stylish/chic person

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, if you say someone is classy or elegant, I think it means not only their appearance but also their manner or behavior is graceful (if that's the right word).

What about stylish/chic? Do these words only apply to their appearance? For example, if your colleague John said "Kate is so stylish/chic", does it simply mean that John thinks Kate, his boss, wears stylish/chic clothes etc. and has stylish/chic items? Or is the way she speaks and does things also stylish/chic?
 
  • meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    What about if the verb were "look" instead of "is"?

    A: You have a new girlfriend? What's she like?
    B: She looks very stylish/chic.

    I don't think B's statement applies to the way she talks. But does it apply to the way she moves? (She walks stylishly?)
     

    reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I just don't think a young man (up to about age 35) would describe his "girlfriend" as "stylish".....even if he thinks she is. His friends would consider him "snobbish". I can see a 65 year old man describing his new girlfriend as "stylish".....but a 30 year old?...Not likely.

    Ditto with the word "chic". To begin with, few (if any) AE native speakers would know how to pronounce this word properly (it's actually a French import into English but pronounced à la mode française )..to wit, like (CHEEK but with the CH changed into SH so it comes out SHEEK)

    Next, AE speakers won't really know what it means. And thirdly, and most importantly, it's too close to the very common AE term "chick" which is a general term for "girl" with a slightly pejorative flavor to it. Were AE "guys" to hear the term "chic" they would most likely believe that you really meant "chick".

    I hope my comments will help viewing these 2 words in a wider context than usual.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I just don't think a young man (up to about age 35) would describe his "girlfriend" as "stylish".....even if he thinks she is. His friends would consider him "snobbish". I can see a 65 year old man describing his new girlfriend as "stylish".....but a 30 year old?...Not likely.[...]
    I feel this is more a reflection of social conventions than a comment about language.:)
     

    reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I feel this is more a reflection of social conventions than a comment about language.:)
    I think it's a little bit of both and.....totally appropriate to the OP's original question and to how the thread developed.
    After all, seldom can you fully describe a language or language point without commenting on how it relates to "society" or "culture". Almost all comments on this board reflect this idea, I believe. In fact, almost all posts on this thread do so if you really look at what they're saying.
     
    Last edited:

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I hope my comments will help viewing these 2 words in a wider context than usual.
    Thank you very much, reno33. They were extremely helpful.

    I can see a 65 year old man describing his new girlfriend as "stylish"
    So, when he says "She looks very stylish", could it mean that not only her clothes, makeup, hairstyle, etc. but also her manner (the way she behaves/moves) is stylish?
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    What about stylish/chic? Do these words only apply to their appearance?... Or is the way she speaks and does things also stylish/chic?
    In my opinion, if you were looking at a photograph of a woman and she looked stylish or chic, you would be commenting on her appearance - for example, her hair, face, clothes, shoes and, perhaps, her posture.

    If you were talking about someone you work with, it would be hard to ignore manner and way of talking. I think appearance, manner and way of talking would all affect whether you considered her stylish or not.

    You could, of course, make suitable contrasts, such as:

    Although she dresses in a stylish way, she speaks in a vulgar way, and is also quite clumsy when she tries to carry anything across the office.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think it's more about looks (meaning overall appearance) than anything. A lot of times it's specifically about clothes. If you have enough money, you can be chic.

    But that doesn't guarantee you'll be classy.
     
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