Style: How to do chic

Thanks to lazy marketing speak, the word chic can mean anything, absolutely anything in fashion. It can be ‘shabby chic’, ‘vintage chic’ or ‘lairy chic’, but to cut down to the bear bones of chic it is none of these things. Real chic is simple, smart, stylish, and luxury led. It’s something we aspire to when we want to look responsible, important, and grown up cool.

This season chic is particularly easy to define because it’s the look we will see everywhere when soaking up our latest fashion fix. We’re all about the neutral, well cut, neat and unfussy. Even our fashion media has had a good tidy up with white space and neat text. The chic status is everywhere, but weirdly hard to obtain, unless it comes naturally (gits) there are some simple rules to follow.

First up, if in doubt, go black. It’s why so many people get a style compliment when popping in for a pint after a funeral. Navy is a good one too, and muted tones, cream, camel (this season’s chic hero) dove grey, and charcoal. Try to not do patterns much.

Also clothing needs to be ironed. Always. Jackie Kennedy famously said that “sex is a bad thing because it rumples the clothes”; well, it’s an attitude that didn’t do much for marital relations but you’ve got to admit the girl always looked good.

Attention to beauty is required for both boys and girls, hair needs to be done, but not perfect done (we like our chic with a touch of slutty) and nails don’t have to be polished, but they must be clean and neat. Other classic beauty favourites apply, slight tan (healthy), no make up make up (sensible) and minimal stray body hairs (groomed).

Try to fake rich and talk slow. If you’ve got some cash lucky you, if you haven’t go Zara, and if you’re really skint car boot can work as long as it fits and has been properly de-bobbled. Get organised because chic is never in a hurry. Chic is cool, and cool is never hair matted to face, tripping, swearing lateness. We’re in control on the outside, keep the tears to yourself.

And if you want some lazy marketing spin go for ‘modern chiccy chic’ and avoid a cliché – think Roitfeld not Hepburn, look sullen, control your inner madness and stay skinny.

Simple right?

Elizabeth Barrett

(This article first appeared in Station Magazine in 2010)



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