Tuesday, 11 September 2012

What is it to be chic?

On May 19th, 2012 I posed the question about what it is that makes one chic. I ended that post with the question, So is chic simply to be well-dressed? In attempting to rationalize my answer, it became clear that the question can instigate more discussion.

So is it simply to be well-dressed? The single word response is no.

1. To be well-dressed is certainly a predominate part of chic-ness. It would seem that you cannot be chic if you are not well-dressed. Can you be well-dressed and eccentric . . . well-dressed and athletic . . . well-dressed and economically-stressed? I would say "yes" to all those since well-dressed does not mean dressed in conservative clothing or in expensive clothing; therefore, you can be chic and eccentric, chic and athletic and chic and economically-stressed.

2. So if well-dressed is not completely necessary to be chic, should the question read that to be chic is to be impeccably dressed? "Impeccably" to me, suggests the condition of the clothing, which then contributes to the chic look; perfectly pressed seams as opposed to puckered stitches, well-attached buttons rather than buttons hanging a tad too loosely or missing entirely, hemmed edges rather than frayed and perfectly stitched seams instead of ones that have come apart and are pinned from underneath, or beautifully buffed leather not scuffed shoes with worn down heels. The clothing can be inexpensive and plain, a t-shirt and blue jeans, but if the t-shirt and jeans look shabby, one could no longer be considered chic. Shabby chic is an interior decorating term but I do not know if the term can exist in clothing or in the descriptors for people.

3. A simple t-shirt and jeans can be chic but if the fit is not perfect, or the shoulders are hanging a bit off and the jeans are "bagging" in the wrong places, the t-shirt and jeans become "comfortable casual" rather than chic. After writing that, I am asking myself, "But why can't you be comfortable casual and chic?" Still I believe that to be chic, the fit of the clothing is more important than the cost of the clothing.

4. Perhaps being well-dressed is the base upon which chic-ness manifests itself. However, you can be well-dressed and have a posture and mannerisms that preclude all attempts at being chic. For example: If you are well-dressed but slump at the shoulders and have both elbows on the table while you are chewing and talking simultaneously, it doesn't matter what you are wearing, you will not be considered chic.

5. It appears that clothing is the base, but if your hygiene is lacking and you are biting your nails, nervously twisting your hair or scratching and adjusting body parts, hygeine and personal body attentiveness supercedes the clothing.

6. Or is it just natural - a question of either you have it or you don't? And do women who have "it", know that they are chic? Clothing and hygiene are controllable factors but another consideration that makes the blue jeans and black t-shirt look chic is the personality type of the wearer.  Different personality types choose different clothing, therefore one could surmise that not everyone has the predisposition to look "chic" based on the contemporary parameters that have developed around that concept. So are those who are considered chic, introverts or extraverts?

7. For some reason or other, there is this notion that there is a universal desire by all women to look chic. I am sure there are many who say, "No thanks", to that. But it does make sense that the motivation to want to look a particular way has to be the driving force behind looking a certain way.

8. Does education play a role in being chic?

9. Do etiquette and social graces play roles in being chic?

10. So why did I even attempt to elaborate on the topic of being chic?

 Is chic simply to be well-dressed? No.

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