Our daily fashion lexicon is chock full with words we have no idea of. Chambray, who? This vocabulary is so internalised by now that any high street shopper worth her salt will tell you the difference between ombré and balayage before you’ve even hit the billing till. Your on-point pronunciations might convince even the snobbiest of French fashion editors, but do you know where these words originate from? Here’s a crash course in Fashion Etymology so you can unlock fashion expert status on your social radar. Shop and learn.

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The word fashion is just what it sounds like; it basically means the face or the appearance of something and someone. Only apt it should be derived from French, then.

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Everyone’s favourite garment/fabric/material/trend is a word that gets thrown around like a dried up autumn leaf in November breeze. But did you know it comes from the French (yes, again) phrase de Nîmes? The twilled cotton fabric it denotes—called serge—came from the town of Nîmes  in France.  #TIL

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If you’d paid attention in your eighth grade Physics class, you would have been able to draw this co-relation by now. 2015’s most popular hair trend actually derives its name from the Latin word umbra, meaning  shade or the darkest part of the shadow.

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This classy AF material is also a bitch to keep clean, and feel free to blame it on the Swedes like the French do. Simply put, suede translates to from Sweden but also refers to leather that’s not treated.Words3

As much as hipster festival-goers would like to take the credit for this, chevron is a Middle English Latin-derivative for the V shape rafters form in beams made of timber. Look also; Leonardo di Caprio’s last name.

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Saying chenille instantly puts your sartorial game up, making you the uncrowned queen of Baroque French salons. But the word refers to the short-haired fur on a tiny dog, which, let’s be honest, is exactly what chenille feels like. So soft!

 

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