ColumnWhat defines the new chic? Grit and glimmer in conscious measure.
Over dinner recently, a colleague and I abandoned a hot and heavy discussion about the political zeitgeist for something decidedly more dessert-appropriate: women. The End of Men, the death of the the Death of Marriage myth, Lady Gaga, gay marriage, the endless debates about women getting funded in Silicon Valley – XX as cultural object is too hot to handle right now, but it’s less What Women Want and more What Women Are (and fools who confuse the two shall soon be parted from their money). If Superwoman is mercifully out, so is Single Girl. Women no longer fit into neat boxes, if they ever did: Wife. Mother. Career Woman. Bohemian. Twentysomething. Fortysomething. Old. Nope. Not your .xls, not your funnel, not your category. An extremely palpable swirl of chutzpah and quirk, charm and cojones, rock solid and rock star? Yep. And just in time. “It’s like there’s a new chic going on,” started my creme brulee compadre.
“She’s cool like confident.”
“She’s not afraid to say she wants a relationship.”
“But only if she wants one. Which she might not.” This, with a wink.
“She thinks ‘feminist’ is a pretty word.”
“Aw. Because it is.”
How to spot The New Chic? It’s motorcycle boots in your minivan. It’s courage, it’s eschewing Christmas if you feel like it, it’s not being afraid to be less liked and more respected, it’s borrowing the best traits from the boys and making us all more human in the process.
The New Chic means dropping the fear of fat. Bring on the butter. It’s good for your brain.
The New Chic likes girls, or boys, or both, and sometimes out of order, and don’t worry so much about it.
It’s breaking rules in accordance with her limits, which she knows intimately.
It’s leading the conversation in mixed company; something that can still stun a man. Try it, it’s fun!
Also? The New Chic doesn’t consider singledom a thorny brambles of broken GPS on the proper path to the soul’s completion, formerly known as a wedding day.
“This could go on all night!”
The New Chic often does.
The New Chic doesn’t go gaga over babies by default; in fact, she may not even notice them.
Did you hear? She brags and delivers.
She tells The Nagging Voice to fuck off so fast it scurries.
You’ll never catch her judging another woman with her eyes in group company.
She hasn’t done it all. She hasn’t seen it all. She isn’t everything and everyone.
She might have a hot pink stripe in her hair. Over 40? She still wears it long.
The New Chic is a forever fan of chivalry and that means: she extends it to others including and especially men.
Fact: a good thick moisturizer beats caking on the foundation any day.
The New Chic means walking out the door looking good; not made up, good.
She wouldn’t be caught dead in fast fashion.
She can drive a stick shift but prefers to bike in her heels instead. Because she wears heels. Sneakers. Are. For. Running.
She doesn’t prefer to text with the men she sees.
She is scrupulously honest because it just feels wonderful.
She is on time, every time.
She blurs the lines and doesn’t look back because she has nothing to hide on Facebook.
Two words: black coffee.
The New Chic does not drink Diet Coke. Does not diet (exception: the three hours before a date).
You can spot her because she stands up straight, sucks in her tummy tight, squares her shoulders and doesn’t pad the living daylights out of her nipples.
To err is human, to never brush your teeth in front of him, divine.
The New Chic is loving what you own to the greatest degree but letting it all go just as readily. Think of it as If the Buddha Consumed (and hey, he did). Example: A friend’s grandmother, who is something like a bonus grandma to me, has built a vast fortune in her life, and she has the personal drapery of diamonds to prove it. I’m talking the kind so big, they slide to the sides of her fingers whether she wants them to or not. Not bad for a girl from Oklahoma whose first crib was a drawer. “We never have insured these old things,” she drawled to me over brunch one cold Dallas day. “If a piece gets lost or stolen: eh, so what? I’ve enjoyed it.”
On that note: celebrates old people.
It’s being inspired by men rather than finding them merely useful. (We are all going to be better off for that one.)
It’s having the courage to build towards the best.
The New Chic has better things to do and hires people to help.
The most timely thing about The New Chic, though, is the sheer fun of it.
This is the latest installment in your editor’s column, The Insider’s Guide to Life.