Wardrobe malfunction

Wardrobe malfunction

A wardrobe malfunction is a euphemism for accidental exposure of intimate parts. It is different from flashing, as the latter implies a deliberate exposure. There has been a long history of such incidents, though the term itself was coined in the mid 2000s and has become one of the most common fashion faux pas.


Linguistic phenomenon

The American Dialect Society defines it as "an unanticipated exposure of bodily parts".[1] Global Language Monitor, which tracks usage of words on the internet and in newspapers worldwide, identified the term as the top Hollywood contribution to English (HollyWordie) in 2004, surpassing words like girlie men, Yo! and frass.[2][3] The term was also one of the new entrants into the Chambers Dictionary in 2008, along with words like electrosmog, carbon footprint, credit crunch and social networking.[4] The dictionary defines it as "the temporary failure of an item of clothing to do its job in covering a part of the body that it would be advisable to keep covered".[5] One source defines it as, accidental and indecent exposure of body parts by a fault in someone's clothing (especially that of a performer) or by an error made while changing this costume.[6]

The term is credited as having been coined by singers Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson, on February 1, 2004, to explain the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy; the controversy is in reference to Jackson's right breast having been bared.[6] The print version of the Urban Dictionary describes it as "an accidental or supposedly accidental failure of clothing to cover parts of the body intended to be covered, made famous by Justin Timberlake during a Super Bowl halftime when he tore off Janet Jackson's clothes".[7] After the Super Bowl incident, the term "wardrobe malfunction" appeared in 5,028 stories in major US consumer and business publications, newspapers, and major TV and radio broadcasts.[8] Journalist Eric Alterman described the incident as "the most famous 'wardrobe malfunction' since Lady Godiva".[9]

The American Dialect Society had a number of related terms for Word of the year nominations in 2004, including Janet moment (unplanned bodily exposure at a public function), boobgate (scandal over Janet Jackson's exposed breast), nipplegate (Like boobgate, but used earlier in squawk over Jackson's possible nipple ring) and wardrobe malfunction (overexposure in a mammary way).[10] The term has been translated into other languages to describe similar incidents, including garderobedefect (Dutch), incident de garde-robe or défaut de fonctionnement de garde-robe (French), disfunzione del guardaroba or incidente del guardaroba (Italian), and mal funcionamiento del guardarropa (Spanish).[6]

Social phenomenon

In DJing for Dummies, John Steventon describes a range of wardrobe malfunctions from a revelation of butt cleavage to visible panty lines.[11] In some US cities, low hanging pants and whale tail flashing (thong exposed over the top of pants or skirts) are considered as wardrobe malfunctions, and are considered as a school dress code issue.[12] Bikinis also present a celebrity wardrobe malfunction opportunities to the paparazzi in the form of wedgies or bikini-top malfunctions.[13] In Wedding Planning and Management: Consultancy for Diverse Clients, Maggie Daniels warns, "With so many people involved in the wedding party, a wardrobe malfunction is guaranteed to happen."[14] In Cheer!: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders, Kate Torgovnick warns of wardrobe malfunctions while cheerleading.[15] The first reported instance of wardrobe malfunction occurred on The Price Is Right in 1977 involving contestant Yolanda Bowersley, though such incidents were not called by that name at the time.[6]

Nipple slip

Nipple slip (often referred to as "Nipslip"[citation needed]), an associated term, is the accidental exposure of a woman's nipple in public. Nipple slip is one of the most common forms of wardrobe malfunction[citation needed] and occurrences are popular among the paparazzi, and on celebrity gossip blogs and websites. In spot "Boys (Summertime Love)" (1987), Sabrina Salerno's bikini brassiere slips off every time when she raises from water in the pool, leaving her nipples partly exposed[original research?]. Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction may be the most well known nipple slip of all time[original research?]. A nipple slip can, in some cases, be avoided with the use of lingerie tape[original research?].

See also


  1. ^ Word of the Year, American Dialect Society, 2005
  2. ^ Top HollyWORDIEs of 2007, The Global Language Monitor
  3. ^ Toby Macdonald, "Parley Hollywood: Keira invents new languages", Sunday Mail
  4. ^ "Electrosmog enters the dictionary", BBC
  5. ^ "Dictionary suffers a wardrobe malfunction", The Mercury, 2008-08-15
  6. ^ a b c d Wardrobe malfunction, AllWords.com
  7. ^ Aaron Peckham, Urban Dictionary, page 328, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2005, ISBN 0740751433
  8. ^ Rich Eisen, Total Access, page 36, Macmillan, 2007, ISBN 0312369786
  9. ^ Eric Alterman, Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America, page 186, Penguin USA, 2008, ISBN 0670018600
  10. ^ Wayne Glowka, 2004 Words of the Year Nominations, American Dialect Society
  11. ^ John Steventon, DJing for Dummies, page 352, For Dummies, 2007, ISBN 0470032758
  12. ^ Nirvi Shah , Broward School Board debates dress-code revamp, Miami Herald, 2007-10-31
  13. ^ Lorna Edwards, You've still got it, babe, The Age, 2006-06-03
  14. ^ Maggie Daniels, Margaret J. Daniels and Carrie Loveless, Wedding Planning and Management: Consultancy for Diverse Clients, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007, ISBN 0750682337
  15. ^ Kate Torgovnick, Cheer!: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders, page page 41, Simon & Schuster, 2008, ISBN 1416535969

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • wardrobe malfunction — noun (facetious) The temporary failure of an item of clothing to do its job in covering a part of the body that it would be advisable to keep covered • • • Main Entry: ↑wardrobe …   Useful english dictionary

  • wardrobe malfunction — n. A problem with a part of one s clothing; an error in fashion judgment. Example Citations: So, in keeping with another New York truism, some people actually complained, somehow finding fault with the pleasant turn in the weather. Cabbies… …   New words

  • wardrobe malfunction — /ˈwɔdroʊb mælfʌŋkʃən/ (say wawdrohb malfungkshuhn) noun 1. an instance of accidental disarray in one s clothing, as from the failure of a zipper, the tearing of an adhesive, etc. –phrase 2. be having a wardrobe malfunction, Colloquial (humorous)… …  

  • wardrobe malfunction — noun An accidental instance of indecent exposure caused by a fault in someones clothing (especially that of a performer) or by an error made while changing this costume …   Wiktionary

  • wardrobe — late 14c., room where wearing apparel is kept, earlier a private chamber (c.1300), from O.N.Fr. warderobe, variant of O.Fr. garderobe place where garments are kept, from warder to keep, guard (see WARD (Cf. ward) (v.)) + robe garment (see ROBE… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Malfunction — A malfunction is when something functions wrongly or does not function at all. Some types of malfunctions are: Malfunction (parachuting), malfunction of a parachute Sexual malfunction, also called sexual dysfunction See also dyspareunia Wardrobe… …   Wikipedia

  • Wardrobe (disambiguation) — A Wardrobe is a cabinet used for storing clothes.Wardrobe may also refer to: * Wardrobe (government), part of royal administration in medieval England * Wardrobe malfunction, a euphemism used to describe the accidental exposure of intimate parts… …   Wikipedia

  • third wardrobe — n. A set of clothes with a style that lies between formal business attire and casual wear. Example Citation: But perhaps market forces will be the biggest aid to employers who want to introduce stricter appearance guidelines. It is all very well… …   New words

  • Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy — Justin Timberlake after tearing off part of Janet Jackson s clothes during their performance in the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was broadcast live on February 1, 2004 from Houston, Texas on the CBS televisi …   Wikipedia

  • Justin Timberlake — Timberlake at the Shrek the Third London premiere in June 2007 …   Wikipedia

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