Nine Words With Surprising Connections To Fashion

Even if you don’t have a very strong sense of fashion, you can at least sound like you do. How, you ask? By adding some very fashionable words to your vocabulary, dah-ling.

While trends and styles vary from generation to generation, fashion has always been integral to cultures across the globe. It’s part of the very fabric of who we are (see what we did there?), so naturally it also developed its own language.

Do you know what a haberdashery is? Where did the word zhuzh come from? (Hint: it’s from a popular TV show.) We’ve rounded up these and several other fashion-forward words that are always in style. Their connections to the glamorous world of fashion may surprise you!


Panache is so much more than a word, it’s a whole damn #mood.

Originally the noun panache derived from an ornamental plume of feathers that sprouted from a hat or helmet and was used this way from the 1550s to the late 1800s. Eventually, it morphed into its modern figurative meaning: “a grand or flamboyant manner.” Panache implies a type of style, flair, or swagger that one is born with.

Contextually, one might need to have a certain panache to pull off an over-the-top outfit. For instance: On anyone else, that lime green skirt would look awful, but she has the panache to pull it off.


Perhaps all ’90s girls remember receiving the “compliment” that their freshly bedazzled jeans were “so glitzy,” but it’s time to get real, ladies: it definitely wasn’t a compliment.

A modern adjective, glitzy first popped up around the ’60s, and despite its upbeat candor, it is actually a bit of a negative descriptor. Rooted in Yiddish, glitzy means “pretentiously or tastelessly showy.” For instance: Her gown, covered in glitzy beaded strands, did her no favors.


At first glance, haberdashery sounds like some quaint, British gripe: “Oh, haberdashery. I missed the bus!” To understand its meaning, you need to understand the term haberdasher. Simply put, a haberdasher is a seller of men’s wares, like socks, shirts, ties, and the like. A haberdashery is a shop where those wares are sold.

The term haberdasher appeared as early as the 1300s, and while it’s not an overwhelmingly popular one, it’d be incredible to have this old-world word make a return. Imagine saying I’m headed to the haberdashery for some new pants. Isn’t that so much more fun to say than heading to the plain old store?

While it isn’t used much in day-to-day conversations, haberdashery today can also refer to the actual goods sold there, such as the men’s clothing and accessories.


Putting together an outfit is an everyday occurrence, but an ensemble? Well, that just takes it to a whole new level.

The noun ensemble means to take every part of something into consideration as a whole functioning unit. Originally, ensemble was applied to musicians playing together. For instance, The string ensemble put on a beautiful show.

Over time, ensemble began to refer to a person’s outfit from head to toe, and when used in this way, it means that all parts of the outfit harmoniously work together. So the next time you see an outfit you love, hit them with a: Wow, girl your entire ensemble is on point!


Whether you spell it zhoosh, zhouzh, or zhuzh, one thing is for certain: this modern word is the perfect verb for a sassy person.

Born out of pop culture, zhuzh burst onto the scene when the original cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy debuted in July of 2003. Its loose meaning is to add a little extra oomph or pizazz to something, so as one could imagine, there are a lot of things that can be zhuzhed.

You can zhuzh up a home by fluffing pillows, adding a fun color to the wall, or adding a really dynamic painting. One can also zhuzh up an outfit by adding a fun accessory, dyeing hair a funky color, or just adjusting it for that extra sparkle.


Fleek might be one of those overused modern phrases that dies with our generation, but it has truly burned fast and bright, like the star it is.

Fleek burst into popularity thanks to Vine user Peaches Monroee, who claimed her eyebrows were “on fleek,” meaning that they were perfectly groomed.

Now that fleek’s popularity has guaranteed it a spot in the dictionaries, this adjective means perfect or flawless. So anything that is fashionably put together can be on fleek. For instance: His athleisure style was on fleek.

WATCH: Why Was The Phrase "On Fleek" So Popular?


Words like androgynous can be especially comforting to people who identify on the fringes of the gender binary. Not only because these terms are adequate descriptors, but also because their etymological roots go back centuries, making it clear that current conversations about gender have a deep history.

In fact, the adjective androgynous, meaning “having both masculine and feminine characteristics,” first appeared in the early 1600s. Its Latin root, androgynus, from the Greek androgynos, means “hermaphrodite, male and female in one; womanish man.”

In the 1900s, fashion enthusiasts began to use it to describe a garment that doesn’t follow prescribed gender stereotypes. For example, The young queer woman felt more comfortable in androgynous clothing than frilly, feminine clothing.


The fashionable use of this 50-cent word is actually pretty subtle.

Commonly, the noun mélange is used as a stand-in for a “mix” or a “medley.” Its roots date back to the 1600s, and it is derived from the French word mêler, meaning “to mix, mingle.” In this context, one could use the word like so: The book had a mélange of characters who ranged from deeply lovable to utterly loathsome.

In terms of fashion, melange refers to a style of fabric that contains fibers that are cross dyed to create a heathered effect. Typically, it’s used in business and business casual attire: His melange suit made him look totally professional.  

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Word of the Day

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[ ahy-suhm ]

Can you guess the definition?

Word of the day

[ ahy-suhm ]