Ready to Wear: The term ‘fashionista’ has always been a pet peeve in this neck of the woods

We all know that fashion terminology changes as regularly as, well, as fashion itself. How else would people be persuaded to invest in clothing that, basically, they already own?

And so winter's "camel" becomes summer's "honey", the humble "shirt-dress" may be a "shirt-waister" one minute and simply a "button-through shift" the next. More heinously, though, that most heinous of words, "fashionista", has recently morphed into the more heinous still "recessionista".

The term "fashionista" has always been a pet peeve in this neck of the woods. It implies something diminutive, sweet, female and resolutely frivolous, associations that any woman with an ounce of sense – or weighing more than a few ounces, for that matter – would never willingly embrace. An enduring love affair with one's wardrobe is no trivial matter, as anyone with a storage problem will be quick to testify. More importantly, people don't talk about "parliamentistas", do they, or indeed "presidentistas". I rest my case.

Coined earlier this year at about the same time that the expression "credit crunch" became the most over-used in the media, "recessionista" is now being bandied about to persuade consumers – and, again, female consumers – that it's fine for them to spend money on clothing. That clothing should, however, preferably be inconceivably cheap, which might make any recessionista out there feel like a responsible human being, but the fact that the garments are made by people whose working conditions and salaries make the western world's financial disarray pale into insignificance by comparison might prove a slight impediment.

Conversely, there are also words that, though equally ineffectual, simply refuse to budge. I give you: cool (not as in cold); hip (not as in rose); rocking (most definitely not as in horse); and urban (with no relevance to town planning implied). Any writer who feels the need to use any of these does so at their peril, resting safe in the knowledge that she/he is, of course, anything but. The truly cool, hip, rocking or, er, urban rarely feel the need to identify themselves or, indeed, their subject that way.

Finally, how about "conceptual", used to describe clothing that we should like because we know it's clever, but, to be honest, it's also a bit difficult and not all that nice. Or "edgy", which has similar connotations but is more mainstream, in fact so mainstream it's become meaningless. Witness last week's Grazia, in which a floral print is deemed just that. How can a floral print (right) be even remotely edgy? They feature flowers, and the last time I looked, gardening was hardly an avant-garde pursuit. Avant-garde, eh? Don't get me started.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service and Business Support Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: By developing intimate relationships with inte...

    Recruitment Genius: Application Support Engineer - Software

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A small rapidly expanding IT So...

    The Grange Retirement Home: Full Time Care Team Manager

    £22,400: The Grange Retirement Home: This is a key role which requires a sound...

    Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

    £30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

    Day In a Page

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada