You’re completely put together, right?
You’ve spent your 40k dollars on a fancy degree…
You’re making good money…
Your style is dialed in, everyone takes you seriously.
Some of the words you use are unintelligible.
Fortunately, I’m here to save you (and myself!) from sounding ridiculous in front of your friends and colleagues (know how to say that one?).
Here are 10 words that stylish men everywhere still can’t say properly and the correct pronunciation you’ve been struggling with.
The elephant in the room…I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been guilty of this one…more than once!
As it turns out these are NOT small red creatures stealing chickens from their hardworking neighbors. When talking about men’s style we often see ‘faux’ materials such as faux leather shoes and jackets, faux suede shoes, and faux fur jackets (or linings).
It’s important to remember that we are NOT talking about fox leather, fox suede, and fox fur. The word faux itself is from French and means false…it is properly pronounced “Fo” (as in dealing harshly with vanquished foes).
We can all go ahead with the confidence that we will never make this linguistic faux pas (fox pass?) again.
I assure you that no foxes were harmed in the making of this correction.
Correct : Por-sha
If you’ve reached peak style you may have one of these…how embarrassing would it be if you couldn’t say the name? When you’re showing off your new ride, remember, you’ve just spent the sum of your buddy’s annual salary on a sexy new Por-Sha…not a Porsh…
You’re driving a high-end sports car, not a bowl of beet soup…I love a good bowl of borscht as much as the next guy, but make sure you and your envious friends can keep the two straight.
Racing on to the next word.
Odds are you will be using this for your Porsche! If you’re ever using valet service it is beholden upon you to know that it is, in fact, Val-et service!
Say it just like it looks. This word is commonly pronounced Val-ay, understandable since we anglophones are accustomed to the ‘et’ on a French word sounding like ‘ay’.
People will certainly know what you mean…but why settle for average when you can stagger people with your expert grasp of the English language?
Remember, Val-et, not Val-ay.
Now that the valet has parked your Porsche, you’re ready to head into the gala.
This word (again of French origin) dates back to the 17th century and was used to indicate an occasion of fancy dress. While this definition is now obsolete, the spirit remains intact.
Contemporary galas are defined as ‘festive celebrations’. They are often black tie events held in conjunction with holidays and fundraising efforts.
Either way, a gala (gay-la remember!) is a place to let your style shine.
Are you noticing a trend with words from the French language? Me too. Rest assured that we will not judge you if you speak this word with less than perfect French inflection, but still, it has nothing to do with continuing a task following a pause in labor.
Your résumé is a record of your employment, it’s the first thing a potential employer see’s when you’re looking to book an interview and is properly pronounced in English “Reh-zoo-may” not “Ree-zoom”. Three syllables, not two.
This is an important distinction if you’d like to “Ree-zoom” your employment when you’re back from sabbatical.
Correct: Nitch / Neesh
Incorrect: Nitch / Neesh
Ok… now you’re wondering if I’ve forgotten what I’m doing right? The truth is both of these pronunciations are absolutely correct depending on your location. Niche is a word which has its origins in French but which has been thoroughly anglicized.
In much of the English speaking world (the U.S. and Canada included), ‘nitch’ will be considered the correct pronunciation, while ‘neesh’ will be more commonly heard in the U.K.
At the end of the day, this is one word where you have carte blanche (bonus point if you can say that out loud) to do as you will…either way you’re correct.
Talk about a win-win.
#7. Yves Saint Laurent
Correct: Eev San-la-ron
Incorrect: Eeve Saint-low-rent
Yves Saint Laurent is a powerhouse of women’s fashion design although his brand is also known for very high end, extremely fashionable men’s formal wear, accessories, and fragrances. Particularly known for his dresses and tuxedo inspired women’s formal wear, it’s arguable that Yves Saint Laurent changed the face of French fashion.
Here at Real Men Real Style, we believe in the enduring social power of classic men’s style, so we have to respect a man who was quoted as saying “Fashions fade, style is eternal”.
Give the man and his legacy the respect they are due. Drop all of the T sounds and say “eev san-la-ron” (sounds elegant doesn’t it!) and NOT ‘eeves saint-low-rent’.
He’s the patron saint of French fashion…not of affordable housing.
Accessories are the icing on your style cake. I will never argue against the visual power of a well-fitted suit, but the suit on its own will only take you so far.
Attention to the small details like your watch and belt can really pull your look together. Further accessory details like your neckties, pocket squares, briefcases or shoulder bags, are the difference between good but predictable and undeniably polished
So please…stop asking the gentleman behind the counter to direct you to the men’s ‘ass-ess-or-ees’. What you’re looking for are the ‘ack-sess-or-ees’. It’s a small difference with a bit impact.
After all, I don’t know what an assessory is…but it doesn’t sound like it belongs here.
Zegna is known for high-end luxury menswear. Any man would be proud to be seen in a piece from this illustrious brand. Everything they do from jeans to sports coats to suits is designed with an eye to detail.
The price tag shows it…with a $3000 ticket on a sports jacket, there’s no arguing the feeling of status and prestige that can come with one of these pieces. So guys, if you’ve taken the plunge into Zegna, do your self a favor and sound as sharp as you look.
Your sleek new suit is from ‘Zen-ya’ (sounds as good as the suit looks), NOT from ‘Zeg-na’ (sounds like a half-stifled sneeze).
Easy as that guys…but we won’t even get into Ermenegildo…
Incorrect: La-coast, La-cos-tee.
I’ll be surprised if any of us don’t own at least one Lacoste polo or sweatshirt. These guys are an absolutely ubiquitous casual clothier and can be found on (I guess) nearly every golf course between Alaska and Florida.
With the amount of Lacoste clothing available to be seen, it’s a wonder that more of us don’t say it correctly right?
Not really, this one is really tricky, I didn’t even know I was saying it wrong! The ‘e’ at the end of Lacoste makes a very soft ‘uh’ sound.
Pronounce it like an afterthought and you’re probably doing it right.
Incorrect: At-ach, or At-ach-ee
The attaché case for all intents and purposes is a thin, streamlined briefcase. They are typically made of leather and are designed specifically to carry papers and documents. These cases are tremendously useful, lower profile and easier to carry than a briefcase, and in my opinion just look sleeker.
Like our whole slew of French words before, it can be a bit deceiving. Remember, you attach a file to an email, you carry an At-ash-ay case.
We’re One Step Closer To Sounding Smarter
Ok, trust me guys, this is not an exhaustive list of words that we stylish men can’t say. In fact, we could probably write a book about how badly American and Canadian men can butcher the English language.
Hopefully, this list of 10 words stylish men can’t say will give you a leg up the next time you’re showing off your Eeves Saint Low Rent acssessories while you’re out saving the fauxes!