I’ve mentioned this before, but the first time I covered New York Fashion Week in 2009, I felt like I had no idea what I was talking about. It totally shocked me, because as a fashion aficionado, and someone who’d worked in the industry, I felt like I should have known how to describe the clothes I was seeing beyond “the black skirt was faaaaabulous.” After that experience, I decided to study up on my fashion vocabulary.
Whether you’re writing about fashion week for the first time, or you just want to chat about the collections and actually sound like you know what you’re talking about, here’s a quick lesson in common fashion-terminology.
1. Architectural: A term used to describe clothing that is designed based on its shape and structure. Proportions are typically exaggerated. Derek Lam and Margiela are known for using architectural details in their clothing.
2. Graphic print:
3. Classic: Classic silhouettes are tailored and timeless. Fitted blazers and t-shirts, pencil skirts and shift dresses are considered classic silhouettes.
4. Color blocking:
5. Proportion: The way designers play with the size, length and volume of their clothing. The ongoing maxi skirt craze is a trend of proportion. It can also be used to describe the way pieces of a collection relate to each other. I.e. pairing a voluminous pant with a tailored top.
Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive dictionary, but it’ll get you started. The best way to truly build up your fashion vocab is to read the major magazines and reviews of the collections online. And study “The September Issue.” Seriously!