From the increasingly well-documented street style scene outside of Pitti Uomo (it's starting to rival the scene outside any major fashion week venue) to the number of nattily dressed gents we see walking down the street in NYC, there's no question that dudes have been stepping it up in the personal style department.
There's even a burgeoning menswear (that's #menswear if you're scrolling through Twitter or Tumblr) clique, comprised of editors at print publications like GQ and Complex as well as bloggers at sites like Four Pins and Selectism and Hypebeast. They are the arbiters of men's style, speakers of the language of #menswear. Yes, they have their own language and we don't understand it at all. Cop some jawns? That dude is sprezzy? Say what?
We're not alone. Even editors who are in the thick of it sometimes don't get it.
"I honestly have no idea what most of the #menswear jargon means, a fact I've tried to keep hidden all this time," Lucky's John Jannuzzi, who also contributes to Four Pins, told us. "If you pay close attention to my eyes when these terms come up in casual conversation, you will see a fleeting moment of anxiety, confusion and wonder. As I understand it, many of them come from the up-and-coming subculture of hip-hop and/or rap music. Despite my varied cultural pursuits, I have not delved as deeply into this world as I should have. Yet, in efforts to blend in with my surroundings, I often find myself finishing a thought and them simply adding 'tho,' or screaming 'sprezzy' at old Italians. These appear to be common words among the #menswear tribe. Working them into my vernacular feels odd, exhilarating and adventurous to me, in the way a new pair of underwear would feel to Garth Algar."
Thankfully, with the publication of Fuck Yeah Menswear: Bespoke Knowledge for the Crispy Gentleman, Lawrence Schlossman and Kevin Burrows's book based on the duo's tumblr, which mocks the #menswear scene (read more about it here), we have a glossary. "We break down the terms, stores and brands, style archetypes—so you get the wider context so that the jokes become funnier," Burrows told us.
We also reached out to some of the #menswear inner circle--J. Crew's (formerly GQ's) Sean Hotchkiss, Selectism's Jeff Carvalho, Complex's Jian Joseph DeLeon--to update the glossary with the freshest #menswear words and phrases. Because if you're going to try to speak #menswear, you better be on point.
"Learning how to speak 'Fuckyeah' requires weeks if not months of Tumblr and blog trolling to get right," Carvalho tell us. "The book is like a fucking Cliffs Notes to the madness." But, he adds, "If you do not find humor in this shit, you are taking the game too seriously."
Click through for a sampling. We'll quiz you later. Bonus points if you can use three of the words in a sentence in the comments below.
crispy [kris-pee] adj. Similar in nature to "fresh" or "clean." A positive signifier when used as a discriptor. "That new shirt is so crispy, brah."
crotch blowout [kirch-bloh-out] n. When an extremly worn pair of pants, usually jeans, wears in the crotchal area and the seams rip, creating a hole.
dressed by the internet [drest-bahy-th-uh-in-ter-net] adj. The ultimate insult. Implies that one's personal style is 100 percent culled from various websites and web personalities.
fit [fit] n. The totality of your outfit.
fucks wit [fuhks-wit] adj. To enjoy. "I fucks wit that new Ralph Lauren collection."
instacop [in-stuh-kop] adj. Something so amazing that it has to be purchased right there and then.
jawns ['jawnz] n. Clothing. "I need to double check my jawnz allowance for this month."
goth ninja [goth-nin-juh] n./adj. Those, not necessarily formally trained in martial arts, who favor a dark, drapey, and somewhat futuristic style of dress. The mortal enemy of the classic menswear enthusiast.
sprezz [sprez] adj. Shortened form of sprezzatura, an Italian word describing a casual nonchalance exhibited in how one wears their clothing.
steez [steez] adj./n.v. Literally, style plus ease. The epitome of personal style.
trad [trad] adj./n. Short for traditional. Denotes a particularly boring style of dress popularized by old dudes with Internet connections.
trill [tril] adj. In the classic sense, a combination of words true and real. Something badass to its very essence.
Sean Hotchkiss adds "grail" or "grail piece."
"It's an article of men's clothing that every blogger would want," he says. "Something attainable only for a select few. Money often goes to these items over say, rent (in extreme cases)." And Jian DeLeon clued us in to the origin of "jawn." It's a Philly term, he explained, that "really means anything" and it has a D.C. version--"jont"--which, being a DC native myself, I actually remember from high school.
But this has to be our favorite--a meme to encompass the backlash to the natty, sprezzy dressing that has long dominated the #menswear scene: Cozy boy. DeLeon explains: "'Cozy boy' is this relatively new term that's sort of anti-#menswear...It really just refers to this whole loungewear mini-trend where labels like Norse Projects, Rick Owens, Reigning Champ, Nanamica, T By Alexander Wang, and even Club Monaco are making sweatpants and other knitwear that seems to speak to the #menswear dude that used to wear a sportcoat everywhere, like, even to the laundromat, and is sort of realizing that you can't tuck your shirt in, wear a bowtie, and pocket square all the time."
Glossary excerpted from FUCK YEAH MENSWEAR: Bespoke Knowledge for the Crispy Gentleman by Kevin Burrows and Lawrence Schlossman. Copyright © 2012 by the Editors of Fuck Yeah Menswear. Reprinted with permission from Touchstone, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Photos: Courtesy FUCK YEAH MENSWEAR: Bespoke Knowledge for the Crispy Gentleman
Buy it here. It makes a lovely holiday gift for that crispy brah in your life.