Learn To Speak Fashion: The Esquire Style Snob’s Dictionary, 2020 Edition – esquire.com


Portmanteau term amalgamating “box” and “logo” to describe instantly recognisable brand identity, eg Supreme, North Face, Nike. Commonly used in reference to Supreme’s box logo— “bogo” — T-shirts and hoodies.


Variation on “dripping”/“dripping with”. Derived from the comical notion of a man wearing so much “ice” (diamond-studded jewellery), he is literally melting, or “got the drip”. Can also be loosely applied to any sharply attired male, jewellery-wearing or not: “Harry Styles got the drip in that rhinestone Gucci.”

shanghai, china 20190907 american skateboarding shop and clothing brand supreme logo seen in shanghai photo by alex taisopa imageslightrocket via getty images

SOPA ImagesGetty Images

EXTRA adj.

Now a singular, camp exclamation(rather than former use, “extra special”, “extra charge” etc). Describes anything sartorially dramatic, an outfit/person that is OTT, colourful, flamboyant: “Dude, those platform sole Rick Owens boots are extra.” Can be both compliment and arch disapproval.

FIT n.

What you’re wearing.


The totality of your “fit”. May also be used to confidently invite others to admire your outfit, particularly on social media, hence #fitcheck


When a buyer withdraws from a sale after confirming purchase at an agreed price. “I won an auction for some jeans from the new Virgil x Nigo collection on eBay. We agreed shipping costs and I was all ready to pay… then the seller started flacking.”

F&F abbrev.

Friends and family; drops and releases available only to a small circle of hyper-connected style cognoscenti and inner-circle enthusiasts, not general public.“Did you hear about the new drop at Palace in Soho?” “Yeah, don’t bother going down there. It’s strictly F&F.” Do not confuse with Tesco supermarkets’ own-brand clothing label, F&F.


Originating in US sports, complimentary term lauding confidence, quality, fit and/or panache in a look or garment.“Sinatra’s tuxedo game is strong in this old photo.” A man might also have “got game” [sic]: “You got game in those off-whites.”

first public appearance for frank sinatra and ava gardner since sinatras wife granted him a divorce

BettmannGetty Images


Pronounced “gwah-yah-be-rah”. Cuban linen/cotton, loose, boxy, short-sleeved shirt in white, pale blue, lemon or pastel colourway with four, sometimes two, patch pockets and sewn-in vertical pleats. Possibly derived from its big pockets to carry harvested guavas (guayabas); or from“yayabero”, nickname for people living near the island’s Yayabo River. Best accessorised with a Montecristo No 5 cigar.


As in Holy Grail. Describes one ultimate item of clothing you obsess about owning but cannot ever find, or afford: “Those Jordan 1 Retro High Shine downs are my grail”. CXN: Grailed, peer-to-peer online marketplace for hard-to-find menswear.

HIGHKEY n./adv.

Clunky antonym of “lowkey”. A person assertively into fashion attire that loudly flaunts logos, labels, branding.“Damn. Look at Alex in his new LV2 Collection jacket and Yeezy sneakers. He is so highkey.” In use by teens in adverbial form: “I am highkey into the new Tommy collection.”


Impulse buy. Item so jaw-droppingly irresistible you must immediately add to cart.


Clothing. Originally slang for a person, place, thing: “Did you try the main course? That jawn was horrible”. Now specific to any/all clothing: “I just dropped a month’s salary on jawns.”


Fashion Instagrammer vernacular. Knowingly folksy, sarcastic variation of style-speak noun “look”. Describing an especially meticulously put-together get-up or try-hard hairstyle: “That normcore lewk is so 2017.”

L/C abbrev.

“Legit check”. Questioning initialism to confirm a garment’s or pair of trainers’ provenance, mostly during buyer-to-seller communications in e-commerce transactions on eBay, Grailed etc: “Gonna need an L/C on those Saint Laurent high-tops. Do you have the receipts, tags, original box etc?”

MITH adj.

Rare clothing item, object of desire, very limited edition. Intentional misspelling of “myth”. Alternative to grail: “Nike Dunk SB Low Paris, rope/special cardinal colourway. Those sneakers are mith… $22,000!”


Streetwear middleman, fence. Probably located outside London, Manchester or Glasgow, usually working in retail, with insider knowledge of the latest streetwear “drops”: “Whoa! Where did you get those VaporMax Flyknits?” “Proxy in the Edinburgh Nike store hit me up.”


Lengthy, bitterly toned communication/support group on social media platform where unsuccessful grail hunters vent disappointment at failure to cop items from a new drop. Almost unintelligible to anyone over 17.


Gay slang, “very fashionable”, “sexy”,“handsome”. Common usage on popular TV competition showRuPaul’s Drag Race.Possible tacit reference to female genitalia. “Honey, that outfit is snatched. You look so fine.” See also “fierce”.


Italian, literally “shirt shoulder”. Construction in suiting or blazer crafted without padding to effect a soft shoulder-to-arm transition. A casual, elegant style most evident in classic, unstructured, Neapolitan tailoring.

berlin, germany march 31 new kaws x air jordan iv sneakers buyer kisses his shoe during the sale at overkill sneakers store on march 31, 2017 in berlin, germany several dozen die hard sneakers fans have taken five days out of their lives to put their names on a list and maintain their presence in order to buy the limited production shoes 50 pairs went on sale on march 31 at overkill, one of only three stores in germany to sell the shoes at eur 350 a pair the shoes carry a hefty price tag, but many of the buyers will resell them, for prices they predict could reach eur 4,000 sportswear companies like adidas and nike have hired famous designers for limited production sneakers as the appetite for the shoes by sneakers fanatics has grown into a niche market over the last few years photo by maja hitijgetty images

Maja HitijGetty Images

STAN n./v.

Fanatic, devotee. As a verb, “I stan”, “he stans”. Derived from Eminem’s 2000 megahit “Stan” about a deeply obsessive, possibly mentally unwell, fan. Updated today as a fashion positive: “Jamal is a stan for the new Nike Air Jordans”; “Daryl stans big time for Adidas.”


Portmanteau combining intangible notions of “style” and“ease”. Coined by MC Guru of hip-hop outfit Gang Starr on their 1997 hit “You Know My Steez”. A man dressed “steezy” or with “steeze”, from skateboarder to Savile Row gent, will be laidback and comfortable in both ensemble and deportment.

TEA n./v.

Gossip. The kind of scandalous/light-hearted chat best exchanged over an afternoon pot: “What’s the tea on Marc Jacobs? Is he heading for the Balenciaga job?”




Palace Skateboards’ logo, referencing creator/graphic design talent Fergus “Fergadelic” Purcell. An interpolation of the1934 Penrose tribar by Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvärd; its shape can be depicted in a perspective drawing but cannot exist as an object.


Statistically gaslighting, numerically baffling marketing ploy rife in UK and US high
street menswear manufacturers/retailers where waistband size is approximated/lessened on (mostly) trousers to flatter customer vanity. Real size is up to 1.5–3in bigger than labelled. So, 34in will actually fit a 37in waist. Also known as “toxic waist”.


From old English, “that which is thrown across”. Vertical/lengthwise threading of garment yard/loom. “Weft” — horizontal threading — is woven through the warp to create fabric. Notable on heritage Scottish tweeds and Flyknit trainers.

WDYWT accron.

Question, mostly via SMS messaging or social media, between hypebeasts: “What did you wear today?”

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