I have been thinking a lot lately about what it is to be chic. I should first of all try to clarify what I mean by chic, as you can interpret this word in many different ways. What I'm getting at, for want of a better expression, is that 'je ne sais quoi' that some people possess. It isn't present because of what they're wearing, although that certainly contributes to it, I think its something that you either have or don't have... something innate. I'm not sure you can even really quantify or define what makes someone chic but its easy to identify it visually and for me the person that most embodies what I'm trying to get at here is Sofia Coppola. In a simple shirt and jeans, wearing little make up she exudes chic. Another person that springs to mind is Audrey Hepburn, and not neccessarily in Breakfast at Tiffany's, but in photos I've seen of her she had such an inner radiance that shines out, and I think her style trancends time.
I've noticed over the years that regardless of my outfit, the makeup I've applied or the way I've styled my hair - there is always something lacking. I'm not trying to be negative here and I'm in no way looking for compliments or reassurance, I'm just being honest. The thing that sparked off this train of thought was observing a woman dressed in black cigarette pants, black ballet flats, a trench, leopard scarf and tan handbag. The elements were chic, but the whole ensemble seemed to me to be almost a caricature of chicness. She looked as if she had copied all the advice from a style guide imploring you to 'buy these and you will look chic' (I hope this doesn't come across as judgemental as I actually own a number of books like these and have made this mistake myself). I think I was just a little surprised to observe someone wearing such typically chic clothes but not actually looking chic. I think I always thought that if only I had the right clothes, that magic combination of items, that I would instantly look 'perfect'. I also naively thought that I could replicate a look I saw on someone else if I owned the same pieces, but you could put two people in the exact same outfit and it would work on one person and not on the other.
In some ways it is quite freeing to realise that maybe its something you either have or don't have, that maybe I have been striving for something which will never be attainable? Or maybe its to do with confidence and attitude, feeling at ease, being comfortable in your own skin?
I'm not sure that I'm making myself clear here, but the point that I'm trying to make was summed up so much more eloquently in this blog post if you're interested in reading. I'm pretty sure everyone has their own version of what chic means to them, I'd be very interested to hear whether you agree that being chic is something innate that you are born with - or if you think it can be achieved through your external appearance ie. clothes etc?