Fashion Dictionary

Chic

Fashion Dictionary


One of the most over-used fashion words chic, we all know but how many of you ever thought of where did come from and why is it so much used in the fashion industry?

What does the word “chic” really means and where did it come from?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s: “stylishness and elegance“. Based on French Dictionary it means nice, smart, stylish.

Timeline of the word:

1600:  word comes from the old French term, “chicanery,” casually defined as “legal quibbling, and sophistry.” Others also link “chic” to a German word, “shick,” meaning “skill or tact.”

1846: “horrendous and strange word, recently coined, that I don’t even know how to spell.” by French critic Charles Baudelaire

1856: in Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary, one of the characters uses the word “chicard”  as a form of Parisian slang to describe someone who is stylish and anything but bourgeois.

1860:  around this time The Oxford Dictionary claims the word “chic” as we now know today


1887:  according to the article from January 20th of the edition of The LadyEngland’s oldest weekly magazine for women “the ladies of New York think no form of entertainment so chic as a luncheon party.”

1954: regarding to Audrey Hepburn’s dress designed by Edith Head in the movie Sabrina, Head claimed, “If it had been worn by somebody with no chic it would never have become a style.”

1965: around this time, subsets of “chic” start to appear. French-inspired “très chic,” the German inspired “uber-chic” and the Parisian “super chic.”


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