Chic is an element of fashion and the counterpart of posh.
In a fictional vignette for Punch (c. 1932) Mrs F. A. Kilpatrick attributed to a young woman who 70 years later would have been called a "chavette" the following assertion: "It 'asn't go no buttons neither ... That's the latest ideer. If you want to be chick you just 'ang on to it, it seems".
By contrast, in Anita Loos' novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925), the diarist Lorelei Lee recorded that "the French use the word 'sheik' for everything, while we only seem to use if for gentlemen when they seem to resemble Rudolf Valentino" (a pun derived from the latter's being the star of the 1921 silent film, The Sheik).
The Oxford Dictionary gives the comparative and superlative forms of chic as chicer and chicest. These are wholly English words: the French equivalents would be plus chic and le/la plus chic. Super-chic is sometimes used: "super-chic Incline bucket in mouth-blown, moulded glass".
An adverb chicly has also appeared: "Pamela Gross ... turned up chicly dressed down".
The use of the French très chic (very chic) by an English speaker – "Luckily it's très chic to be neurotic in New York – is usually rather pretentious, but sometimes merely facetious—Micky Dolenz of The Monkees described ironically the Indian-style suit he wore at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 as "très chic". Über-chic is roughly the mock-German equivalent: "Like his clubs, it's super-modern, über-chic, yet still comfortable".
The opposite of "chic" is unchic: "the then uncrowded, unchic little port of St Tropez".
In 2002 the Royal Horticultural Society introduced an award category of "chic garden" at its annual Chelsea Flower Show (first held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in 1913). The society anticipated that such gardens would display "modernity, innovation, imagination, controversy, stylishness and boldness", an assertion that the Times' gardening correspondent, Stephen Anderton, described as "buzzword heaven ... [T]hey could be wonderful or awful. I dare say some will be both, and I think we are guaranteed some fun here".
The first winner of this award was "Understanding", designed by Tamsin Partridge, a landscape gardener from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, which included a zig-zag path made of tyre treads and planting that featured purple cannas, phormiums and bronze grasses.
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