First, let’s translate the word.
Not so easy. Literally.
Go to a dictionary and one finds the following definitions/synonyms: fashionable, elegant, smart and stylish with a few adjectives thrown into the mix. I find these words lacking.
Is a chic woman fashionable? Does that mean she just went shopping for the season’s latest and greatest and her purchases look seasonally spectacular? Maybe. Maybe not.
Is a chic woman elegant? Perhaps, but not necessarily. Elegance is more complex I think. (We can investigate in another post on another day.)
Is a chic woman smart (you know, as the word applies to dressing)? Possibly.
Is a chic woman stylish, which tends to be considered the most accurate definition of the concept? Yes, I think that is about as accurate as we can get with words.
The idea of chic or better yet, the ideal of chic should leave one with the impression that a woman achieved her feat effortlessly. Chic must not look contrived. It must convey ease, nonchalance, comfort and confidence — that magic melange many Frenchwomen seem to pull-off naturally. I know perfectly well if it comes naturally, it arrived after some practice, a soupçon of trial and error and a dash of discipline.
But then, it does come fluidly, easily.
A stylish French man or woman might argue that being chic is part of a woman’s DNA, that it truly does come naturally. Some will add/emphasize that a slender figure is the immutable foundation upon which all is built.
Never mind, how about a little list that could help construct a chic façade?
- Never look like you’re trying too hard.
- Learn to mix high-and-low so that you seem creative and young.
- Grooming counts. Great haircuts and good color are essential, but too, too much grooming is off-putting. It’s not natural.
- Keep it simple. Anything over studied looks contrived and that means boring, ageing and yes, insecure.
- Look at pictures of women you consider stylish/chic and see what it is about how they put themselves together that makes you admire their look. See what elements are there for the stealing. . . Experiment.
- Posture counts: head high, spine straight, sit-up, walk tall.
- Do not add anything to the mix that makes you feel uncomfortable. If we feel uncomfortable we look uncomfortable. Bien dans sa peau is the message a chic woman conveys. (It may or may not be true, but that’s irrelevant.)
- Add something that is quintessentially “you” and keep it in the mix. Make it part of your personality, your personal chic. It could be a statement piece of jewelry, glasses, haircut, hair color, nail polish, lipstick. . .
- You know those items in your wardrobe that you always turn to, the ones that make you feel confident? Consider them your personal chic team. Build upon them.
- A woman cannot be chic if her wardrobe is a cacophony of prints and disparate colors. You can argue that point until les vaches come home, but it’s true.
- Ask any French woman. For every basic skirt or pant, the theory goes, we should own five or six solid tops and perhaps one print. A solid top could be in French blue of course.
Finally, every woman can and should work out her own definition of the concept. We’re going for originality after all. We can admire the style of certain women knowing perfectly well that that is not us, not our personality, not in our comfort zone.
It’s not complicated really, it simply takes a little time and thought to figure out how to incorporate our personalities into our clothes, that’s what being chic is all about after all. N’est-ce pas?