Chic or Chique: The real meaning behind fashion’s biggest cliché

The French have a way with qualities they cannot really describe. “Je ne sais quoi”, which literally means “I don’t know what”, a phrase established by the French for indescribable potential. And the fashion world went with it. It is chic. Chic is derived from a French term “Chique”. Chic is when something is in vogue, when something is indescribable and overwhelmingly great.

Attend a fashion show or eavesdrop at one, open a magazine or visit a website that deals with à la mode, and it is a given that you will come across this one specific term: chic. I have heard fashion editors gasping the word chic while admiring each other’s work. There is usually a reply to it, which is: chic or trés-chic (very stylish) if you are in Europe.

Now that we have understood the term, let’s move on to the next step, which involves defining various types of chic.


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