Like any specialised field of endeavour, fashion has evolved its own language, a lingua franca that separates the knowledgeable from the novices and those in between. At same point, you may have to talk this talk without necessarily having to walk this catwalk. Here is a bluffer's guide to getting away with a couture mouth on a high-street budget.

Seasonal adjustment
First up, forget what thousands of years of rigorous geographic and environmental observation have taught us. There are not four seasons in a year, there are two: spring/summer and autumn/winter. And BTW, darl, no one who's anyone bothers writing the words out in full - I mean what's next, polysester? - it's "S/S" and "A/W" followed by the last two numbers of the year we are in or about to embark on. Duh!

Work it
When combining pieces for an outfit - or better yet "pulling together a look" - you don't "mix" and you certainly don't "match".  Those who know both their A-lines and A-listers "work back" one item with another. As in "we've worked back a denim shirt with a print."

Singular sensations
For reasons which are yet to be fully explained, fashion views plurals like it does carbs - generally to be avoided if poss. As a result, pants become "a pant", sleeves "a sleeve" and pleats "a pleat".  So for bonus points, "you work back a linen pant with a batwing sleeve."

The geek's guide: how to talk farshun

First name basis
When Robert De Niro was honoured by the American Film Institute with a lifetime achievement award, Billy Crystal noted that the actor was known by three names in the industry: "Mr De Niro" to those who were working with him for the first time, "Bob" to a select group of close associates and "Bobby" to producers who had never met him. So it is with fashion. The casual use of the first name of models and designers - Cara, Kate, Marc, Hedi - speaks of a casual acquaintance that in reality does not exist and never will but hey, it's fun to say, "Kylie and Kendall are so overexposed right now."

Nothing's ever black and white
It's "monochrome". Or "mono" for extra cachet. Curiously, while this term can cover the aforementioned combo of noir et blanc (everything sounds better en Francaise), it can also be applied to a look which features varying shades of one colour. AKA Tonal. Which is also an excellent name for a rapper.

In case of emergency...
When the fash pack gets into a debate, the outcome can be as competitive and arched as anything on the runway. There will be times - especially if you are a circumspect type who is not consumed with the desire for your opinion to be heard constantly - when the conversation falls silent and immaculately coiffed heads swivel in your direction expectantly. At which point you need to drop an incontrovertible fashion fact. Whatever is being referenced, you need to say, "That is so Céline." Believe us, it will be. Unless you are talking about menswear, in which the case, substitute the word "Céline" for "Dries".

The geek's guide: how to talk farshun