What Is Chic?

by Daniel Goh on Sep 28, 2022

What Is Chic?

Dear Reader,

Much has been made of French chic, with entire bookshelves groaning with style tomes promoting this hard to define way of dressing and living. To try to understand this undefinable concept, and hopefully practice it, let’s delve into the roots of the word that evokes France in general and Paris in particular, and in origin… German!


‍Chic derives from the German word “schick,” meaning proper and appropriate. “Chic,” like so many fashion tropes, was military in origin; being chic referred to proper military dress, when German officers were viewed as models of exemplary behaviour. Chic gradually evolved to start qualifying French elegance, and the word spread to the English, before becoming universal.


After much study, the conclusion is that French chic straddles the middle road between English austerity and Italian exuberance, and is a fine balance of elegance with a natural quality, and an eye for detail; it is a form of traditional dress leavened with individual eccentricity. Luca Turin, perfume expert, has given a good working definition of this elusive concept:

“Chic is first when you don’t have to prove you have money, either because

you have lots, so it doesn’t matter or because you don’t have any and it doesn’t

matter. Chic is not aspirational. Chic is the most impossible thing to define.

Luxury is a humorless thing, largely and when humor happens in luxury it happens

involuntarily. Chic is all about humor. Which means chic is about intelligence.

And there has to be oddness – most luxury is conformist and chic cannot be. Chic

must be polite and not incommode others, but within that it can be as weird as

it wants.”

All this is a long way of saying “Happy Birthday” to Brigitte Bardot, that quintessential French beauty and fashion icon, who was chic sometimes, and madly eccentric always, born today, 28 of September, in 1934, an actress and animal rights activist.

We celebrate Bardot and French chic at ABARA, with Vanity Case, the perfect chic bag to wear to your local café... or just about anywhere! Both classic, and fashionable, the Vanity Case embodies the essence of effortless Parisian chic!