The Definition of Chic


I read all the popular fashion magazines when I was a teenager. They dictated what the fashion trend was at that particular time and what I needed to throw away. Wear something that was not listed in the fashion bible and you would automatically make yourself an outcast. As I grew older, I realized that trying to subscribe to everyone’s definition of fashion-forward was a losing battle. Clothes purchased that is considered on trend today will be out of style next week. I found myself sorting through old photographs and magazine clippings in college and I slowly realized the clothing some of the ladies wore back then could be worn today. It was timeless. I decided that day going forward the clothing and accessories I purchased had to stand the test of time. I don’t want to look back on photos and grimmace at my fashion choices because someone in a magazine said M.C. Hammer pants were back in style and I needed to grab a pair as soon as possible.

Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to spend a fortune to be fashionable. Karl Lagerfeld, head designer and creative director of Chanel, shares his definition of chic. Even though the average price of a Chanel tweed jacket is around $4000, Karl Lagerfeld insists that one does not have to spend thousands of dollars on clothing,

“Never use the word “cheap”. Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them too). There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans — it’s up to you.”

Jared Goss, the curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also provided his definition of chic. He states,

“Chic is a completely subjective term and a question of one’s personal taste. Chic things at their best are very understated. It has be effortless, it has to unsought, it just has to be.”

The dictionary states that chic is adopting or setting current fashions and styles. I prefer to be a trailblazer and to wear colors that make me sing, clothing that flatters my body, jewelry that will stand the test of time, and I will choose quality fabric regardless of the label any day. What is your definition of chic?

Illustration Credit: Megan Hess

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