Tuesday, 11 August 2009

When good words join together to make bad words

There is much talk of make, do and mend at the moment. We are all being encouraged to grow, to stitch, to wash and to weld, in order to extend and reinvent the lives of old things, and deny the need to buy any new ones.

However, I see no reason that this creed of thriftiness should extend to words. It does not, as far as I am aware, cost anything to create new words. It is totally free, and the sky's the limit. There is no need to clumsily drive two old words headlong into each other until the life is crushed out of both of them, and we are left rubbernecking at a distressing etymological accident such as this, which I saw in the classified ad pages of a fashion magazine this week…


I am talking of the 'saress', a garment specially designed to be worn when people called Sarah are playing chess. Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud has the asymmetric version in the neon pink colourway. Sarah Palin has one with the stars and stripes on it, although she is still learning to play chess. No, wait. It's not that. The saress is a wildly practical combination of sarong and dress, and it is enjoying its fashion moment right now*.

The style press are some of the worst offenders when it comes to this type of caper. Their heavy-handed enthusiasm for forcing the suffix '-ista' into an unwelcome arranged marriage with any modish prefix going is exhausting. Fashionista, recessionista, frugalista, always with the istas.

If you are a follower of fashion, as I know you are, this mauling of the language is nothing new to you. You will be sitting at your computer or handheld telecommunication device wearing jeggings (what happens when a pair of jeans and a pair of leggings make fashion love and spawn a garment whose potential for unflatteringness – and that, I can assure you, is an actual word – is significantly greater than the sum of its parts). While you are reading, at the back of your mind you may be wondering if your shboots will hold up for another season, both in terms of the weather forecast, and the style forecast. Heh, I should totally work for women's magazines. Oh wait…

But forget the saress, the jeggings and the shboot. Because this time next year, everyone will be talking about the dungawrong - my own sartorial cocktail of sarong, dungarees and ill-conceived wordplay. When you see some young style pioneer like Rihanna pictured out on the town in a few months in an oversized tea towel held up by braces, a capacious, central two-hander pocket to the front, don't forget where you heard it first.

*No, it is not.


4 comments:

Holly said...

I agree.

They should have called it the 'Drong', that is a good new word, and has an onomatopoeic quality to it, given the garment.

Miss Jones said...

Drong is such a good new word it is a mystery that no one has invented it before.

Society Bee said...

It's not really enjoying it's fashion moment right now because:

a) I have never ever seen anyone wear one.
b) That advert's been around for years! It's in the back of every fashion magazine there is, and one wonders how many they sell, to be honest.

Engagement Rings said...

Nice Post...
Fashion is not all about what you are wearing, it's about you wear whats in latest trend.