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C’est Chic? | Manolo for the Big Girl

C’est Chic?

The question, as posited by Linda Grant at The Thoughtful Dresser is, “[Is it] possible to dress stylishly, with chic and elegance at any size?” To which the answer, I maintain, is an emphatic yes, but here is the deeper question: can chic be acquired?

Post your thoughts!

I’ll be back tomorrow with some ideas, freshly inspired by British Vogue, on glamour and why you cannot be both very young and very glamorous.

9 Responses to “C’est Chic?”

  1. Roadhouse Rhoda November 27, 2007 at 5:09 pm #

    Hmm. It seems that so much of everyday style (particularly in an ‘urban style’ or ‘street wear’ sense) is defined by customisation, detailing, and the pairing of unusual elements. Wearing a $30 dollar H&M dress off the rack isn’t chic; but wearing that $30 dress with vintage Chanel tuxedo pants, a motheaten fur stole you picked up at a flea market in Paris and a pair of seagrass matting thongs (flip flops) you bought from a roadside cart in Cambodia is SO HIP, daahhhling. (I’m more or less quoting here from a stupid ‘urban style’ column that runs in my local Sunday paper.) And that kind of Rainman-esque cockeyed fashion genius can’t be bought or sold.

  2. Sara November 27, 2007 at 5:41 pm #

    I would say that chic can be acquired, but not just via purchasing the right things. One can buy a chic outfit, but to actually be chic is about owning and living your personal style, embracing who you are and expressing it. I’m not sure if everyone is capable of it, because some people truly don’t seem to be blessed with style, even when they try. Chic is equal parts attitude and style. Not everyone has the right attitude, thought I suppose they could cultivate it if they really wanted to become chic. Bit of a My Fair Lady thing…

  3. Esther November 27, 2007 at 7:03 pm #

    Nope. Can’t be done. I’ve tried, but put me in the same outfit as some gloriously chic person, and I still look like I just rolled out of bed. I think it’s genetic.

  4. TeleriB November 27, 2007 at 7:21 pm #

    Maybe not “chic,” but I at least aspire to “stylish.”

    I’m the poster “jamie” over at The Thoughtful Dresser. (I suppose I should get my TypePad and Blogger IDs coordinated.) I’m an engineer by trade, and like others of my tribe, have the innate fashion sense God gave a goat. Combine a private high school (when you wear uniforms, you don’t have to worry about dressing yourself), geek college (T-shirt and jeans were the New Uniform) and many years of graduate school (What real job?) and you have a twenty-seven-year old woman who has no idea how to apply foundation, can’t walk in heels, and doesn’t understand that turtlenecks turn short-waisted, large-chested women into giant torso-boobs.

    In the past four years, a helping of self-awareness, advice from friends and online sources like the Manolo and his new blogs (this one included) have raised my consciousness about how I dress. I still don’t fully have it ironed out (I can ramble at length at the challenges I have calibrating my work wardrobe as a female engineer) but I’m learning how to dress in ways that flatter me and suit my personal style.

    I still can’t walk in heels, but now it’s because I’ve made a personal decision that anything higher than 2″ just isn’t me, rather than because sneakers and jeans are the easy default option.

  5. Sue November 27, 2007 at 9:01 pm #

    TeleriB, I’m with you. Here’s my story:

    Six years in the Navy (denim uniforms), five years of graduate school in math (so I understand the geek school reference), and then twenty, count ’em, twenty years as a college professor. When you’re in math, that means that it’s a point of pride to dress like you’re homeless. I had a six year string of hiking shorts and T-shirts during that time. I found myself fifty years old, in a corporate job (finally, $$) with no idea on how to dress (and how to spend that $$). But after a year of watching people and studying blogs like this, I have actually been getting some compliments from my coworkers. So it’s possible.

    I do agree that it takes some confidence to let yourself come through, though. The posts about how the off the rack outfits go over speak to that.

  6. Fillyjonk November 28, 2007 at 12:06 pm #

    Don’t see how else people are going to see my awesome guns.

  7. Fillyjonk November 28, 2007 at 12:07 pm #

    I meant to put that in the “baring one’s fat arms, presumably with a decent bra on” post. How’s this internet thing work again?

  8. sara November 28, 2007 at 1:03 pm #

    I think so. I’d like to think I hit “chic” at least 50% of the time, and I grew up in a small farm town in midwest (home of the mullet and tight-rolled jeans).

  9. OCCaliAKA November 28, 2007 at 7:03 pm #

    I would say you can acquire it. I’m 43 and have worked at it pretty much since I was 18.