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How to speak fashion


1st Jan 2015 Fashion & Beauty

How to speak fashion

Understand the language of fashion when it comes to shopping both online and on the high street. You will be sure to impress if you drop these words casually into conversation.


Know your AW14 from your SS14? No it isn’t a post-code but shorthand for autumn/winter 2014 and the reason the shops are stocking boots instead of swimwear and vice-versa. Other fashion terms are even more confusing and can cause problems when shopping online—so here’s how to crack the code.


Boyfriend (think jeans and blazers) means baggy and often looks best on the petite.

Beware Oversized, which is beyond big, and also mum jeans once a term of abuse but now trending in Topshop.

In contrast, Body Con is clingy because clothes contain elastane, as in the bandage dress, made from stretchy strips.

Fierce is not a criticism but admiration for dominatrix chic, especially shoes.

Rock means to wear a demanding style with attitude, as in “Miley Cyrus rocks a side-boob.”

Or indeed, the Colour-Block trend that combines clashing colours, sometimes in the same garment.

In contrast, a Pop of Colour recognises that a belt, shoes or bag is the only sane way to wear workmen’s orange.


MEN’S wear

Chinos are cotton trousers inspired by the military.

See also Cargo Pants with pockets on the legs, designed to store bullets.

More technically, Oxford is way of constructing formal shoes and also a cotton basketweave cloth used for shirts.



Rise is the distance from crotch to waist. Look for regular rise (12in) rather than low rise (8in or less) unless you want to flaunt some flesh.

Luxe is short for “de luxe”, but not always formal: “luxe sportswear” is made from fabrics inappropriate for the gym.

Grunge means unkempt, while Urban is inspired by hip-hop stars. (Think baggy pants, hoodies and high-top trainers for men; cut-off shorts and skimpy tops for women, and plenty of bling for both.)