreal."
(Excerpt from Toronto Standard)

Since the middle ‘60s – with a spike in the ‘80s – fashion terminology has always been getting richer, in line with a tendency to foster a global trade and new fashion trends. Now, fashion bloggers are having more an influence than ever, because they democratize the reporting of fashion.

Source: Smartling Fashion Terminology Timeline

How do new fashion words make it into dictionaries? The process occurs in two different ways:
  • Trickle-down’. According to theories dating back to the end of 19th century, the fashion world is a ‘top-down-trickle’: new words (associated with new trends) spread from the top to the bottom layers of society.
  • Bubble up’. New words come from the lowest layers of society and ‘boom’ up to the top layers. 

The main features of fashion terminology are:
  • ‘Useless’ words are left out: they can somehow slow-down the communication (namely prepositions, conjunctions, articles and so on).
  • Brevity of expression: “–able”- suffixed adjectives (fashionable, wearable) are used to avoid subordinate relative clauses.
  • Pre-modification: this is done by using stacked-noun-phrases – with or without hyphen, where verbs inflected for their present participle play the role of adjectives or object complements (for instance: Camo-print) – or several ‘base words’ within a single syntagm that are easily comprehended by the right recipients when placed in the right context (for instance:  tribal-inspired hobo bag ).
  • Nominalisation: using a noun instead of a verb to give expression to a concept being associated with a certain deed.
  • Vocabulary density: smaller number of verbs and a higher number of nouns, directly resulting from nominalisation.  Periods are more simplified, since principal clauses with scanty subordinates or trailing elements take preference over complex sentences. The periods are long, sometimes even longer than in typical language. Anyway, "stretchable" rules exist where special requirements lead to “inconsistency and conflict with general language rules”. 
  • Verbs: are very often inflected in their – ing form and passive forms.
  • Impersonalisation: 1st singular person is avoided.
  • The use of the fashion singular:  "They're showing a great pastel stingray-leather shoe for spring"  or "This designer has a way with a pant that other designers can only envy."
  •  Overuse of the superlative:  everything is amazing, superb, fantastic, gorgeous, fabulous, delightful.
source: http://hudabeauty.com/