Unless you’re Joan Rivers, Kelly Osbourne, or one of the other dandyish connoisseurs that sit behind their E! News desks and hurl comments about the Best and Worst Dressed celebrities every time there’s an awards show, fashion writing might be as pointless to you as trying to understand Wagner’s Ring Cycle or the films of Jean-Luc Godard.
Fashion is an acquired taste, and so is fashion writing. Is it frivolous and trite? You bet. Do you have something better to do than deconstruct the theatrically avant-garde, space-age-glam Mad Max look that Alexander McQueen featured at his spring show in Milan? Yeah, probably. However, spring is here and summer is fast approaching, and that means online content writers will see fashion articles sashaying down their dashboards like Kate Moss on the catwalk: Top 10 Summer Trends; What’s Hot, What’s Not; Spring Clothes that Flatter the Figure–all of these titles will be there, so you better know the following:
A romantic bouffant skirt becomes whimsically abstract when paired with a cropped sun shirt, and it brings to mind the neo-soul music of Amy Winehouse…(or something like that). You get the idea.
1. If you want to add frippery and bling to your fashion writing, you’re going to want to get friendly with adjectives, adverbs, and all sorts of quirky verbs. In other words, it’s not just a skirt with a rose print. It’s a full-skirt sprayed with a bleeding-rose print. In most types of writing, too many adjectives and adverbs is frowned upon; however, in fashion writing, adjectives and adverbs appeal to the five senses and are used in all sorts of over-the-top ways.
2. Infuse the writing with whimsy. Gemma Ward’s julienned dress played peek-a-boo down the runway.
3. Fashion is all about references. Read any magazine and the paragraphs are a web of allusions. It’s like Family Guy on steroids, or that night in the Brooklyn bar when you got stuck sitting beside the newly graduated hipster who went on and on about Wagner and Jean-Luc Godard and Amy Winehouse, somehow tying them all together in some type of conspiracy theory that involved the late Stanley Kubrick, JFK, Jim Morrison and…
In all seriousness: The collared blouse and ankle-length skirt with dash belt perfected the Grace Kelly look.
4. Fashion and travel go together like old boat shoes and Breton stripes–yacht rock and trade winds. Most content writers, however, don’t get to gallivant around the globe like fashion photographers on an endless swimsuit shoot. This is where a little imagination comes in handy; you have to set the stage and adjust your mental props. If you’re describing a Chloe swimsuit, or a vertically striped nautical shirt with broadcloth mini shorts, you need to amp it up with a little theater: Just off the coast of St. Lucia, Sigrid Agren’s floral motif swimsuit bloomed like the island’s pommel d’amour.
5. When it comes to fashion writing, less is never more.
Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.