Chic is a fashion buzzword that is widely used, but what does chic style really mean? It’s a term that can be associated with any genre of style. From boho to rocker, every style has its own interpretation of chic. Let’s take a trip down history lane to kick off your women’s guide to chic style.
The Origins of Chic Style
We start our chic journey in France. Ooh, la la. Established in 1600, the old French term chicanery was the first and original mention of chic. By definition, chicanery means legal quibbling and sophistry. In other words, it is used to mean arguing or raising objections about a trivial matter. While this has nothing to do with style, the Wikipedia entry describes that it’s where the word chic originated, so it must be true, right? Perhaps more plausible, some link chic to a German word, schick, meaning skill or tact. Either way, you have a new fun, possibly true fact to impress all of your friends with at parties.
The definition and use of chic continued to evolve in France and England in the art and fashion scenes. By 1887, the word chic was being used in publications to describe just about anything. From clothing to architecture, everything was coming up chic.
Chic Fashion Makes it to America
In 1925, chic exploded across the pond onto the American fashion scene with the height of the jazz age. By 1954, chic was a frontrunner in the industry and would soon become the leading lady. Perhaps one of the chicest women of all time, Audrey Hepburn, ignited chic flames with her wardrobe in the movie Sabrina. Dressed by costume designer Edith Head, the fashions Hepburn adorned in the movie catapulted her to chic style icon status. The world continued to ride the chic wave and never looked back.
Overtime, the word chic evolved and was adopted across the world. Used to describe social events, individuals and modes and styles of dress, chic landed a spot in the english dictionary. Defined as smart elegance and sophistication, chic is used as a descriptor for an array of people, places and things.
Many attributes can be chic, but none are more popular than chic style. Whether in closets or on runways, chic style is supreme. It’s time for a class in chic fashion style 101. Pay attention—there will be a quiz after. Obviously, we are totally kidding, but please do the chic thing and pay heed anyway.
What is Chic Style?
As you will soon find out, women’s chic style comes in many variations. However, in its stripped-down fashion form, chic style contains clean lines, monochromatic notes and is steeped in neutral colors. Highlighted by a bold accessory, this looks consist of classic pieces with a twist that never go out of style.
Famed chic French fashion designer CoCo Chanel once said, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must be different.” Chic style certainly accomplishes this by incorporating unique details like asymmetrical hems, boxy silhouettes, classy prints and slight embellishments. Chic fashion style is often marked by luxurious fabrics that elevate a woman’s closet to new levels. They are lasting, classic and will be dependable staple pieces in your wardrobe for years to come.
Think of chic style as an uncomplicated look put together with little or no effort. Chic style is the result of a wardrobe consisting of pieces that mix and match together with ease and have individual interest. It is a simple voice with an extravagant exclamation point.
Now that we have a handle on chic style, let’s talk about its dashing forms, starting with boho chic style.
Boho Chic Style
To understand boho chic style, we must again travel back to France. In the early 20th century, French Bohemians were travelers and artists from central Europe. Boho style was directly derived from the garments that bohemians wore while living their unique and artistic lifestyles. Flowing, effortless and free, the functional fashions for the bohemian culture became a desired style statement for the French masses.
Taking it one step further, boho chic style has more recent roots. While boho style was in the mix years prior, a more polished version of the trend emerged in late 2005. Knighted as boho chic, the trend consists of pieces that are more fitted, neutral and coordinated than boho alone. Still self-expressive, boho chic is far more curated and versatile, expanding the power of your wardrobe with each piece.
Casual Chic Style
Opposites really do attract with our next fashion player on the scene, casual chic style. Casual chic style is a variation that takes your comfortable pieces up a notch. Accelerate your chic status by pairing them with tailored pieces like a smart black blazer or pleated midi-skirt. You chic things up by mixing and matching your laidback options with your most polished pieces.
Try pairing your cherished straight-leg jeans with a white tee, boyfriend blazer and a fresh pair of white sneakers. Style your favorite pair of wide-leg pants from your closet with a neutral sequin top. Slip your feet into neutral slides, and you are ready for whatever the day brings your way.
Rocker Chic Style
Chic happens. Even to edgier styles like rocker. Rocker styles were first seen in the United States and later emerged in England. The style really had nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with protection. Motorcycles were far more economical than cars and everyone who rode needed a thick layer of armour. Enter the biker jacket. Over time, the jackets became a point of fashion as people added trinkets, zippers and studs to personalize them. Even the name rocker came straight from the motorcycle itself as there were rockers found in the 4-stroke engines of the motorcycle.
This necessary and functional clothing sparked an entire genre of rocker chic style that is worn to this day. Marked by leather, fringe and distressing, rocker chic styles add edge and a sexy silhouette to your wardrobe.
Chic Street Style
Chic street style is exactly how it sounds—a style that has evolved from the street rather than the runway. You will find this style while thumbing through your most-loved magazine and all around you when out and about. It’s a reflection of what everyone is wearing, with individual interpretations that make every look unique.
Often retail pieces will be combined with designer items to create looks that are not only functional but fashionable. Infusing crisp chic lines and neutral colors into the clean streetwear ensembles is key. Due to the times, athleisure with both comfort and style in mind dominates streetwear. Pair a versatile jumpsuit with a utility-inspired open-front top for an instantly chic streetwear look. Add a pair of trainers, and you are ready to hit the city streets in ultimate chic style.
Modern Chic Style
Colorblocking. Structured design. Fresh, solid color palettes. Much like modern architecture, modern fashion is inherently chic, innovative and an instant classic. Modern chic style can be seen on every runway and street. Elegant or casual and always in style.
Look for modern chic pieces that are already in your closet. From solid pencil skirts to crisp white button ups, pair your clean basic pieces for a powerful modern chic look that is perfect for almost any occasion. Don’t have any modern pieces in your wardrobe? Check out a thrift store for chic eco-friendly clothing that is looking for a new home. Create a strong ensemble with thrifted pieces that will help promote your fashion sense and the planet.
French Chic Style
It’s only fitting that we wrap up your woman’s guide to chic style where it all began—France. Perhaps the most chic of all of the styles, French chic style is wrapped in beautiful simplicity. Basics with unique details like balloon sleeves and pleats make every day dressing an easy task. This style creates a wardrobe full of effortless pieces you can mix and match to create numerous fresh looks.
French chic style is never overdone and relies heavily on statement pieces that take the looks to the next level. From vibrant color to diligent details, French chic styles always have an unexpected pop that sets them apart from the rest. The true definition of très chic.
Did learning about chic style leave you wanting more? Ask your stylist to help you find the perfect chic fashion styles.