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What are you? Passe or Du jour?

Sita Menon | September 15, 2004

Does your face resemble a question mark whenever people talk in fashion terms?

Don't know the difference between passé and du jour?

Some of these fashion terms may be pretentious, over-hyped, even irritating. But, sometimes, it helps to know the right terms and definitions so that you are not seen as uncool.

So here's what you need to know about fashion lingo.

Haute couture

First things first. It is pronounced 'oote kutyur'. And it means high fashion. Usually, it is something that is custom-made.

Haute couture also stands for exclusivity. Anything that is haute couture is made from the best materials. So if you want to be seen wearing haute couture, you better be loaded!


Next time you hear a designer coming out with a prêt label, don't worry. They are just talking about a ready-to-wear line of clothes. These are high-end designer clothes that can be bought at department stores. Of course, that means they are not one-of-a-kind, like haute couture.

Most designers in the West have prêt labels. In India, too, prêt is catching on fast. For example, J J Valaya's Studio Valaya; Ritu Kumar's Label; Tarun Tahiliani's Zero Gravity.

Du jour

Anything that is described as du jour is super trendy.


Out-moded. No longer in fashion. What once was fashionable is now passé.

Trés chic

If someone tells you that you are trés chic, here's what you should know. They don't know their French. Chic is French for fashionable, and trés is French for 'very'. And, usually,  the term is used in relation to something, not someone!

Piece de resistance

Refers to something that is a must-have. It is used to denote the crowning point of a collection, something you must see or something that stands out.

Faux pas

Faux pas is usually an error in judgement. You just cannot afford to commit blunders in hip social circles! Here is a fashion faux pas: Wearing sunglasses indoors. Next time you see anyone wearing a sunglass indoors, no matter who it is, he or she is totally uncool!

Old school

Anything that is vintage, classic or what is hiply referred to these days as retro, is old school. Bell bottoms were a huge rage not so long ago. They are vintage 1960s. And all those people wearing those rectangular glasses everywhere you turn? They are pure retro, 1960s, too!

Are there other fashion terms you would like interpreted? Do write in and we will try to oblige.

Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: What are you?

It is all so funny watching these country cousins twisting their tongue pronounce french, spanish or some obscure catch words to better than native perfection.But ...

Posted by CS Muralidhar

Sub: Drôle.

The subject is in reference to the messege I saw posted before. Well French or no French this article was about fashion. In that sense ...

Posted by Alistair

Sub: How about pronounciations?

The next time do help us with pronounciations of these french phrases. Ask your IT boys whether you can use the Devanagari script to show ...

Posted by Ravi

Sub: Ce n'est pas correcte!

It's not "trés", it's "très". "Pièce de resistance", and not "piece de resistance." In French, if you miss les accents, you make spelling mistakes!

Posted by Nero


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