The Case of the Missing ‘S’ – Fashion Industry and Grammar-Defying Jargon

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“Is it that the soft, curvaceous form of the letter S offends these rail-thin style mavens? Will they start using other letters in its place? Perhaps K or Z with their bold and angular lines will become a more fashionable choice.” – Rachel Braier, The Guardian

Phew! So it’s not just Write In Color who has been noticing the disturbing fashion speak trend that is making it OK to leave the “S” off everything.

As Rachel so eloquently states, it seems as though the world of fashion has been personally offended by the letter “S.” Why else would it purposefully knock it off the end of every plural word from “trouser” and “shoe” to “pantie” and “lip?”

A few recent examples of this grammar-defying phenomenon:

“Effortlessly create a dreamy smoky eye.” – Rachel Zoe’s The Zoe Report

The platform tred on Prada’s retro peep-toe was just enough to toughen up the designer’s sweet, teen-spirited gingham and granny furs.” – The New York Times

“Our superbly sleek (and best-selling) suiting trouser, refined and perfected with a slightly more tailored straight leg that’s unfailingly flattering.” – J Crew product description

All this talk of “pairing it with a wedge” and “accessorizing your trouser with a pink shoe and nude lip” has got us wondering, simply, why? Is it, as Rachel said, that the “S” signifies excess in an industry obsessed with thin? Is this an attempt at giving fashion speak an air of authority or stronger identity? Or, is this simply another example of jargon trumping grammar? No matter the reason, this singular trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Those pants will be “a pant” for many seasons to come.

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