She is not fashionably Chic!! | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: She is not fashionably Chic!!

December 08, 2008

She is not fashionably Chic!!

Main Entry:

1 chic


Function: noun

Etymology: French


1: smart elegance and sophistication especially of dress or manner : style chic>

2: a distinctive mode of dress or manner associated with a fashionable lifestyle, ideology, or pursuit chic>

3: a faddishly popular quality or appeal

Who doesn't want to be chic! Antoinette was totally chic in her pursuit of peasant pleasures and gowns. She wore the latest in rural chic, while wandering through her little village and Petit Trianon. So it seems that a lot of ladies we already know were tres chic, no?

So in 1856 the word chic appeared. Here is one author's definition of the term chic, written in 1896, just 40 years after the idea was introduced:

"The most perfect manifestation of the individualistic ideal in dress. It is a purely personal characteristic nether to be analyzed nor acquired, but whose presence is very readily perceived even by the uninitiated. Women of all ages have possessed it, for it is quite independent of nationality and period, also quite distinct from either wealth or beauty. Those lovely enchantresses, Cleopatra and Mary Stuart, whose fabled loveliness modern research has disproved, must have owed their successes to their ‘chic.’"

So in accordance with that take on 'chic,' let's get specific! Ladies who were....
"'most' chic were Lady Elizabeth Foster and the audacious Miss Chudleigh, sometime Countess of Bristol."

I will not be the first to admit that I am not a big Bess Foster fan. I want heathers opinion on this!

"Both Emma, Lady Hamilton, and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, were prevented from being 'chic,'"
What! Georgie was not chic??? How could that be? She was all about fashion and in touch with it's highest players - one of its few highest players herself! You heard it in the movie trailer! "Empress of fashion" or what not!

"Both Emma, Lady Hamilton, and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, were prevented from being 'chic' by their faultless beauty."

...Oh...much better! I suppose if being gorgeous is the take home prize for not being chic, we can live with it. They made it work!

"Women with tall profiles and divine figures are rarely 'chic.' "
In that case we can assume
Grace Elliot never had a chance at being chic....
So what is your take on 'Chic'??


  1. i completely dis-agree with this!

  2. What a great find! Bess, I'm sure was seen as chic because she, borrowed all of Georgiana's clothes.

  3. O mon Dieu! That is a terrible portrait of Grace Elliot, she was English after all...

    de Brantigny

  4. Hmm...not sure about the beth being 'chic' idea...I tend to think that chic also has a little bit to do with personality and individuality- I don't view a person as 'chic' who always imitates others way of dress or sense of style. If tall, willowy people can't be chic, though, I guess I've got a chance! that's one piece of good news.

  5. Miss Chudleigh?! So chic can be wearing a tea towel and calling yourself Iphigenia? Hmmmm....

    Like katy t, I have a hard time with this definition. #1 seems reasonable, but I can't agree with the others. I guess I see chic as being stylishly smart. Not necessarily tied to trendiness or faddish whims--more how one wears clothes.

    And I'm laughing in the aisles at Heather's comment! (Not that I'm biased.)

  6. I don't think Antoinette is chic. Instead, in my opinion, she's HIP (not copying others).

    Meanwhile, Emma and Lady Hamilton are not chic and hip at all. They're really typical. For Grace Elliot, I have no idea.

  7. Your writing was a bit lazy here.