IF LIKE ME you have found yourself the recipient of too many emails from online retailers (gotta get that 10% discount), you will probably be aware that they have their own language.
It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen before. Words I thought I knew are twisted up and given new meanings, and everything sounds like it should be spoken by a very tall woman called Cassandra who wears billowing black smocks.
There’s no real meaning to any of it (other than to sell you things), but I need to understand. So I’m trying to.
1. ‘Key pieces’
‘Key pieces’ are whatever trends have been deemed very important for a particular season, be they wrap dresses or tasselled earrings or some such.
For some reason, the term fills me with anxiety and dread, like key pieces are essential parts of my anatomy. My key pieces! I don’t have them! Help me, I’m dying!
2. ‘…Teamed with a straight-leg jean’
Just one jean. There can also be ‘a high heel’, ‘a bold lip’, and ‘a smoky eye’. Never two.
3. ‘Statement piece’
I’d prefer it if they just said: “People are going to be looking at you in the street. Are you able for that?”
I have never longed for the sweet oblivion of death more than when I read that a retailer has “curated” a selection of must-have items for spring/Halloween/Rosh Hashanah, just for me. God, thank you Next. You’re very kind.
5. ‘Shop the edit’
This is what they invite you to do after showing you some things that have been “curated”. It is absolutely nonsensical and I refuse to acknowledge it, even though a simple Twitter search shows that it is frighteningly overused:
From my understanding, these are garments you can wear in the summer, then layer with knitwear and tights in winter. But they couldn’t just say that, could they. It’s too simple and unintimidating.
7. “Capsule wardrobe”
Women have been told that this is the ideal state for a wardrobe to be in since time immemorial. Is every item you own harmonious with the rest? Are they all ‘timeless’ and ‘classic’?
No! I have to fight each morning to make an outfit out of my mess of clothes. Once I get one together, I wear those items exactly like that for the rest of their lifespan. The capsule wardrobe is a myth! I will die on this hill!
8. “Investment items/pieces”
Ah! ‘Piece’ is back.
These are more expensive items that are meant to last you a while, like a good coat or shirt. They are the things you put into a “capsule wardrobe” (imagine I’m doing bunny fingers and wearing a snarky expression), from what I can tell.
Every year begins with me pledging to ‘invest a few nicer pieces’, and every year ends with me keeping the charity shops of Dublin stocked with Zara tops. I am a failure.
9. The weird words for physical attributes
You don’t have hair, you have a ‘mane’. Or maybe ‘tresses’. And you’re always trying to ‘tame’ them.
Your nails, no matter how short and stubby, are ‘talons’. And your mouth? It’s a ‘pout’, even if you’ve never done a duck face in your life. I think I may actually be allergic to all this. I feel itchy.
10. And finally, ‘bang on trend’
*prolonged, piercing shriek that echos into the deepest recesses of space*