There are a lot of terms thrown around in the fashion world. Fashion blogger Leandra Medine coined the “Man Repeller” through her blog and style choices, i.e. someone who dresses in such a way that may repel members of the opposite sex. There is the wife-beater, a sleeveless undershirt awfully inspired by the association with men who do what the name suggests. Tyra Banks is no stranger to making up words, including her classic smize (smiling with your eyes) and TYover (Tyra Banks version of a makeover). Over the course of the last few weeks I’ve been hearing a new term floating around Emory’s campus: Groutfit. After taking linguistics for a semester, I feel I am ready to take this term head-on.
When I first heard this term I assumed it was a combination of “gross” and “outfit” since every outfit I had seen being referred to as a groutfit was sweats. Yet after confirming with some friends and the trusty Urban Dictionary, I’ve learned the true definition: (noun) : an outfit made completely of gray; a gray top and gray bottoms. See also bloutfit (all blue), blackout (all black).
This term confuses me for many reasons. First, as previously mentioned, in every instance that I have seen a groutfit it has been sloppy, but nowhere in the definition does it say that it must be. I understand that a lot of school/team apparel includes gray sweatshirts and sweatpants. But do people think they look good when they wear two slouchy articles of gray clothing together? Is this sloppy look intentional or an afterthought? Is this meant to be a pajama look? If so, I’m pretty sure I invented it years ago.
This brings me to my next point: are groutfits meant to be a fashion statement? I’ve come across some trendy groutfits in my Internet searches. It’s clear to me that groutfits can indeed be pulled off. A variation in fit and shade seem to be necessary in order to accomplish this feat.
Lastly, I’m wondering why wearing specifically gray, out of all colors, has a special name. Urban Dictionary tells me that there is such thing as a bloutfit and a blackout, but these terms must have gone extinct if they ever truly existed at all. Last time I checked this trend was just called monochromatic.
Like anything in fashion, I know this term will be in one day, and out the next. For now, if I want my grey fix, I’ll stick to Christian.