Fashionably Late: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
July 24, 2023

The phrase "fashionably late" refers to the social practice of deliberately showing up a bit later than the scheduled time to a gathering or event. It implies the conscious decision to delay arrival, often viewed as a way to make a grander entrance or maintain an air of importance.

In short:

  • "Fashionably late" denotes deliberately being late to an event for added dramatic effect.
  • It involves using tardiness as a means to create anticipation or garner attention.

What Does "Fashionably Late" Mean?

The term “fashionably late” describes the act of purposefully arriving a bit late to a social function. The belief behind this behavior is that it makes your appearance more noteworthy or implies a higher social standing.

Let's dive into its principal meanings and usage:

  • "Fashionably late" signifies intentionally arriving a bit late to a social event, with the notion that it enhances your entrance's impact.
  • It revolves around social etiquette, where an individual's arrival is deemed more memorable if they don't turn up with the early crowd.
  • You might use "fashionably late" to discuss someone who habitually arrives late at social gatherings.
    • For example, if a friend is notorious for making late entrances at parties, you could say they are "fashionably late."
  • Phrases similar to "fashionably late" include "stylishly delayed," "trendily overdue," "gracefully tardy," and "chicly behind schedule."

Where Does "Fashionably Late" Come From?

The term "fashionably late" likely started from the concept of fashionability and social status. Traditionally, high-status individuals or celebrities might arrive late to events to make a significant entrance. As time went on, this behavior transitioned into a more broadly accepted social etiquette. These days, it mainly represents the act of being slightly tardy to a gathering or event to stand out or create anticipation.

Historical Example

"Every body arrived fashionably late, except the dining lord, who was punctual, - the dandy who came in with the Woodcocks, -and Lady Seraphina Dunstanville, who did not come at all. "

- Sir Thomas Charles Morgan, The Book Without a Name, 1841

10 Examples of "Fashionably Late" in Sentences

To provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of how to use this idiom, here are some examples in different contexts:

  • "What have you been up to?" she asked as she arrived fashionably late to the party, making a grand entrance.
  • Despite the meticulous time planning, they still managed to be fashionably late to their own event.
  • As a social butterfly, Melissa arrived fashionably late to ensure all eyes were on her.
  • Fashionably late, she sauntered into the gala just as the spotlight hit the entrance.
  • The dime piece arrived fashionably late, just in time for the final walk on the runway.
  • While it's considered rude in some circles, being fashionably late is often seen as a status symbol in high society.
  • In his typical style, the rock star was fashionably late to his concert, heightening the crowd's anticipation.
  • She couldn't help but rub it in when she arrived fashionably late, making a dramatic entrance that outshined everyone else.
  • He’s the devil incarnate, and he knows it. He likes to show up fashionably late and ruin everyone’s mood.
  • "Like father, like son," people would whisper when they saw the son inherit not just his father's business but also his habit of being fashionably late.

Examples of "Fashionably Late" in Pop Culture

The term "fashionably late" often pops up in pop culture, usually referring to the deliberate delay in arrival to enhance one's entrance or image.

Let's examine a few examples:

  • "Fashionably Late" is a music album by American rock band Falling in Reverse, released in 2013. The title hints at the band's tendency to redefine their musical style.
  • "Fashionably Late" is a TV series starring the fashion expert and TV personality Rachel Zoe, exploring her life in the fashion industry.
  • "Fashionably Late" is also a song by American artist R&B artist R.LUM.R, whose lyrics explore the theme of romantic tardiness.

Other Ways to Say "Fashionably Late"

There are numerous other phrases that express a similar notion to "fashionably late."

Here are a few examples:

  • Stylishly tardy
  • Elegantly delayed
  • Chicly overdue
  • Genteelly behind schedule
  • Sophisticatedly late
  • Classily belated
  • Trendily postponed
  • Gracefully deferred
  • Refinedly retarded
  • Poshly behind time

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Fashionably Late":

  • What does "fashionably late" mean?

"Fashionably late" is a term used to describe the act of intentionally arriving late to an event to draw attention or seem more important.

  • How can I use "fashionably late" in a sentence?

You can use it in sentences like "Led by their charismatic leader, the group arrived fashionably late to the event, making a memorable entrance."

  • Where does the term "fashionably late" come from?

The phrase "fashionably late" originated in the 19th-century British high society where it was considered fashionable for ladies to arrive late to events.

  • Is it rude to be "fashionably late"?

It can be considered rude to be fashionably late for certain events, particularly if the host has requested punctuality. However, for certain informal or social gatherings, it might be seen as a norm.

  • Can "fashionably late" apply to professional contexts?

It's generally not advised in professional settings, as it can be seen as disrespectful of other people's time.

  • Does "fashionably late" mean I can arrive at any time?

No, "fashionably late" generally implies a modest delay, usually no more than 15-30 minutes. Any longer could be considered rude.

  • Is "fashionably late" used in non-English speaking countries?

While the exact phrase may not exist, the concept of being fashionably late is present in many cultures, often in high society or celebrity circles.

  • Can being "fashionably late" enhance my social status?

In certain social settings, it might give an impression of importance or popularity, but it can also be seen as disrespectful or attention-seeking.

  • Is it acceptable to be "fashionably late" for a dinner party?

Generally, for a dinner party, it's better to arrive on time. However, cultural norms can vary, so it's always best to know the host's expectations.

  • Can I be "fashionably late" for a job interview?

Arriving late for a job interview, even "fashionably" so, is generally considered unprofessional and could leave a negative impression on the interviewer.

Final Thoughts About "Fashionably Late"

The concept of being "fashionably late" has been around for quite some time. While it might be seen as a sign of prestige or importance in some social circles, it's crucial to remember that it can also be interpreted as disrespectful or inconsiderate.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The idiom refers to the practice of intentionally arriving late to make a grand entrance or draw attention.
  • While it might be acceptable in certain social gatherings, it's generally considered unprofessional in a work setting.
  • Being aware of the context and the cultural norms of the event is key to knowing when being "fashionably late" is appropriate.

In the end, being "fashionably late" comes down to a balance between understanding social expectations and respecting others' time. As a rule of thumb, when in doubt, it's always better to be on time.

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