10 “stylish” words that can make you sound like a tool

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Just like style, language has trends.  And many a language trend can run hog-wild in the world of style.  Use words like these amongst the vast majority of people who don’t care about menswear (sorry, men’s clothes) and you run the risk of sounding like a contrived windbag.   Monkey’s knit bowtie by Lands’ End Canvas.  Top Photo Credit: Robert Young

1. Man

As in:  Be a man… a grown man wears… a man does this… a real man does that… etc.  Often accompanied by a #rules on twitter.  Usually spouted by types who are convinced they don’t have any more growing to do.

2. Wrist-Game

Term born from the increased popularity of the layered-bracelets look.  Also can be used to describe a man’s watch, how his shirt cuff looks against a jacket, or a combination of those as well as with bracelets.

3. Queue

I was in the queue at Target…”  Whoa pal (chap?).  You were in a “line.”  Trying to sound sophisticated by throwing British slang around is as effective as a post grunge band trying to look edgy by flipping letters in their band’s name.

4. Trousers

Whatever happened to just calling them pants?  Not a big deal unless the user insists they aren’t pants.

5. Menswear

Whatever happened to just calling it clothing?

6. Gentleman

Depends on whether or not one is referring to himself as such.  See the paradox.

7. Cheers!

Hardly ever verbalized, and that’s a clue that it’s probably a little silly to type.  The working class version of “Ciao” with an undercurrent of alcohol.  If you’re going to toast, toast to something specific… and not in an email at 8:30am.

8. Correcting usage of the terms Oxford/Button Down/etc…

No, not correct usage, but instead sounding like a know-it-all when you correct someone who’s incorrectly using a term.  For better or for worse, they’ve become catchalls.  All dress shoes aren’t technically oxfords.  All dress shirts aren’t made of oxford cloth.  And shirts that have buttons all the way down the front, but not on the collar, might not be called “button downs” in some circles.  But that doesn’t mean the message still doesn’t get across.  If someone views the liberal usage of these terms as some sort of tragedy that must be corrected publicly, know that the person doing the correcting will be about as popular as a grammar nazi.  Have some tact and never bluntly correct then leave a person hanging (ex: That’s not a button down).  That just makes you a complete ass.  If you want to help someone get it right, then by all means, but be decent about it.

9. Enjoy

Someone just did something that they think will be of use to you, and they follow up with this.  Mostly benign, but it’s assuming that their deed was truly worthy of enjoyment.  Sort of like a preemptive “you’re welcome”.

10. We

A tumblr, twitter feed, or .com does not make an editorial board.  If it’s just you then stick with “I”.

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