We need to talk about Kim Kardashian's use of the term "vibes."
~Vibes~ aren't literal. A vibe is a feeling, a mood, a metaphor, a description of something intangible.
If you're using the word to describe clothing or an outfit, you're describing the "vibes" it gives off. Let's say you're wearing a preppy blazer and striped tie. You might say "Hogwarts vibes." Or if you're referring to a flowy blue summer dress — that's "ocean vibes." You don't say "blue dress vibes."
The vibe isn't EXACTLY THE THING IT IS. A vibe is the feeling it gives off.
But that is not how Mrs. Kardashian West uses the term.
Kim uses vibes extremely literally. For example: "Leather vibes" — a bunch of pics of leather.
Green dresses are "green vibes."
A bunch of photos of gray outfits are are "gray vibes."
"Latex vibes" are — you guessed it — a bunch of latex outfits.
But Kim uses "vibes" in other ways. For example, as a substitute for the word "outfit," like in this photo, titled "today's vibes." This isn't about today's feeling — this means literally what she is wearing today.
Vibes can also refer to a temporal occurence. For example, there is nothing vibey about this, but it is "last night's vibes" simply because, well, the photo was taken the night before.
Vibes can also refer to a physical place. Like "Sydney vibes."
Or "Venice vibes," because, you know, she's in Venice.
Or a specific location, like this "set vibes."
But what if it's not Kim just being an out of touch 35-year-old trying to use hip slang? What if... it's much more savvy than that?
Most of Kim's "vibes" tweets recently have links back to her new site/app, which you have to pay to access. The vibes tweets are specifically promotional, repackaging "content" (old paparazzi pics of herself) thematically in order to drive the reader to visit her site. "Vibes" posts are a marketing tool to drive paid websites subscriptions.
Perhaps what we're really seeing is a very canny effort to make the term "vibes" her own, at which point it can serve her as a marketing tool. Kim's use of "vibes" serves capitalism — not malapropism.
It's kind of like Kris Jenner's attempts to trademark the term #ProudMama, which she uses to hashtag posts on Instagram about her kids (and wants to use for advertising purposes).
"Vibes" has become Kim's word, regardless of the original meaning. Her Kimoji app (available for $1.99 in the iTunes store) has a cartoon emoji of the word "vibes". The word is clearly aligned with Kim's personal brand.