Chic is defined as “elegantly and stylishly fashionable.” But this elusive term encompasses more than our wardrobe. It’s a way of being. So, is a sense of chic attainable?
“Charm, grace, poise, wit and more,” are words fashion journalist Tish Jett uses to describe the allure of the chic. “Add elegance to the mix and the result is an intoxicating cocktail of fascinating femininity.” She claims any woman can achieve it, but there’s an art to being chic.
'Living a beautiful life is about style, simplicity, intelligence and generosity,' notes Jett in her book Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style and Substance. “Frenchwomen of all ages are admired for their legendary poise and presence. These qualities alone transform the simplest clothes into a look of natural chic. ”After examining all the elements that embody the chic woman, she shares the secrets to attaining timeless elegance, from fashion, hair and makeup to the complete woman.
“When the façade is firmly in place, a woman becomes confident and what’s more attractive than confidence?” asks Jett, who has written for the International Herald Tribune and Women’s Wear Daily. 'Radiant self-confidence is a big part of Frenchwomen's success. 'In Forever Chic she reveals the steps necessary for cultivating confidence: develop personal style, eat well, take care of your body and live a full, rich and meaningful life —with pleasure. It’s not as easy as just getting a new hairstyle. The following outlines Jett's comprehensive plan on how to be chic.
Creating a signature style
The chic woman knows what works specifically for her character, figure and best features, explains Jett. 'Chic is a mix of high and low, new and old all scrambled together to reflect a woman's personality,' she informs us. It’s quality over quantity and has nothing to do with the amount of clothing in your closet or designer brands. The chic closet is created by carefully developing your individual sense of style, collecting 'good' items that wear season after season and taking good enough care of these perfect pieces so you can pass them down to your daughters.
Keep most of your wardrobe in neutral colors, Jett advises. Add dashes of color that suit the occasion or your mood. The Chic Wardrobe basics include:
- A well-tailored pant suit
- A well-cut blazer
- Black dress
- Cashmere sweaters
- Long skirt
- Ecru satin blouse
- Jeans (but not stone-washed) and T-shirts
- Polo shirts
- Trench coat
'Accessories say more about your personal style than the clothes they enhance,' Jett says. 'And they're so much fun. 'The most personal accessories jewelry, so start by thinking about what reflects your taste. Coco Chanel made wearing costume jewelry chic and she also liked to mix it up with the 'real' thing. Whatever your preference, make sure you please yourself.
- Jewelry: pearls, bangles, silver, gold, diamond brooches
When choosing shoes, be sure you can walk confidently. If you love high heels (but can't wear them all day), keep them for special occasions. If you do wear flats, choose a pretty style such as ballerinas or moccasins.
- Bags and shoes should never match. Pair suede flats with a leather tote.
Jett says chic women keep a variety of good shoes and maintain them for years. 'Frenchwomen are frugal!' she insists. So get to know your shoe repair and keep your boots in good shape season after season.
- Scarves: Jett says that the chic woman is 'most in their element' with a scarf. Around your neck, shoulders or hair, scarves add panache to your look. Experiment with new knots.
Eating with pleasure & staying fit for fun
The chic hold to the pleasure principle in all they do. They enjoy food, eat sensibly and snack on something nutritious, like yogurt and fruit. As for all those delectable éclairs and macarons, French women consider them a treat, not an everyday occurrence, and consume them in small (some might say miniscule) portions. 'Vanity is a powerful appetite suppressant,' Jett explains. Staying fit is also seen as good for one’s health. It tones the skin, boosts the mood, keeps the body supple and flexible and maintains weight. “Taking care of oneself is a big confidence builder,” says Jett.
- Eat with pleasure at every meal
- Have fun with fitness: walk, swim, play tennis, bike
- Care about style — and substance
While chic women are “polishing, pampering and perfecting their exteriors, they are also hard at work enhancing and maintaining their internal resources,” says Jett. For timeless elegance, you have to develop your inner chic. Real style is built on lively conversation and always learning something new. It’s about a full-dimensional life. Jett believes that “informed intelligence” is as important as your signature bag or black dress. She recommends:
- Stay current, engaged and informed about the world
- Read books, see new films, attend lectures, attend art exhibitions
- The key to chic is confidence. It will transform you no matter what you're wearing.
- Be curious. Be confident. Be yourself.