February 13, 2018

New word: "masstige."

Seeing it for the first time today as a new entry in the OED. It's a portmanteau of "mass" and "prestige," and it means "A class of mass-produced, relatively inexpensive goods which are marketed as luxurious or prestigious." Examples:
2005 Fashion (Canada) Oct. 70/1 It bags were templates for a hot new category, called affordable luxury or ‘masstige’, fusing mass and prestige.

2006 Time Out N.Y. 14 Sept. 51/1 Luxury designers Sophia Kokosalaki, Thakoon Panichgul and Vivienne Westwood each created a limited-edition line for masstige footwear label Nine West.
I thought "It bags" was a typo at first, but I assume it's "it" as in "It girl," which actually has its own OED entry. It means "A woman who is very famous, fashionable, or successful at a particular time, esp. (chiefly U.S.) a glamorous, vivacious, or sexually attractive actress, model, etc., or (chiefly Brit.) a young, rich woman who has achieved celebrity because of her socialite lifestyle." Interesting. Didn't know "it girls" in Britain were different from "it girls" in the U.S. The original "it girl" was Clara Bow, who starred in a movie called "It."



And here, in the unlinkable OED, I see "it," the adjective, identified as coming from "it girl" and "Designating a person who or thing which is exceptionally fashionable, successful, or prominent at a particular time, as it bag, it couple, it gadget, etc." and the oldest example is an "it bag":
1997 Sunday Times 2 Nov. x. 12 Her range of It Bags are attracting a loyal following, especially among supermodels.
And, by the way, in very old speech or regional dialect, "it" was used as a possessive adjective the way we use "its." Shakespeare's "King Lear" has the line "It had it head bit off beit young." And the King James Version of the Bible had "That which groweth of it owne accord..thou shalt not reape." In 1986, there were at least some Scots who'd say things like "It had a mouse in it paw."

17 comments:

rhhardin said...

Mastige is like Dolly Parton.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I have heard the term 'masstige costmetics' used in reference to makeup that you buy in department stores instead of drugstores.

Balfegor said...

I think these sorts of "masstige" things are kind of great, actually. Or can be. Nicely designed "luxurious" stuff that is nevertheless affordable, if at a slight premium to the base model. Since I don't particularly go in for fashion, Apple is what I'm thinking of here, but I'm sure there's other examples. Honestly, in an age of plenty, why shouldn't commoners have nice things too?

tcrosse said...

Something to massturbate over.

Big Mike said...

What’s wrong with IT girls? You don’t need a penis to be a good network administrator or a good systems administrator, or to write good code. Information technology is chock full of females.

Just don’t call them “girls.” Fair warning!

Leslie Graves said...

I heard this word for the first time in a marketing book I read a few months ago. It recounts how Oil of Olay went from a cheap drugstore commodity for old ladies to something slightly cool and desirable for women just starting to wonder about wrinkles. The book characterizes P&G as pioneering the idea of the masstige market in their work with Oil of Olay.

traditionalguy said...

Original It girl was Jennie Jerome, Winston's American mother.

Luke Lea said...

Louise Brooks was another Hollywood It Girl. Interestingly, she refused to play the casting couch game and paid the price. https://goo.gl/uiJiFJ

Earnest Prole said...

Example: Tiffany & Co. I wandered in the other day and saw a display case devoted to high-end diamond solitaires, and the other nine display cases devoted to affordable baubles for the masses.

Caroline Walker said...

The "It" girl wouldn't be caught dead with mass-produced chic. The Fashion Icon knows when it's time to move on and define a new trend. Marlene Deitrich, Jane Birkin, Ines de la Fressange, Sienna Miller. Diane Keaton definitely stayed too long at the fair.

Masstige: perfect word to account for Apple's inevitable market decline.

Gahrie said...

IMO, masstige is an oxymoron.

BJM said...

Maybe a new word, but not a new concept.

Mid-18th century English transferware was one of the most successful examples of masstige. Developed to provide fancy tableware/ceramics for the emerging pre-industrial middle class.

Johnson Brothers of Stoke-on-Trent produced one of the iconic transfer patterns "Blue Willow" that most of us know, and which is still in demand...ironically now made in China.

FleetUSA said...

For the "It" girl you really need to credit the English writer Eleanor Glyn who penned many risque novels in the 20s and wrote for Hollywood movies. Including the 1927 novel "It".

She wrote a book called Three Weeks including a vision of sex: "And loveliest sight of all, in front of the fire, stretched at full length, was his tiger – and on him – also at full length – reclined the lady, garbed in some strange clinging garment of heavy purple crepe, its hem embroidered with gold, one white arm resting on the beast's head, her back supported by a pile of the velvet cushions, and a heap of rarely bound books at her side, while between her red lips was a rose not redder than they – an almost scarlet rose."

For this an anonymous little poem went:

Would you like to sin
With Elinor Glyn
On a tiger skin?
Or would you prefer
To err
With her
On some other fur?

Saint Croix said...

I gave It an A+ in my movie book. It's #300 all-time.


It (1927) The biggest hit of the flapper era. Clara Bow was known forever as the "It" girl. "It" is sex appeal. Do you have it? Do you want it? Clara Bow, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, all physical comedians, all redheads. Probably a coincidence. But the latter two are not sexy women, in my opinion. They do pratfalls and physical comedy, but it's desexualized. Clara Bow, on the other hand, is hot. She's hot and doing pratfalls and flopping around. The whole film is sexually charged. It's innocent on the surface and yet it's so suggestive, winking at us. Flappers annoyed puritans because they were so physical, it's like sex is bursting through. Every time she falls down, it's like a metaphor for a fallen woman. And yet the film is completely innocent and fun. Buster Keaton saw this movie and cast Dorothy Sebastian to be his flapper. Get me a flapper! Man, I like that word.

Rob McLean said...

the unlinkable OED

I always read this as "the unlikable OED"...

exiledonmainstreet said...

" Clara Bow, on the other hand, is hot. She's hot and doing pratfalls and flopping around."

In his book "One Summer, America, 1927" Bill Bryson wrote of Clara Bow's many lovers. One of her lovers stopped by her place unexpectedly one afternoon and suspected that there was another man on the premises and began hunting for him. He found the bathroom door was locked and began pounding on it and shouting, "Come on out, you son of bitch!" The door opened. The son of a bitch turned out to be heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey. Bryson doesn't say what happened next, but since I never heard that Dempsey killed a man at Clara Bow's house, I suspect the jealous lover excused himself and got out of there rather quickly.

Jim S. said...

The only time I heard the phrase "it girl" was on the marine biologist episode of Seinfeld.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj0SLy9uUik