Par­lez-vous menswear?


Esquire (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - By Si­mon Mills Il­lus­tra­tions by Damien Florébert Cuypers

From ‘Gvasalia, Demna’ to ‘Sock­less’, these are the A to Zs of fash­ion-bab­ble, ver­sion 2018.


Ex-bri­tish in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer-turned royal cou­turier and Sav­ile Row mav­er­ick who democra­tised men’s tai­lor­ing and sin­gle-hand­edly rein­vented the con­cept of men’s fash­ion in the United King­dom. De­signed the cos­tumes for Stan­ley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and wrote the es­sen­tial ABC of Men’s Fash­ion, se­ri­alised in Esquire in 1964. Said Sir Hardy: “A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with in­tel­li­gence, put them on with care and then for­got­ten all about them.”


Ap­pli­ca­tion of the de­sign of build­ings to the cre­ation of mod­ern cloth­ing. The no­tion of geom­e­try and scale in menswear items; the de­sign line of a gar­ment’s ar­chi­tec­ture (eg, con­struc­tion) that favours rigid­ity and em­pha­sises the mas­cu­line form. Ac­tu­ally, a pon­cey way of say­ing “fit­ted”.


A way of de­fen­sively ag­gran­dis­ing once su­per-fash­ion­able, now moth­balled cloth­ing items among one’s cru­elly judge­men­tal peer group. “What is that old jacket you are wear­ing?” “Comme. 2011. Ar­chive.”


Mid­dle-aged men’s fash­ion for wear­ing mul­ti­ple ban­gles, bracelets, Balearic VIP bands, eth­nic fes­ti­val beads etc on one’s wrist… long into the au­tumn. Stephen Web­ster. Ar­pad “Arki” Bus­son. Keith Richards. ATH­LEISURE ( fig 1 ) “Ath­letic” and “leisure” schmatta as prof­fered by ev­ery­one from Sav­ile Row tai­lors through to Cos on the high street. Think hood­ies in 16-ply cash­mere, suit­ing teamed with luxe leather sneak­ers and ca­su­ally tai­lored, grey flan­nel trousers with a draw­string waist. Started about 10 years ago, ig­nit­ing a trend for port­man­teau-driven fash­ion. See also, “Steez” and “Sport­sluxe”.


Var­i­ously, “Beau cadre, bon gout” (“Good class, good taste”). Or “Bon chic, bon genre” (“Good style, good at­ti­tude”). Shame­lessly snooty, Parisian com­pli­ment/so­cial sub-set that is loaded with al­lu­sions to the rich and well-ed­u­cated, French up­per classes. En­forces the wildly dated no­tion of style be­ing um­bil­i­cally con­nected to old money and good breed­ing. BCBG men favour cash­mere and tweed teamed with clas­sic items of un­der­stated Gucci and Her­mès. De­spised by Paris’s Bo­bos (Bo­hemian Bour­geois). BELLA FIGURA

Lit­er­ally, “beau­ti­ful fig­ure”. In­tan­gi­ble but om­nipresent con­cept cen­tral to the male Ital­ian ur­ban­ite’s phi­los­o­phy of liv­ing well. Com­bines de­port­ment, eti­quette, man­ners, gait, hu­mour, con­fi­dence, def­er­ence, spirit, sit­ting po­si­tion, li­bido, smile, smok­ing tech­nique etc. And is there­fore all but im­pos­si­ble for Bri­tish men to even be­gin to com­pre­hend. See also, “Sprez­zatura”.


Tai­lor­ing term used to de­scribe the craft and tech­nique of orig­i­nat­ing a hand­made suit or gar­ment to a cus­tomer’s in­di­vid­ual mea­sure­ments and spe­cific re­quire­ments. Ac­knowl­edg­ing nu­ances of the wearer’s body — slope of shoul­der, rake of spine — the be­spoke suit-mak­ing process in­volves uniquely in­di­vid­u­alised pat­terns, bastes, horse­hair and in­ter­lin­ing, takes a min­i­mum of 50 hours of hand­work and in­vites a series of fit­tings. Orig­i­nates from the no­tion of a cus­tomer choos­ing a bolt of cloth in the tai­lor’s shop where­upon it would be marked as be­ing “be­spo­ken for”. Or the man­ner in which the cus­tomer “be­speaks” (com­mu­ni­cates) his sar­to­rial de­sire to the tai­lor. Of­ten abused, be­spoke is not to be con­fused with “made to mea­sure” — or the US vari­ant “cus­tom” — which is de­fined as the al­ter­ing/mod­i­fi­ca­tion of stan­dard­ised pat­terns or ready-made gar­ments to fit the cus­tomer’s needs.


Af­ter Prus­sian Gen­er­alfeld­marschall Geb­hard Le­berecht von Blücher (1742– 1819). A type of shoe, sim­i­lar to a derby, where vamp and tongue are con­structed

of one, con­tin­u­ous piece of leather, over­lap­ping at the quar­ters and lac­ing across the in­step.

BOILER SUIT ( fig 2 )

One-piece, loose-fit­ting gar­ment orig­i­nally worn by men main­tain­ing coal-fired boil­ers. More re­cently adopted by man­ual work­ers and the gen­eral en­gi­neer­ing trade, the boiler suit be­came a bona fide util­i­tar­ian fash­ion item in the early For­ties when Sir Win­ston Churchill com­mis­sioned Jermyn Street tai­lor Turn­bull & Asser to make him a se­lec­tion of be­spoke “siren suits” in pin­stripe serge and — get you, mis­ter — green vel­vet. Churchill wore the suits for brick­lay­ing, paint­ing and at the Yalta Con­fer­ence at­tended by Stalin and Roo­sevelt. “Cover­alls”, as the Amer­i­cans call them, re­cently fea­tured in men’s col­lec­tions by Louis Vuit­ton and Raf Si­mons. Also worn by The Ghost­busters. Not to be con­fused with the “one­sie”.


Cut­ting-edge French pho­tog­ra­pher (1928–’91) whose daz­zling, unset­tling, provoca­tive, sin­is­ter, quasi-porno im­ages of psy­chodrama, ho­mo­eroti­cism and long, twisted limbs changed magazine pub­lish­ing and fash­ion ad­ver­tis­ing for­ever over a dis­tin­guished ca­reer span­ning 40 years.


Male rite of pas­sage, pop­u­lar circa 16th- to early 20th-cen­tury. Sig­nif­i­cant occasion when a small boy makes the tran­si­tion from wear­ing the uni­sex gowns or dresses worn by both male and fe­male ba­bies, to more ma­ture and manly breeches or trousers. In the Western world, this could hap­pen at any time be­tween the ages of two to eight. No longer widely ac­knowl­edged, breeching was of­ten marked with a small party where the boy’s fa­ther would hold his newly trousered child aloft in proud cel­e­bra­tion.

CCAZAL Lux­ury max­i­mal­ist Ger­man eyewear mar­que. Cre­ated by the Aus­trian de­signer Cari Zal­loni (Carl Zal­loni) Cazal’s bold and over­sized 607 sun­glasses were worn by RUN-DMC rap­per Dar­ryl Mc­daniels (aka DMC) from 1981 start­ing what be­came a last­ing trend across the wider hip-hop com­mu­nity. Other Cazal en­thu­si­asts in­clude Jay-z, Kanye West and Rick Ross, who also has the brand’s logo tat­tooed on his face. Dur­ing 1984, New York po­lice re­ported a spate of four Cazal-re­lated mur­ders in Man­hat­tan with youths be­ing shot dead or stabbed to death for their $500 spec­ta­cles. CHOLO Seen in the 1988 film Colors (di­rected by Den­nis Hop­per), cholo is a Mex­i­canAmer­i­can sub­cul­ture and street­wise aes­thetic orig­i­nat­ing in the East Los An­ge­les Chi­cano com­mu­nity and of­ten af­fil­i­ated with turf wars, vi­o­lence, gun crime and gang­ster­ism. Clas­sic cholo style in­cludes ban­danas, hair­nets, white vests, knee-high tube socks, Dick­ies trousers or long shorts and flan­nel shirts worn with only the top but­ton fas­tened. Cholo style was widely ref­er­enced in re­cent col­lec­tions by Vete­ments and Yeezy.


Util­i­tar­ian ap­parel cat­e­gory. French. (Chore: task or job.) Worker jack­ets and trousers in heavy-duty cot­ton. Mostly in a dis­tinc­tive, corn­flower blue tone. Ori­gin, early 1800s. Chore jack­ets and trousers worn by farm­ers, crafts­man, me­chan­ics and rail­way work­ers. Now adopted by ma­ture Shored­itch hip­sters and re-imag­ined by menswear de­sign­ers in­clud­ing Folk, Oliver Spencer, Mar­garet How­ell and Vete­ments for the de­signer mar­ket. The late New York street pho­tog­ra­pher Bill Cun­ning­ham wore a chore jacket to work ev­ery day.


From co-ed­u­ca­tional, mixed male/fe­male schools. Trend for stag­ing com­bined men’s and women’s col­lec­tions on the same run­way show (re­cently un­der­taken by Burberry, Gucci and Vivi­enne West­wood). Mar­keted as mod­ern, free think­ing, gen­der-fluid phi­los­o­phy and a mark of the fash­ion in­dus­try’s open­ness to change. Ac­tu­ally, an in­ge­niously canny, cost-cut­ting ex­er­cise.

COAT SLING­ING ( fig 3 )

The heinously self-con­scious habit of drap­ing a win­ter coat/bomber jacket/ chunky cardi­gan over one’s shoul­ders. As favoured by day­time TV style mav­er­ick David Dick­in­son and men who want to get papped for The Sar­to­ri­al­ist at Pitti Uomo. (To be dis­cour­aged.) In 2015, the New York Post’s fash­ion sec­tion ran a story head­lined, “Stop drap­ing your coat over your shoul­ders, you look like an id­iot.” They were right. Even worse is “coat shawl­ing”, which is the prac­tice of wear­ing an over­coat low down on the arms in the man­ner of a lady’s shawl.


The ap­par­ently bold don­ning of two (or more) con­ven­tion­ally clash­ing colours within the same en­sem­ble. Said to be in­flu­enced by the neo­plas­ti­cism of Dutch mod­ernist Piet Mon­drian. (Can also make grown men look like chil­dren’s TV pre­sen­ters.)


An­noy­ing fash­ion in­dus­try word for “colours”. For in­stance, “The new Air Jor­dans come in some re­ally nice colour­ways.”


Salty, sleepy, Por­tuguese coastal town just south of su­per-hip Lisbon that is fast be­com­ing boho cat­nip for the in­ter­na­tional fash­ion crowd. Mario Testino, Chris­tian Louboutin, Madonna, Jac­ques Grange, Philippe Starck and Anselm Kiefer all like to “sum­mer” in Comporta. COUP DE TIE Sig­nif­i­cant, stylis­ti­cally con­tra­pun­tal mo­ment when one’s neck­tie de­cides to stage a sub­tle but dra­matic coup, with the tra­di­tion­ally thin­ner, shorter length of silk foulard at the back of the knot­ted con­fig­u­ra­tion sud­denly dar­ing to show a bold, new-found con­fi­dence and au­da­ciously pre­sent­ing it­self as the longer player on the shirt placket stage. Let­ting the skinny end of the tie hang longer than the front-fac­ing wide side is very big with Mi­lanese men.

DDAD Var­i­ously pe­jo­ra­tive/com­pli­men­tary prefix that can be at­tached to the front of “jeans”, “brands” and “bands” to de­note al­most ex­clu­sive pa­tron­age by the 40-plus male pa­tri­arch au­di­ence. For­mer “dad brands”, such as The North Face, Columbia and Patag­o­nia are now con­sid­ered fash­ion­able for young peo­ple also. See also, “Gor­p­core”. DAN, DAP­PER Daniel “Dap­per Dan” Day. Vet­eran New York hip-hop cloth­ing mav­er­ick who cre­ated ex­tra­or­di­nary, en­thu­si­as­ti­cally boot­legged Gucci and Louis Vuit­ton lo­goed gar­ments in leather for the likes of LL Cool J and Eric B & Rakim dur­ing rap’s im­pe­rial 1982 to 1992 pe­riod, be­fore shut­ting up his Har­lem store and re­tir­ing. This year, in a quite ex­tra­or­di­nary turn of events, the Gucci house and its creative di­rec­tor Alessan­dro Michele an­nounced a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Day, the re­open­ing of his shop and ate­lier, and the fully sanc­tioned use of of­fi­cial Gucci fab­rics and prints. Dap­per Dan cus­tomer Floyd May­weather? Al­ready no­ti­fied.


Leg­endary but vis­ually unas­sum­ing Chi­nese restau­rant si­t­u­ated at 12 rue de Riche­lieu, Paris, run by Davé Che­ung whose pa­trons have in­cluded Yves Saint Lau­rent, Johnny Depp, Kate Moss, Lee Mcqueen, Keith Har­ing, Leonardo Dicaprio, David Bowie, Kanye West and Phar­rell Wil­liams. Go dur­ing fash­ion week… but keep your iphone in your pocket.


Gen­eral, po­lite, all-can-do word to de­scribe any look that is on-trend fash­ion­able (but a teensy bit silly).


In­dus­try buzz­word. Most pop­u­lar from 2014–’16. Ac­cord­ing to Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view, “dis­rup­tion” de­scribes a process whereby “smaller com­pa­nies with fewer re­sources are able to suc­cess­fully chal­lenge es­tab­lished in­cum­bent busi­nesses”. Ba­si­cally, it’s a new way of do­ing things that ren­ders the cur­rent model out­dated — such as sell­ing items to con­sumers straight from the cat­walk (see also, “See Now, Buy

Now”) and it’s also why In­sta­gram stars are now get­ting front row seats dur­ing the Mi­lan col­lec­tions shows.

DROP ( fig 4 )

Ex­citable in­dus­try/streetwear term to de­scribe the once rather hum­drum process of a sim­ple clothes de­liv­ery. For ex­am­ple, Thurs­day is “drop day” at Supreme, Soho, Lon­don, mean­ing end­less queues of skit­tish-look­ing hy­pe­beas­t­ial geeks in baggy hik­ing clothes, star­ing at their phones while they wait in silent, def­er­en­tial hys­te­ria for a van to ar­rive and drop new base­ball caps, back­packs and goose-down puffer col­labs.


Lin­ger­ing el­e­ment of a men’s fra­grance or af­ter­shave that per­sists in a pleas­ing man­ner af­ter its per­fume has dried on the skin. Sam­ple speech, “Mmmm... that dry down of to­bacco, gaso­lene and cin­na­mon is re­ally sexy on you, Dar­ren.”

EELKANN, LAPO Fre­quently trou­bled but re­li­ably en­ter­tain­ing grand­son of Gianni Agnelli, the late play­boy boss of the Fiat au­to­mo­bile com­pany. Runs his own Italia In­de­pen­dent sun­glasses out­fit and is head of Ferrari’s be­spoke ser­vice, Ferrari Tai­lor-made. Likes a Fiat Cin­que­cento and a swanky Ru­bi­nacci suit. Dated so­cialite Goga Ashke­nazi and fash­ion de­signer Mary-kate Olsen.


Ca­sual, can­vas or cot­ton fab­ric shoes with a flex­i­ble sole made of jute rope and moulded rub­ber. The French word “espadrille” de­rives from “es­par­denya”,

the Cata­lan name for shoes made from

“es­parto”, the hardy, hemp-like, Mediter­ranean grass twisted to make rope. Es­padrilles were worn by An­drew Ridge­ley and Ge­orge Michael dur­ing their hey­day as hit-mak­ing pop duo Wham! And now by var­i­ous cast mem­bers of TV’S The Only Way is Es­sex.


Think­ing-man’s an­ti­dote to fast fash­ion and hy­pe­beast con­sumerism. Eth­i­cal menswear la­bels fo­cus on sus­tain­ably sourced biodegrad­able ma­te­ri­als — or­ganic cot­ton, hemp and bam­boo — and trans­par­ent sup­ply chains man­u­fac­tur­ing clothes that are built to last, rather than throw away as land­fill af­ter one sea­son. Many eth­i­cal menswear la­bels also op­er­ate a re­pair ser­vice. Eth­i­cal brands to seek out: Nudie Jeans, Patag­o­nia, Peo­ple Tree, Fin­is­terre.

FFLAME / FLAMES Com­pli­ment. A fash­ion tal­ent or item of cloth­ing that is “hot” (like it’s on fire). As in, “Those shoes are flame!” FLEX

Show­ing off your new clothes. “Wow. Ja­mal is re­ally flex­ing that Prada T-shirt.” Don’t ever say this… even if you are Craig David. FOXED

As per­tain­ing to shirt col­lars. Gen­tly frayed, “foxed” col­lars oc­cur on shirts of a cer­tain age and ex­pe­ri­ence. Caused by a com­bi­na­tion of laun­dry, age, fric­tion and coarse beard hair frot­tage. Fetishised by US prep­pies, Bryan Ferry, old money aris­tos and wannabes as a Wasp-ish mark of fop­pish louch­eness. Ru­mours abound of men tak­ing sand­pa­per to shirt col­lars to af­fect the dis­tressed, foxed look on new gar­ments.

GGENDER FLU­ID­ITY The no­tion of men be­ing al­lowed to wear the same clothes as women. And vice versa. Blurred gen­der bound­aries and shared, male/fe­male cat­walks, with mod­els of both sexes wear­ing cloth­ing from the same lines, are now com­mon­place. Gen­der neu­tral­ity, mean­while, cham­pi­ons the idea that gen­der no longer dic­tates the way peo­ple dress. John Lewis has now abol­ished girls and boys la­bels on its chil­dren’s cloth­ing line and an in­creas­ing amount of high street

fash­ion brands such as H&M have launched gen­der-neu­tral col­lec­tions.


Orig­i­nal term for T-shirt. From “gob”, pop­u­lar US Navy slang for “sailor”. (Pos­si­bly re­fer­ring to their loud­mouthed, gobby ten­den­cies.) Copied from the French Navy’s un­der­shirts circa 1913, gob shirts were worn by Amer­i­can sailors for me­nial tasks dur­ing warmer sum­mer months, a fash­ion that prompted Amer­i­can re­tail gi­ant Sears to ad­ver­tise them as outer gar­ments for sale to the gen­eral pub­lic. In 1938, Fruit of the Loom and Hanes gob shirts cost around 24 cents each. (Dur­ing World War II, the daz­zling white was thought to be an easy tar­get for the enemy to spot and en­listed men were en­cour­aged to dull-down their cot­ton shirts with cof­fee pow­der.)


“Gorp” and “core” com­bined. Gorp, orig­i­nally from the old Eng­lish word “to eat greed­ily” but co-opted by Amer­i­cans as an acro­nym for “Good old raisins and peanuts”, aka a “trail mix” ag­gre­gate favoured by hik­ers and out­door types. In­tended as a hu­mor­ous vari­ant on the brief, 2016 fash­ion for ul­tra­or­di­nary “Norm­core” menswear styles (as epit­o­mised, non-in­ten­tion­ally, by the Amer­i­can comic Larry David), Gor­p­core fash­ion piles on mul­ti­ple lay­ers of re­silient and im­per­me­able out­door gar­ments by Columbia, The North Face, Teva and Birken­stock. Brands such as Givenchy, Prada and Lan­vin have all pre­sented their own in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the trend. Pop­u­lar with both A$AP Rocky and Drake. NB: Gor­p­core fash­ion is re­spon­si­ble for the un­likely re-emer­gence of the bum­bag or “fanny pack” as a fash­ion item. (Now worn front-fac­ing and slung across the body, Sam Browne-style.)

GOTH NINJA ( fig 5 )

Par­tic­u­lar type of man who dresses in The Ma­trix-ish, all-black, fu­tur­is­tic clob­ber by Rick Owens. See also, “Mur­dered Out”.


An all-grey out­fit. Can be a good look. But stop when you get down to footwear.


Amer­i­can slang for “over­dressed”. Pos­si­bly de­rived from “gussy”, Eng­lish For­ties play­ground slang for a showy, ef­fem­i­nate, flam­boy­ant type of man, of­ten called Au­gusta or Au­gus­tus.


Ge­or­gia-born, An­twerp-ed­u­cated creative di­rec­tor of Ba­len­ci­aga and Vete­ments. Rad­i­cal, menswear game-changer mar­ket­ing ge­nius, who man­aged to make £200 Dhl-print T-shirts fash­ion­able.

HHANDS ON Menswear blog­ger term for ac­tu­ally touch­ing some­thing, rather than just look­ing at it on the in­ter­net. “Read my blog this week and watch as I get hands on with the new Brunello Cucinelli col­lec­tion at Pitti Uomo!”


Prove­nance, craft, his­tory, fam­ily, tra­di­tion and nos­tal­gia are all es­sen­tial buzz­words in the “sto­ry­ing” of a true her­itage brand. Brown can­vas lug­gage, rugged, util­i­tar­ian selvedge prod­uct in buff card­board pack­ag­ing, the sug­ges­tion of hand craft and a fac­tory work­force si­t­u­ated in some downbeat, Spring­steen-ish Rust Belt town (Pitts­burgh or Detroit) are fur­ther con­vin­cers for the in­ter­na­tional hip­ster mar­ket. Think Fil­son, Carhartt, Red Wing Shoes.


Pro­nounced “ho-dink-ey”. World’s lead­ing and most in­flu­en­tial wrist­watch blog at­tract­ing more than 750,000 unique read­ers per month from over 200 dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Founded by for­mer UPS con­sul­tant Ben­jamin Cly­mer. “Hodinkee” is de­rived from the Czech word

“hodinky”, which means wrist­watch. Jay-z is a fol­lower.


Deroga­tory term for fash­ion-be­sot­ted young man with a blind ad­dic­tion to the pur­chas­ing of over­priced, de­signer streetwear prod­ucts. Dis­re­gard­ing of qual­ity, fit or suit­abil­ity, the hy­pe­beast val­ues rar­ity, la­bel, cur­rency and de­sir­abil­ity over per­sonal taste. Will of­ten re-sell su­per-hot items on the in­ter­net for a, usu­ally con­sid­er­able, profit.


Camp, Teu­tonic put-down as orig­i­nated by Sacha Baron Co­hen’s funkyzeit Euro-trash fash­ion mon­ster char­ac­ter, Brüno. For ul­ti­mate im­pact, de­liv­ered with a haughty sneer along the lines of: “You are on the guest list for the Ba­len­ci­aga party tonight? Ich don’t think so!”


Male fash­ion vic­tims/mo­rons who dress them­selves up ridicu­lously in wacky, clown­ish, en­sem­bles, wrongly believ­ing them­selves to be “in­di­vid­u­als”. Inane Clown Posse look is strong in South Korea and cer­tain dis­tricts of Los An­ge­les. See also, “Hy­pe­beast”.


Im­me­di­ate, in­stan­ta­neous and spon­ta­neous pur­chase of a hot fash­ion item. See also, “See Now, Buy Now”.


The idea that some de­sir­able and thus ex­pen­sive items of cloth­ing tran­scend fash­ion and be­come a worth­while in­vest­ment be­cause of the amount of wear and life you will get from them. In­vest­ment pieces tend to be menswear sta­ples and de­sign clas­sics: Burberry trench coat, black cash­mere roll-neck, Hunts­man suit, Church’s brogues, Ar­mani tuxedo, and so on.


Not the de­li­cious Dior fra­grance, but a melo­dra­mat­i­cally camp way of pro­fess­ing pas­sion­ate, fash­ion-love for some­thing, some­one or some gar­ment. “Antony Price for Roxy Mu­sic, 1975? J’adore.” See also, “Love”.


Another word for clothes. Ac­tu­ally, a coolly lazy, catch-all, Philadel­phia-orig­i­nated term for a thing, place, con­cept, per­son or event that one can­not (or can­not be both­ered to) find a spe­cific name for. “Got me some fresh jawns from the new Supreme drop.”

JEAN LAY ( fig 6 )

The man­ner in which the hem of one’s denim trouser leg sits/presents/breaks on dif­fer­ent items of con­tem­po­rary footwear. Jean lay varies in­cre­men­tally but cru­cially, de­pends upon the wearer’s pref­er­ence for train­ers, work boots or clas­sic brogues.


Founder of Supreme, the world’s most wanted streetwear brand. See also, “Drop”.

KKIDS Hip­ster heaven: 1995 film writ­ten by Har­mony Korine, di­rected by Larry Clark and star­ring Chloë Se­vi­gny. Even more than two decades on, the swag­ger­ing, stripped-down, util­i­tar­ian, thrift store style of the free­bas­ing, shoplift­ing skate teens in this slacker movie clas­sic looks im­pos­si­bly, fab­u­lously… now.


Creepy, sex­less, body-dys­mor­phic T-shirts that are cut ex­tra long at the back and cover the bum. As worn by Justin Bieber. LOVE

Se­ri­ous dec­la­ra­tion of fash­ion ado­ra­tion. To be de­ployed in iso­la­tion only. While stroking the lapel of a new Saint Lau­rent coat: “Love.” (Em­pha­sis via an open palm pressed to heart is op­tional but ad­vised.)

MMERCH Trun­cated term for “mer­chan­dise”. For­merly unlovely but keenly prized fan cloth­ing — T-shirts, sweat­shirts, caps — dec­o­rated with pop group or rock band in­signia and sold at con­certs. Hi­jacked by the fash­ion com­mu­nity in the early Noughties with “ironic” style for wear­ing vin­tage heavy metal band T-shirts (Iron Maiden, Motör­head, Black Sab­bath) find­ing pop­u­lar­ity with east Lon­don, New York and Los An­ge­les

hip­sters. Merch fash­ion reached its tip­ping point peak in 2016 when Kanye West merched his Yeezy Sea­son Three show at Madi­son Square Gar­den, with long queues for The Life of Pablo al­bum sweats and T-shirts… and of­fi­cially ended when West wore a (Suf­folk ex­treme metal band) Cra­dle of Filth tour T-shirt out to din­ner in Los An­ge­les. NB: a Justin Bieber merch col­lec­tion was re­cently mar­keted by H&M.


Gucci’s game-chang­ing creative di­rec­tor. Looks like a Merovin­gian Frank Zappa. Favours long hair, a beard and flo­ral, ap­pliqué satin Nudie-style suits, à la Gram Par­sons’

Griev­ous An­gel pe­riod. Harry Styles’s stylist is a big fan.


Refers to an all-black item, trainer colour­way, 4x4 ve­hi­cle or over­all fash­ion en­sem­ble. Whether that be Nike, Range Rover or Rick Owens. De­rived from cus­tom car cul­ture and the trend for ve­hi­cles ren­dered in mur­der­ous, all-black paint jobs, ex­tend­ing to win­dows and in­te­ri­ors.

NNEATS Small socks with in­tri­cately de­tailed, evenly spaced de­sign pat­terns and weaves. To be worn (and shown) with tra­di­tional men’s shoes. NUT­TER, TOMMY Le­gen­dar­ily flam­boy­ant tai­lor and re­tailer (1943–’92). The Nut­ter’s of Sav­ile Row shop and ate­lier opened in 1969, run by Nut­ter as de­signer with mas­ter cut­ter Ed­ward Sex­ton. Fi­nanced by Cilla Black and The Bea­tles’ or­gan­i­sa­tion. Notable rock­star cus­tomers in­cluded The Rolling Stones and El­ton John. Nut­ter was known for (not with­out con­tro­versy) fash­ion­is­ing and democratis­ing Sav­ile Row and for mix­ing tra­di­tional tai­lor­ing with the huge lapels, flared Ox­ford bags trousers, clash­ing tweeds and hound­stooth cloths of the Seven­ties. Three out of the four Bea­tles wore Tommy Nut­ter en­sem­bles on the cover of the fa­mous 1969 Abbey Road al­bum, with only Ge­orge Har­ri­son elect­ing to wear dou­ble denim. Nut­ter also cre­ated the three-piece suit worn by Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Tim Burton’s Bat­man (1989).


“El­e­vated streetwear” la­bel founded by DJ, ar­chi­tec­ture grad­u­ate and Kanye West’s creative di­rec­tor, Vir­gil Abloh. ON FLEEK

Oddly un­fath­omable, prob­a­bly made-up, vlog­ger-speak Amer­i­can­i­sa­tion of a nonex­is­tent French-ism for some­thing smooth, sweet, chic and ex­pen­sive. For in­stance, “Hi guys! Now we’re go­ing to talk about my hair­cut which is to­tally on fleek to­day!”


Point­lessly rev­er­en­tial in­dus­try talk for in­di­vid­ual cloth­ing items. “Paul Smith’s new col­lec­tion had some re­ally nice pieces.”


A lapel that flops down or turns up af­ter wear­ing. Most com­mon on dou­ble-breasted or peaked lapels.


Aka, The Trouser Coachella. Held twice a year, Pitti Im­mag­ine Uomo was once a rather dreary rag trade show ex­clu­sively pa­tro­n­ised by press and buy­ers. In re­cent years, Pitti has trans­formed it­self into a live-casting street the­atre of preen­ing menswear dandies and vain­glo­ri­ous gad­abouts — aka, Etro Wombles — who wan­der the streets around Fortezza da Basso, Florence, get­ting pho­tographed for one another’s blogs and In­sta­gram feeds wear­ing their coats slung over their shoul­ders. See also, “Coat Sling­ing”.

QQASIMI Su­per-cool Emi­rati la­bel in­spired by so­cio-

po­lit­i­cal is­sues, ar­chi­tec­ture and con­tem­po­rary art. Owned by Khalid bin Sul­tan Al Qasimi, the son of Sul­tan bin Muham­mad Al-qasimi, cur­rent ruler of Shar­jah. Not to be con­fused with “Strug­gle Brand”.



“Pre-col­lec­tion” that comes af­ter au­tumn/win­ter clothes have gone on sale but be­fore spring/sum­mer clothes have been de­liv­ered to stores. A semi-myth­i­cal fash­ion “sea­son”, re­sort col­lec­tions show dur­ing July and Au­gust, with clothes not avail­able in stores un­til the fol­low­ing De­cem­ber and Jan­uary. Also called “cruise”, “pre-spring”, or “hol­i­day”. (Not to be con­fused with “pre-fall” — a small, cap­sule col­lec­tion re­leased by de­sign­ers just ahead of the au­tumn fash­ion shows in Fe­bru­ary and ar­riv­ing in stores in early sum­mer.)


Oc­u­lar judge­ment born of ex­pe­ri­ence rather than sci­en­tific process. Sav­ile Row-speak for a spe­cific tai­lor­ing tal­ent who can, at a glance, in­stinc­tively sur­mise di­men­sion, cut, vi­tal stats with­out the need of mea­sur­ing tools. “Is Terry at num­ber 41 your trouser maker? That man has in­cred­i­ble rock of eye.”


Cold War-in­spired Rus­sian fash­ion de­signer, pho­tog­ra­pher and founder of his epony­mous­brand. Now work­ing in part­ner­ship with Comme des Garçons.



The new-ish thing for buy­ing clothes straight off live-streamed cat­walk shows, negat­ing and sub­vert­ing the con­ven­tional whole­saler/buyer/ re­tailer/cus­tomer process. See also, “Dis­rup­tive”.

SEER­SUCKER ( fig 8 )

Thin, usu­ally stripy, puck­ered cot­ton fab­ric used to make jack­ets, trousers and suits for warm weather sum­mer wear. From Per­sian words “sheer” and “shakar” (“milk” and “sugar”) in ac­knowl­edge­ment of con­trast­ing smooth and rough sur­faces of ma­te­rial. Seer­sucker’s wrin­kles are de­signed to im­prove air cir­cu­la­tion and have a cool­ing ef­fect on the wearer. Colour­ways in­clude blue and white, pink and white, yel­low and white, light brown and white. Seer­sucker jack­ets and shorts are most pop­u­lar with Amer­i­can Wasps and New York prep­pies.


East Lon­don’s Shored­itch (Sho) and Hox­ton (Ho) area. An amus­ing, un­of­fi­cially ac­knowl­edged vari­ant of the more fa­mous So­hos in cen­tral Lon­don and Man­hat­tan, Sho-ho is the (al­beit self-styled) world’s most fash­ion­able lo­cale and a men’s shop­ping and groom­ing nir­vana. SHOE Male ac­ces­sory/ne­ces­sity. Of­ten of leather con­struc­tion or sim­i­larly hardy fab­ric. Worn on lower ex­trem­i­ties/feet for the pur­pose of in­su­la­tion, pro­tec­tion, lo­co­mo­tion and, of course, fash­ion. Made up of a num­ber of ar­cane con­stituent parts in­clud­ing: sole, up­per, breast, counter, feather, quar­ter, seat, shank, throat, toe cap, vamp, waist, welt and topline.


The ir­ra­tional/con­sid­ered de­ci­sion to forgo tra­di­tional hosiery when wear­ing leather shoes or train­ers. Orig­i­nally adopted by Amer­i­can var­sity prep­pies dur­ing sum­mer months but now ac­cepted as an all-year-round af­fec­tion that es­chews prac­ti­cal­ity and ad­verse weather con­di­tions for care­free hip­ster style. Can be ap­plied to loafers, brogues, train­ers, and worn against denim jeans and tai­lored trousers. Ref­er­enced in 1981 by Talk­ing Heads in their song “Houses in Mo­tion”: “For a long time I felt / With­out style and grace / Wear­ing shoes with no socks / In cold weather.” The thing for “chaus­sures sans chaus­settes” is par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar with French men.


French. Lit­er­ally, “flex­i­bil­ity”, but more of­ten em­ployed as a term to de­scribe el­e­gance in the sad­dle — the del­i­cate art of per­fectly poised ped­alling, ca­dence and

rhythm while rid­ing a rac­ing bi­cy­cle.


Sporty cloth­ing in lux­ury cuts and fab­rics. Not to be con­fused with the Alan Par­tridge wardrobe sta­ple “sports ca­sual”. See also, “Ath­leisure”.


Ital­ian. Oc­ca­sion­ally short­ened to “sprezzy”. De­fined by the Ox­ford Eng­lish Dic­tio­nary as “stud­ied care­less­ness” but orig­i­nat­ing from Bal­das­sare Castiglione’s 16th cen­tury cour­tesy tome, The Book of the Courtier, as “a cer­tain non­cha­lance, so as to con­ceal all art and make what­ever one does or says ap­pear to be with­out ef­fort and al­most with­out any thought about it”. Ap­plied most com­monly to a man’s at­tire and gen­eral style. See also, “Bella Figura”.


Pre­dom­i­nantly fe­male, oc­ca­sion­ally male con­ceit (ie, mar­ket­ing ploy) of fash­ion as a net­work of so­cial me­dia-driven mi­cro tribes and cliques. Re­quires la­bels, de­sign­ers and pub­lic re­la­tions teams to en­cour­age a de­voted “gang” men­tal­ity (prefer­ably in front of a step-an­drepeat board) by in­vei­gling the pho­to­genic sol­i­dar­ity of celebri­ties, mod­els, mu­si­cians and in­flu­encers, mostly via time-hon­oured gratis de­signer clob­ber and front row seats at the run­way shows. Hip-hop hands of­ten in ev­i­dence as the pap cam­eras snap. Notable brand squads in­clude Olivier Rouste­ing’s #Bal­main­army and for­mer Givenchy creative di­rec­tor Ric­cardo Tisci’s #Love­g­ang.


Style with ease. Think Uniqlo and Cos. See also, “Ath­leisure” and “Sports Luxe”.


Ghetto-orig­i­nated la­bel or her­itage man­u­fac­turer whose mar­ket­ing and brand val­ues sug­gest/rep­re­sent the hard­ship of life ex­pe­ri­enced by its founders/work­ers/ de­sign­ers via the pos­i­tiv­ity and hon­esty of its prod­uct. Ex­em­plar: Detroit’s Shi­nola.


TONAL BEIGE Bizarrely bland and sex­less, Cau­casian-ish skin tone colour­way as seen in Kanye West’s early Yeezy col­lec­tions. Im­me­di­ately copied by the high street. Of­ten ren­dered in “Longline” T-shirts. See also, “Gen­der Flu­id­ity”. TONIK Two-tone or changeant-ef­fect wool fab­ric first in­tro­duced and trade­marked by men’s tai­lor­ing cloth spe­cial­ists Dormeuil in 1957. De­spite its rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing scratchy and un­com­fort­able against skin, the three-ply mo­hair wool blend be­came pop­u­lar with the Mod move­ment and was worn by Michael Caine in the clas­sic 1966 film Al­fie. The ac­tor was re­ported to have taken spe­cial care of his suit dur­ing film­ing: “I was wear­ing a navy blue, light­weight suit, in a ma­te­rial called Tonik, made by Dormeuil, and I didn’t want it spoil­ing. I don’t care whether a bird uses Max Fac­tor matte film or Out­door Girl from Wool­worths, if she starts purring up against your lapel, it won’t look the bet­ter for it.”

TOWIE TIGHTS ( fig 9 )

Ris­i­ble men’s fash­ion for wear­ing very close-fit­ting jeans and trousers. Cut to hug the con­tours of a man’s thighs, calves, back­side and re­pro­duc­tive vicin­ity in the man­ner of a bal­let dancer’s hosiery. Towie tights (aka jeg­gings) were made fa­mous by the male cast of the Brent­wood-based re­al­ity tele­vi­sion pro­gramme The Only Way is Es­sex — Mario Fal­cone, Pete Wicks and Liam “Gatsby” Black­well (NB: no re­la­tion to the fic­tional F Scott Fitzger­ald char­ac­ter Jay Gatsby).


Aka van­ity siz­ing. Cru­elly, body dis­mor­phi­sis­ing fash­ion in­dus­try prac­tice of mark­ing trouser waist sizes smaller than the waist­band’s ac­tual mea­sure­ment. De­signed to nor­malise obe­sity and falsely con­vince cus­tomers of slim­ness, some man­u­fac­tur­ers van­ity size down by five inches, mak­ing a man with a 38in toxic waist be­lieve him­self to be fit­ting into a pair of 33in-waisted trousers.


Al­ter­na­tive word for “trousers”. Used in the sin­gu­lar in order to sound more “in­dus­try” and Sav­ile Row.


THE UM­BREL­LAS OF CHER­BOURG Les Para­pluies de Cher­bourg. A 1964 French-ger­man new wave, so­cial re­al­ist op­eretta di­rected by Jac­ques Demy, star­ring Cather­ine Deneuve with mu­sic by Michel Le­grand. End­lessly in­flu­en­tial for its use of bright colour, styling and male star Nino Castel­n­uovo’s im­mac­u­late blue shirt/brown suit tai­lor­ing. If you liked La La Land, you’ll love Les Para­pluies…


VER­TI­CAL BRANDS Niche, spe­cial­ist fash­ion la­bels cater­ing to the needs of a spe­cific group of peo­ple. In con­trast to a hor­i­zon­tal mar­ket, where the fo­cus is di­verted to a larger, less dis­cern­ing group of peo­ple. See also, “Off-white” and “Qasimi”.


WARDROBING Crafty and likely il­le­gal prac­tice of pur­chas­ing new de­signer cloth­ing, wear­ing only once (with all tags still in­tact and un­re­moved), and then re­turn­ing to ven­dor with a full re­fund de­mand. Pop­u­lar with web shop­pers. WIND­SOR, CHARLES ( fig 10 ) Charles Philip Arthur Ge­orge Mount­bat­ten Wind­sor. Prince of Wales. Duke of Corn­wall. Duke of Rothe­say. Heir ap­par­ent to the Bri­tish throne. Style icon. Crowned Bri­tain’s best-dressed man by Esquire in 2009 and an Esquire cover star in 2017. “I have lurched from be­ing the best­dressed man to be­ing the worst-dressed man,” he once com­mented. “I don’t know why — pre­sum­ably it sells pub­li­ca­tions. Mean­while, I have gone on, like a stopped clock — and my time comes around ev­ery 25 years.”



Al­pha­bet­i­cal de­vice em­ployed to bind two sides of a fash­ion part­ner­ship. Team­ing up, say, a her­itage brand with a sports­wear be­he­moth. Notable ex­am­ples in­clude: Louis Vuit­ton x Jeff Koons; Vete­ments x Levi’s; A$AP Rocky x Guess; Alexan­der Wang x Adi­das Orig­i­nals; Christo­pher Kane x Crocs. X-RAY FAB­RICS Sheer fab­rics with a re­veal­ing, translu­cent ef­fect. Ap­pear­ing on cat­walks since spring/sum­mer 2014 when the likes of Burberry and Gi­ambat­tista Valli pre­sented X-ray fab­rics on the run­way in the form of shirts and jack­ets. Most def­i­nitely in­ad­vis­able for men of a cer­tain age. XENNIAL Mi­cro-de­mo­graphic cat­e­gory for peo­ple born 1977 to 1983 who are, sig­nif­i­cantly, just old enough to have known a life be­fore the in­ter­net but too old to be “dig­i­tal na­tives”. Coined by writer Sarah Stankorb for “a mi­cro-gen­er­a­tion that serves as a bridge be­tween the dis­af­fec­tion of Gen X and the blithe op­ti­mism of mil­len­ni­als”. Xen­ni­als are be­sot­ted with Stranger Things, favour the clunky, retro tech of vinyl records and Sonic the Hedge­hog games, and dress in the scuffed-up, thrift store chic of the non-fa­mous mem­bers of Nir­vana. Poster boys: Ryan Gosling and James Franco.


YEEZY Highly di­vi­sive Kanye West cloth­ing brand. Not to be con­fused with wildly suc­cess­ful Adi­das Yeezy Boost shoe line.


Z GEN­ER­A­TION STYLE Gen Z life­style codes ap­plied to the busi­ness of fash­ion. The ideas of queu­ing for drops and rent­ing clothes (à la Uber and Airbnb) rather than buy­ing them, all part of a new and as­pi­rant cul­ture for a de­mo­graphic born be­tween 1995 and 2010 (2010!).

( fig 9 )

( fig 8 )

( fig 10 )

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