My New Understanding Of What It Really Means To Be Chic

“person wearing blue leather gloves with watch” by Joshua Reddekopp on Unsplash
“There are two complementary parts to chic in a man. One is based on character; the other is related to his clothes” — Umit Benan.

Like many of you, my definition of chic was solely based on the way a person dressed.

But, after reading a Vogue Hommes magazine in which several designers were interviewed, my perception of what chic was changed.

I had learned that being a chic man did not just pertain to the clothes he wore but that chic also had to do with his character.

In essence being chic is to have a personal style; something that some are constantly in search of but can’t quite seem to get a hold of it.

The good news, it isn’t out of reach. It doesn’t have a price tag nor does it only being to a high class. Chic is something the average man can attain.

Chic belongs to the old. Chic belongs to the young. Chic belongs to the filthy rich one percent and the dirt poor college undergrads and even post grads.

Chic is something we all can be, and I’m here writing this article to show you how.

Chic in the way you act

“An effortless style. But it’s not about what you’re wearing, it’s how you hold yourself and how you behave; it’s about style in everything you do…Chic is a way of being” — Ben Cobb

Chic is not just about clothes but about character. It’s about your whole being as a person.

Being elegant or sophisticated (the definitions of chic) aren’t adjectives placed on clothing. They are meant to describe the person wearing them. So how can the clothes be elegant or sophisticated if the person wearing them is not?

To be chic first begins with character.

Tom Ford said something that really got me thinking;

“Chic is how you treat people”

Really?

Yes, part of our character depends on how we interact with others. You can’t say you’re a gentleman if you never give up your seat for a lady. You can’t say you're a nice person if most people consider you to be mean.

If someone were to be asked about you how would they describe you? Could they say you treat others well and that you behave with class?

This is not to say that we need any type of special validation to be chic. However, how are we to know this to be true if we don’t test its credibility with others?

Follow the golden rule; treat others the way you would want them to treat you. If you do this you will be chic by the way you act.

Chic is how you dress

“Chic is about being just a little bit discreet. Wearing things that don’t shout out their value. It’s about being slightly more absent than what we see. To be chic, you cannot be completely of the times. You have to be of yesterday or tomorrow. — Oliver Saillard

A truly chic man isn’t only that in character but in his style of dress.

It should be subtle yet stylish. No garment should stand out so much as if it were calling out for attention.

Wearing clothing that is saturated with logos or sporting jewelry that is encrusted with too many diamonds is not the definition of a chic man.

This is not effortless, it’s not sophisticated, and it’s not elegant. It’s is a flashy show of wealth or status in an attempt to impress people.

Chic also isn’t something that falls in line with present-day trends. A chic man never pays attention to what everyone else is wearing. He doesn’t keep up with seasonal trends but instead stays consistent with his garments.

In fact, he doesn’t even worry about his own clothing. The thought put into what he is going to wear and how to wear it is minimal.

“Mr. [Gianni] Angelli didn’t spend his days thinking about what he was going to wear…He thought only about being comfortable” — Ben Cobb

If you want to be chic your style should be effortless. Don’t worry about what you have on.

Be Your Own Person

“Chic is timeless, beyond fashion, with a little something of the past. It’s an attitude. It’s the art of matching things that don’t necessarily go together. In an ultrapersonal way. It’s making the incoherent coherent. It’s being your own person” — Anthony Vaccarello

Don’t be a copycat, the only person you can be is yourself. When you play the imitation the best you can be is second because the original has already been made.

Too many people are trying to recreate a style in hopes of making it their own. But once we begin to copy something it now becomes a trend and like the seasons it only sticks around for a couple months and eventually fades away.

This isn’t chic.

Chic is not something you can purchase it with a mink coat. It doesn’t come included it ticket pocket of your bespoke suit. And it you won’t find it hanging in in Saks Fifth Avenue with a 30% off tag.

Why?

Because it can’t be manufactured.

It’s not obvious. You won’t see a man with flashing lights above his head that suggest that he is in fact chic.

Instead, you will find that a chic man is one who creates his own personal style by mixing and matching the conventional with the unconventional.

Getting dressed comes easy for him. There is no pressure when deciding what to wear because he doesn’t think about the opinions of others. He dresses for himself in his own unique way.

He is his own person and his clothes reflect that. Instead of keeping up with trends he makes sure that everything he buys is a direct reflection of who he is. And he is never concerned with what others may think.

Chic: Personal Case Study

I demonstrate my chic, first and foremost, with my lifestyle and how I interact with others.

I make it a point to do everything with class and high quality. I’m never trying to cut corners or do anything half-way.

I try to live a life of elegance in that I do things gracefully in a stylish way but with minimal effort.

The same goes for how I treat people. I always try to give people proper respect as if they are an important person.

I’m always looking to have intellectual conversations with people and understand their worldviews. I listen to what they have to say always giving my full attention.

The way I dress is similar; elegant, graceful.

My style is one of a tailored man and blazers are my sartorial preference.

Its versatility is amazing. It has the ability to be worn it with trousers and loafers or jeans and boots without sacrificing its sophistication.

My appreciation for traditional tailoring runs deep but I like to incorporate modern pieces into my wardrobe in an attempt to combine the old with the new.

One thing I don’t do is dress for other people. I don’t let other people’s opinions dictate what I put on my body. Instead, I learn from them.I could care less about what someone has to say about what I wear.

I understand by their response what they like and what they don’t like.

But never do I dress for approval or contemplate what to wear stressing over if it would be “appropriate”. I try not to think about what I’m wearing too much because doing this would be forcing my style.

I’d much rather it as natural and as smooth as possible without too much care.

Parting Thoughts

Remember chic is not out of reach. It is something even the average man can be.

If you really want to be a chic man, first focus on your character. Your way of being and how you treat others will be the determining factor of your chicness. Then, let your wardrobe reflect this. A man who is chic not only does so in the way he behaves but in the way he dresses as well.

Chic should be effortless and should come off almost naturally in behavior and dress.

Most importantly don’t worry about what people will think; be your own person and make sure your garments reflects this.

Everything you do, everything you buy is a direct correlation to who you are as a person. But it is your decision as to whether that person you is chic, or not.