I Wonder Why Dictionaries Went Out Of Fashion

More Tips For New Writers (Part IV)

When you begin writing for your home based business, never lose sight of the following facts:

1. People notice things (sometimes even the most minute detail)

2. People remember things (sometimes even the most minute detail)

3. People love to point out mistakes (sometimes even the most minute detail)

4. People will magnify even minute details.

Some people enjoy finding errors and pointing them out, even to the extent of writing books on the subject. Other people (and I admit to being one) can’t help noticing errors and find them so horrific that they (inadvertently and quite without malice) magnify them out of all proportion.

When you write for the public, you are poking your head above the edge of the literary trench and inviting them to pierce your brain with critical bullets. It is only sensible to take proper precautions. The tin helmet is not a great fashion accessory but, in these circumstances, much preferable to a baseball cap.

I used to work for a lawyer who had a selection of favourite words and phrases which he would drop into correspondence or conversation in order to impress people. These beauties included the phrase “most busiest” (makes me grind my teeth), “at the end of the day” (yawn), “in essence” (used relentlessly to introduce any minor point) and “very unique” (why does a unique word have to be devalued in that way?).

The day arrived when he discovered “vociferously” and latched onto it as his new favourite word. After several trial outings, he obviously became comfortable with the “vociferously” and introduced “vociferous”. Eventually he was managing to use one of them in every letter and conversation. He wrote to other lawyers informing them that he wanted to work vociferously to an early conclusion of the matter in hand. He told insurance companies that his clients’ losses would have been smaller if those companies had worked vociferously. He wrote to clients assuring them of his most vociferous attention at all times.

I didn’t understand why he thought it was a good idea for everybody to be shouting. When the awful truth dawned on me, I cringed: I realised that he didn’t actually know the meaning of the word. I never did find out exactly what he thought it meant. I could hardly ask him. That would have led to a conversation I did not want to join in. How much good do you think it would do your career to impart to your boss the information that he appeared not know the meaning of a word he used on a daily basis? Trust me on this: promotion would not come into it.

You may call me old fashioned but I believe that professional people ought to have a reasonable level of education. At the very least they should know how to look words up in the dictionary before trotting them out for the delight of the general public.

Something, perhaps a combination of ignorance and arrogance, prevented this allegedly educated man from bothering to check on the meaning of this new word. It was, therefore, paraded about for all to admire. The use of the new favourite word escalated until no document was considered complete without it.

I was horrified and embarrassed. I squirmed, anticipating the day when another (better educated) lawyer or client would broach the subject of this inappropriate word. Fortunately, I moved on before the day arrived and hope that my association with this word abuser has been forgotten.

A very public example of this kind of thing occurred to Georgie Fame who was a song writer and singer (and still is) in the 1960′s. Georgie Fame and his band, The Blue Flames, were very popular and, when they released a record, it was played all the time everywhere. This song was about the bank-robbing duo, Bonnie and Clyde, and included a verse about them stuffing their loot into a canvas bag. Unfortunately, when Georgie Fame wrote the words to the song, he got a word wrong. Instead of referring to a “burlap” bag, he used the word “dewlap”. (In case you don’t know, dewlap is the loose hanging bit of skin under the throat of oxen, dogs, turkeys, etc – you know the bit I mean.) I couldn’t listen to that song without picturing the villains stuffing bank notes into a cow’s mouth and that definitely ruined the dramatic impact for me.

This error did not go unnoticed by the rest of the world. Georgie Fame admitted in an interview that somebody had told him, before the song was recorded, that “dewlap” was not the right word but he brushed them off and didn’t bother to check. Once the song had been recorded and released, it was too late to do anything about it. This failure to check (even after a warning) became about as public as a mistake can be. If nothing else, it proved that people do notice these things.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Get Designer Fashion Tips For the New Year

We have a new term added to the fashion dictionary. It is “recessionista”. Thanks to the economic recession. Thus, this person has a versatile wardrobe but at the same time, she manages to get the perfect look for the party without creating a large hole in her pocket. Let us hear what fashion gurus have to say and let us find out some tips. According to fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the recession does not mean that modern people are not really dressing up. They are not being too opulent but using their intelligence while dressing up. In this season, he feels that small flirty dresses are making a bold entry and even lovely red carpet dresses with rule most wardrobes. Thus, if you are planning to shop for your new wardrobe then make sure that you buy kurtis, saris, and salwar kameez later on.

Designers Pali Sachdev and Komal Sood also vote for these dresses. These dresses should be loose around the area of the waist and they should be fitted up to the hip. If you are asking what is in, then you should better concentrate on layering. It will keep you in vogue. If you are looking for a Mediterranean touch in your wardrobe then you can select tunics. However, make sure that you team them up with boots and opaque leggings. Leather or long brocade jackets will look perfect with formal pants or jeans and they will be a rage this season.

This winter the jacket is in full throttle. The variety of stylish cuts and the embroidery patterns will blow your mind. Kiran Uttam Ghosh says that trenchers and jackets are highly recommended. For uber chic women embroidered knee length jackets will work best with well structured formal pants. If you think that you cannot have enough of those denim jackets then your solution would be cropped jackets.

Well you cannot imagine winter fashion without the presence of some excellent stoles, scarves, and shawls. That would nicely complete the picture perfect look. Designer Shantanu states that your wardrobe will not be complete if you do not have some colorful scarves and many funky fishnets. Knee length satin and chiffon dresses will look elegant and sheer with fantastic crystal belts. You can play with a wonderful range of rich and vibrant colors. The experts vote for colors such as hot pinks, plum, raspberry reds, milk chocolates, and purples.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The McKinsey of Fashion – Anna Wintour and Her Legacy

WSJ did a cover story on the legend, Anna Wintour. I’m pretty sure, that under “editrix” in the fashion dictionary, her name is boldly spelt out. She sits atop a complex pyramid of power that intersperses buyers, designers, writers, models, photographers, PR peeps, stylists, Hollywood stars, investors, businessmen/women and of course, lesser editors. Anna controls the fashion world from behind her omnipresent dark glasses.

While I have had my reservations about the way American Vogue has turned out, there’s absolutely no denying the influence Anna wields over the people who matter. To all of you who haven’t seen the BBC documentary “The Secret World of Haute Couture”, I encourage you to check it out. Watching it now, you may feel it’s a little outdated as couture is no longer one dimensionally as exclusive. With the coming of Web 2.0, bloggers, the expansion of celebrity culture, livestreaming, social media, etc. it’s become more accessible. But the documentary clearly shows the sharp contrast in how the latest fashion trends has evolved; partly due to Anna.

Meryl Streep may play Anna in the cult hit movie, Devil Wears Prada as a shallow, single minded sadist but it’s often been said that all this is even so much as mentioned because she’s a woman. If she were a man, nobody would look at anything except for how good she is at her job (and maybe if she has any sexual harassment cases pending- we’re looking at you Terry Richardson). She was the first person to realize that celebrities sell- more than models that only a handful of fashion industry insiders and fans know of. She saw winning potential and went with it. She’s put everybody from Sienna Miller to LeBron James on the cover of her issues, increasing the circulation by millions!

Her inner circle encompasses everyone in Hollywood to lots in Washington. “When I wasn’t doing so well, Anna would throw a party and sit me next to B Arnault” says Harry Weinstein. He returned the favor by helping her throw the Billy Joel/Bruce Springsteen benefit concert for then- Senator and now President Obama. She helped Baz Luhrmann make “Moulin Rouge” the iconic success it is today with help from her powerful allies, Weinstein and Donald Trump. Carey Mulligan is loved by her and is consequently starring in Luhrmann’s next venture, The Great Gatsby.

In early 2009, amidst the shattering economic recession, she took a little field trip to mayor Bloomberg’s office and proposed the idea of a one-shot, late night shopping party, an idea partly inspired by Paris’ “nuits blanches”. She called up Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, smaller, indie stores like Opening Ceremony and said “I’ll send you Sienna! I’ll send you Justin Timberlake”. Her celebrity manpower is massive and contributes to a significant amount of her power.

Of course, this came to be known as Fashion’s Night Out and was held universally, including in India. Overall foot traffic in NYC grow about 50% in stores, Macy’s sales which had been down 4-5% increased in double digits post the night. FNO 2010 spanned over 1000 NYC stores, 100 American cities and 16 countries around the world. And no one can forget the Met Gala. Once a little benefit for society hostesses and their rich ivestor-type husbands, it’s now the event of the year. When she took over the committee in 1995, it catered to largely Park Avenue-types and garnered around $900,000 a year. Anna brought in the hugest, shiniest names in Hollywood, television, Internet, politics, literature, theater, business, sports (Roger Federer is a dear friend) and turned it into NYC’s air kiss to the world. Last year, the gala brought in $9 million. Amid the recession, mind you. In all, she’s raised about $75 million for the museum via the Costume Insitute Gala.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off