My 2016 Banned Words: Fashion and Celebrity Edition

I’m a bit late to the party (that expression probably needs to go) however I’ve just become aware of the varied lists of banned words, phrases and expressions for 2016. It seems that every year, Lake Superior State University (LSSU), The BBC, New York Magazine and Time Magazine come up with an inventory of misused, overused, useless or otherwise ridiculous words which they feel have outlived (or perhaps never had) any real purpose.

You can see the lists HERE and HERE  I’d like to propose my own fashion and celeb inspired list to say “Bye, Felicia” to in 2016. They appear in no particular order.

Giuseppe Zanotti Sick shoes Resort 2016

SICK and it’s cousin ILL–as applied to an article of clothing (as in “Those Giuseppe Zanottis are sick!” or “Look at the ill skulls on the McQueen sunglasses.” These words have had a good run in the fashion vernacular. Time to substitute something like “That’s a healthy Prada coat!”

Rachel Zoe

DEAD, DYING, SLAY–These words make some sense coming on the heels of SICK and ILL. I’m holding Rachel (“I DIE!”) Zoe responsible for their prevalence. How about some other “killing it” words to take their place. I propose something like “Did you see her in those Gucci culottes? She absolutely destroyed it!” Interestingly, a search for “to kill” synonyms produced no less than 45. Conversely, the phrase “life giving” (the expression “Giving me life” meaning bringing me joy is on a few lists to be “rubbed out”) has notably fewer synonyms. What does that say about our culture?

Back to Basics

BASIC— Generally used as a sartorial insult to indicate someone wearing something boring as in “She’s a basic bitch.” I guess this would include those still into Normcore.

The Material Bitch

BITCH–This is a “problematic” word (see LSSU list). Co-opted by the gay community and brought to the mainstream in song titles by Britney Spears and Rihanna who actually took it gender neutral in “BBHMM,” my complaint is that most of the “bitchiness” previously inherent in this word has been defused. I do enjoy it in acronym form (definition: a “bossy woman”) as here: “In light of recent news that Madonna’s son Rocco is asking to live with his father in London full time, we can perhaps assume that the long held rumors surrounding Madge are true and that she is very much the HBIC whether on tour or at home.”

DOPE–Just another rapper-influenced word serving pretty much the same function as cool/hip/chic. It can be applied to an article of clothing, an overall look, a song, movie, or dare to dream, a book. I tend to see it used in its superlative form as in “She’s the dopest girl” (Tyga describing Kylie Jenner). Across the pond and when used by the more posh, the term, ironically, for a fashionable look would be “smart.”

RiRi is always On Fleek

ON FLEEK–Previously banned for 2015 on the LSSU list along with TURNT and YAASSSS. I’m just confused as to why we need an expression that really only seems to apply to eyebrows  resembling Cara Delevingne’s. According to some, an outfit can also be “on fleek,” SO (LSSU banned word alert) why not just use the already prevalent “on point.”

AF–An acronym for “As F..k” I’ll admit to using this one early and often but it probably needs to go. Usage: “That vintage limited edition Chanel bag is dope AF!”

Wynona Ryder’s First Ever Beauty Ad

INSPO–Abbreviation for inspiration. The problem is how it has become so overused in the fashion world. “Winona Ryder’s Marc Jacobs Beauty ad is my new makeup Inspo.”

Lady Gaga in a Game Changing Dress

GAME CHANGING— This one bugs me due to its non-stop use in the fashion and beauty media. A new under-eye concealer may do the trick but unless you’re in your fifties and you were just carded, it’s not game changing.

Bye Felicia!

BYE, FELICIA!–Apparently this came from the 20-year-old movie “Friday” and was uttered in order to dismiss an annoying or irrelevant person (See definition).  It’s recently been resurrected into the current vernacular due to a VH-1 TV show with the same name. I’m sure many wish to say “Bye Felicia” to the Kardashians.

Nobody Needs a Birkin

NEED–The fact that this last word, arrived in three separate fashion emails one morning this week actually floored me. “Sorry, not sorry” The Outnet where they’re bold enough to send this missive: “You NEED to see these New Pieces By Iris & Ink–We’re In Love.” Bergdorf Goodman aimed to enlighten me with “What You Need This Month.” sent this helpful, if borderline passive/aggressive message: “The Only Beauty Products You Need For 2016.” We are all familiar with/may even be one of the fashion Instagrammers who showcase a variety of hot off the designer’s showroom items with the caption: “NEED!” I get that you have a desire to possess this item however, you probably don’t require it to sustain your life — just sayin’ — WANT is probably the better word.

Whether or not you agree with my list or any of the others just remember, in the immortal words of the BeeGees It’s Only Words.” 

Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

1 Comment
  1. The "Bye Felicia" thing was very curious given many people have not seen the 1st Friday yet saying the phrase.

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