Translating the fashion dictionary

I love the bi-annual fashion weeks. While I don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on a dress and nobody would call me a dedicated follower of fashion, I do appreciate the art and design element of fashion and the craft that goes into it.

A 'brave' look from London Fashion Week

A ‘brave’ look from London Fashion Week

One of the most hilariously enjoyable aspects of fashion week is how self-congratulatory it all is, especially in the write ups, with everyone cooing about the ‘next big thing’ that the average girl will never be able to afford.

The same language comes up again and again and is a highly amusing insight into the minds of the fashionistas. Here’s my translation of the main descriptive words and what they mean to the real people.

Fierce – Worn by a slightly angry-looking model that walks down the catwalk as though she is going to jump off the end and beat someone up. The ensembles include one or more of the following: black, metal, lace, spikes, nudity, scary shoes, headpieces.

Chic – The catch-all word for everything. Mostly bandied around in Paris fashion week but generally descriptive of the kind of outfit you could get away with at work or a job interview, meeting your partners parents, or pretending you are Carrie Bradshaw.

Elegant – Gowns, jackets and very long clothes are elegant. You cannot be elegant in anything above the knee but it does encompass a wide range of colours. When worn by very thin, tall people the clothes look elegant but the juries out on whether us normal humans could pull them off.

Bold – Patterns, stripes, peculiar or asymmetric shapes – these are the items that look like normal clothes gone slightly scew whiff. You could wear them in public but people would look at you and think you were a bit mad.

Brave – The crazy stuff and you know what I mean by that. This is the word for anything on the catwalk that would never translate to real life unless you want to get arrested or are going to a fetish club or fancy dress. Ironically, this usually includes the most interesting and creative clothes.

I take my hat off to fashion journalists for understanding the context of what is going on in front of them other than just seeing a parade of clothes as us mere mortals do. High fashion is fantasy for most normal women and that is no bad thing as, like a van Gogh or a Henry Moore sculpture, I can’t afford to own the art but I still enjoy looking at it.

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