A Style Dictionary, Whorts and All

Daily Mail (London), September 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

A Style Dictionary, Whorts and All


Byline: Sean Kane

IF it feels as though shop assistants are speaking another language when they suggest a cardigown to go with your whorts, it seems you're not alone.

Fashion terminology has become so complex that baffled shoppers are being offered a dictionary to help them make sense of clothing label lingo.

The department store Debenhams said it was releasing the guide 'because no one understands the plethora of new descriptions and phrases emerging from the fashion industry'.

Among the bewildering terms translated in the dictionary are cardigown (a long cardigan, belted like a dressing gown), whorts (thick, woolly winter shorts worn over tights), mube (a maxi tube dress) and treggings (leggings that look like trousers). Debenhams spokesman Lizzie Singleton said: 'It's now easier to understand Sanskrit than some of the words commonly used by commentators within the fashion industry to describe garments.

'Shakespeare managed to accurately describe the entire human condition using simple English, so we're certain the fashion industry can do the same to describe a pair of trousers.

'It's virtually a secret language, designed solely for fashion experts and people who spend every day reading fashion magazines.

'We want to strip away as much of this new language as possible and use plain English to describe everything we sell.' The dictionary clears up any confusion over skorts (skirt-like shorts, or culottes) and shoots (something in between a shoe and a boot).

And while men have long accused women of speaking a different language, it seems that they struggle the most when it comes to understanding modern shop assistant terminology - finding themselves confronted with terms such as mandals (sandals for men), meggings (male leggings) and mace (male lace).

The list of terms was being released yesterday to help baffled browsers avoid any embarrassment or confusion that may be caused by the neverending stream of new terms coming out of the fashion industry with each new collection. …

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