Fashion Dictionary: A Romanian to English Guide (Tongue in Cheek)
Writing a style blog in English as a native Romanian speaker is certainly fun, but sometimes also challenging. Luckily my English is near native (so I’ve been told), so I can easily express myself in my second language. Chances are if I don’t know a word in English, I probably don’t know it in Romanian either. But even so, sometimes there are some specific Romanian words related to style or fashion that I know since I’ve been a child, and which can’t be fully translated into English without losing their essence.
Which is why I thought I’d put together a fun little “Fashion Dictionary” for you! Just in case you’re ever in Romania and you get called a Pitipoanca, you might want to know what that means (hint: it’s not a compliment!) Hope you find it amusing and informative- and if you want me to do some sequels, you can always let me know in the Comments section.
Romanian to English Fashion Dictionary
Pitipoanca (Pron. Pee-tzee-pwun-kuh)
A woman of great taste and knowledge- if you’re in the market for a neon pink lipstick, a buff jock to carry your (fake) Louis Vuitton bag or a salon that does cheap but totally believable (ahem…) hair extensions. She does like to be dressed up and wear makeup 24/7, and to portray a heavily feminine image. But be warned: her taste runs more towards Jersey Shore than Ulyana Sergeenko. Usually travels in expensive cars (not her own) and drinks expensive champagne (bought by the aforementioned jock). And she will look at you like you are an inferior life form. That is unless you are like her (but just a tad uglier), or a rich dude.
Ie (Pron. Ee-yeh)
The traditional Romanian blouse (La Blouse Roumaine)- can be mistaken for a mere boho top. But don’t be fooled, a Ie is a whole different animal. On a more serious note, the Ie is something that women in the countryside used to make themselves. They would work and work, weaving prayers and bits of their heart and soul into these garments.
It was a celebratory gathering of the fairer sex, spending nights together producing their own Ii (plural form of Ie). This was a sacred and beautiful ritual, that resulted in unique pieces, many of which are now in museums. Fast forward a few decades, and all the big retailers have “adopted” the concept of the traditional embroidered boho tops. Except by producing them in crammed, dingy factories with poorly paid laborers (not exactly a celebratory gathering) and taking our all the heart, joy and simple beauty out of them in the process. Flower-power? Perhaps. Unique? …. not exactly.
Tinuta (Pron. Tzee-nuh-tuh)
See also Prestanta (Press-tahn-tzuh). This one is a biggie, and it irks me to no end that I can’t find a suitable English equivalent (if you know one, help a girl out!) This term could be placed somewhere between “posture” and “stature”. Concepts which can obviously be applied to inanimate objects (like fabrics, clothing or accessories) in the eyes of Romanians.
In the eyes of English speakers… eh, not so much. And while a semi-suitable translation could be “structure”, it doesn’t quite touch on the grandiose nuance of the word. And grandiosity is something many Romanians are definitely big on.
Now this bag certainly has a lot of Prestanta. (And so does that tiny cactus next to it)
A face Parada Modei (Pron. Ah Fah-czeh Pah-rah-duh Moh-day)
This is an ironic and usually pejorative way of referring to someone that is way overdressed for the situation. And it literally translates to “putting on a fashion show”! Although there is no way that that benign phrase could capture all the sarcasm and shade of a well timed “Face Parada Modei”- usually given with a heavy dose of side eye.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am no minimalist myself (hah, have you seen my jewelry?) And I am a fiery supporter of the popular saying “In case of doubt, overdress!” But be forewarned: if you’re going to be wearing heels to an underground club in Bucharest, or think of joining your grandma in church while wearing a bodycon dress, prepare for an avalanche of “There goes that one… Face Parada Modei”
Cocheta (Pron. Coh-kett-uh, also coquette-uh)
Now this one is a pretty cutesy and sweet term- one that could be likened to “flirty”. But the word cocheta goes far beyond the shallowness and girlishness that come from being flirty. For one, cocheta can also be applied to an older lady, even a very classy and elegant one.
It’s a term which indicates rather a poised woman who enjoys dressing beautifully and looking put togethe. It’s more han simply a googly eyed youngster who frantically (and quite honest desperately) looks for attention from the opposite sex. While the cocheta also enjoys the attention of men, she is more refined and graceful in receiving it than a flirt is.
P.S.: If you haven’t by now, make sure you join The Style Club to receive your free personal style printables and get the most stylish updates directly in your Inbox!
Count me in for Page 2.
Grace and elegance are the first two words that come to mind – definitely. A mix of the two plus thinking of “poise” as “presence” or “appearance” — well, it starts sounding like “tinuta”.
As for describing an object — well, it seems to be confined to people.
But you could use it poetically; for instance: The demure poise of her folded hands.
In this case Luna, I must say you are right- poise does seem to be the closest English synonym for our “tinuta’! Thank you very much for engaging, hope to see you back when I post the second “page” of the dictionary <3
A delightful read. I really enjoyed it.
As for “tinuta” — how about “poise”?
Poise may actually be quite close- I thought it refers more to grace than anything else, but I may be missing some subtleties of the word. Would you be able to use it in any way when describing an object as well? Thank you for your sweet comment, Luna :*
Nina | Lemons and Luggage
“Coquette” is a French term also used in English and German so it’s interesting to know Romanians use it as well.
Hi Nina, you’re absolutely right- we have the word “cocheta” in Romanian thanks to the heavy influences of Latin and especially French on our language across the 19th century.
Glad to hear! 🙂
Very cool. I never thought Romania (though lovely) was fashion central
I have to say we’re quite into fashion as a nation- must be that combination of Latin roots plus our vicinity to the Eastern block beauties 🙂
Great guide, especially as we’re about to go to England and Romania! 🙂
Hahah, that’s awesome! I hope you have a wonderful time there <3
I say more of these….:>. So fun.
Thanks, Julia! I really enjoyed writing it as well 😀
This is a really unique post. Romanian is so interesting.
Thank you very much, Becki! Glad you enjoyed it
Such a great post and read dear! I really enjoyed reading and now I would love to learn Romanian 🙂
Thanks for sharing with us!
Thank you, lovely Stella, so glad you enjoyed it! Romanian is a beautiful language to learn, just saying 🙂
Rickida M Isom
Ha. I never actually heard a romanian person speak in their native language so it was neat to read it. Beautiful language btw
Hahah, awesome! I guess there’s a first time for everything 🙂 And I agree, I think it’s a beautiful, rich language
Great post. I had no idea Romanian language is that fun 🙂
Hahah, cheers, glad you liked it! Yeah, we’re a funny bunch 🙂