Sunday, 5 October 2014

The word "Chic" has officially been mis and overused

My own disco song that always gets me to the dance floor was the song Le Freak by the group Chic.


I loved saying the word "chic" as a little girl and 
 judging by social media and numerous titles in journalism, 
I am not the only who has a soft spot for this word.

But through no fault of its own and albeit fine in principle,
 like Beyonce it really is time to take a break and 
recuperate from overexposure. 

It is so easy to be guilty of it. 
The word is monosyllabic;
starts with a soft linguistic diagraph and ends with a crisp consonant. 
It also has the bonus of being a French word that no hardened Parisian would bother correcting our pronunciation when said.

However, things came to a head for me this past week when the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire had her funeral and the processions made the various rounds on all news outlets.


I am a small blog so doubt this will be read by those very people but nevertheless out of politesse I shall not name and shame those very "tastemakers" and "style shapers" who were hashtagging and describing her coffin consistently with the adjective

 #chic 

Some things are just meant to be inside one's own head or discussed with family at dinner reminding relatives not to mention this in outside company.  Of course, one can add that the casket was beautiful and befitting but chic? 

Guess what folks now there are whole other levels in which you and your taste levels will be judged and measured.  
So add caskets and funerals to the already long list of clothes, home decor, jewellery, car and other manners of comportment. 

Unless you die while taking your last breath of air scented with bio-dynamic roses in a vase that has been in your family for a thousand years while drinking a gin and dubonnet mixed by your newly hired butler who used to serve the very same drink to the late Queen Mother while landing on your country estate on your private plane with your hand carved, environmentally friendly casket designed by Fendi ready and waiting for you at your private chapel
 then you just ain't doing it right.

#mannersandtruetasteisnotratingburialmethods

#justsayitwasabeautifulservice

#notusingthewordchictil2015

#yesiamback

69 comments:

  1. Yay! Welcome back, and such a good return blog post.
    I didn't follow the whole funeral (was somewhere that has no phone service, yes, in this day and age!!), but I did see someone write "chicest coffin ever" on an instagram picture of Debo on someone else's insta feed this past week and was quite shocked. You just don't put those two words together (or rather, three).
    Completely overused. I did like her casket, but really…. there are ways of expressing it rather than writing ridiculous hashtags over these things.
    As for your Fendi casket idea, well, I wouldn't put it past them. I was quite horrified when I first rounded a corner in Harrods and saw the Fendi sofas on the furniture floor. Awful. Who needs a giant logo on their sofa? Suspect it's only a matter of time before Karl puts a Chanel logo on one too….

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    1. no phone service!!! I saw you were in the outback aka fifth dimension eh?

      Yes - way too many - chicest way to go / I die for it LOL / classiest coffin ever business was driving me up the wall!!!

      Crazy thing is I think that just might be next is this untapped market. Karl has been going a little crazy with his bags and shoes lately - Someone needs to tell him to calm down a little no? Did you see his tweed sneaker boot!

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    2. no I did not… but if it matches that heinous coat-bag then I'm sure it will be a hit!
      Classiest coffin?? Oh my word. That's my least favourite word in the English language I think!

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    3. me too it is one of my leaset fave words too - classy just isn't although I do use it in an ironic joisey way at times.

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  2. That last paragraph was a gem! I'm grinning away here, I hadn't seen her coffin, it's beautifully simple, the heavy wooden ones give me the willies.

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    1. It seems a coffin widely used in the UK lately which was also endorsed by the humanist movement for natural burials apparently.

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    2. I agree with Badinage. I hate the over-adorned wooden ones. I have never seen a basketweave coffin before and thought this was so beautiful , it's what I want. I "googled" it. Not available in Australia, I think. I may have to take up basket weaving so I can make my own....
      Linda C.
      Linda C.

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    3. overadorned ones really are the existential version of all dressed up with no where to go no?! Yes I think those caskets are available through the humanistic society or associations.

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  3. Love this! I was thinking of Chic in a few days ago (the band not the word) and would so be on the dance floor with you! I think the casket is lovely, but agree on the overuse if chic. I'd ban it from my own vocabulary, but I don't use it much and frankly, I always automatically do whatever it is I via not to do! :-)

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    1. I think it was a way of just expressing like and being complimentary as in you are not a fashion follower but you have made it your own etc. I must widen my vocab repertoire!

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  4. Well done Naomi now let's hope this 'break' Beyonce is taking is at least 5 years.

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  5. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a wicker casket until I saw these photos.

    Have nothing else to add. x

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    1. It's the eco thing and apparently American toffs like wicker bc as Babe paley once said - it takes generations to understand wicker or something as flippant as that! x

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    2. It was Marella Agnelli who once commented about a particularly annoying parvenue that it would take her a generation to understand wicker.

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    3. Thanks Anon - I knew it was a swan who said something!

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  6. Hunter made my coffin many years ago...was suppose to be a hope chest. I got rid of it, just didn't trust him. Anyway, her coffin looks like a basket to me. Sorry, just don't see anything wonderful about it. Trust me, chic is NOT over used here in East Tennessee...other words like trashy are often heard.

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    1. But how does one get rid of a coffin? Do tell! I like the South and how they use a lot of metaphors rather than just an adjective. So descriptive and never a dull conversation!

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    2. The whole story is quite funny especially the part where he almost denutted (another local word) himself trying to make it. Shall tell when I eventually get to London or we meet up in Charleston or New Orleans one day.

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    3. I can't wait to hear all about it hopefully in the states ;)))

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  7. So good you're back Naomi!
    My first feeling when I saw your picture of the coffin was sadness. As a Mitford tragic and a great admirer of the only surviving sister - it really is the end of an era. Her life and works, including her books, demonstrate her courage, perseverance, down to earth common sense, charm and humour. My second thought was how like her it was to have chosen a basketry coffin and how beautiful it looks with all the flowers.
    Can imagine she's probably now joking with her sisters about all the trendy catchphrases people are using about her coffin. She came up with so many whimsical turns of phrase herself and nicknames for the people who passed through her life. Loved the way she always referred to the Queen Mum as Cake. I'm sure she'd be amused by all of this and would be teasing her sisters - with Nancy teasing right on back. Vale Debo. Pammie x

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    1. Good to be back to normal life too! Vale Devo indeed. Her passing was definitely one of those that mark time and not just a person...Her life would have made such a great miniseries and I think with the passing of the last Mitford sister I think the time might have come to make a movie or a series about this bunch that makes history more interesting to those who think they would never be interested? x

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    2. Agree, hope someone has the same thought and is already beavering away on a script! Their extraordinary, controversial, diverse lives would make several mini-series, hopefully in the UK. In addition, just think of the huge network of the good and bad they were connected to, history as you say: the Churchill and Kennedy families, Hitler and his followers, Mosley, Evelyn Waugh, Cecil Beaton, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Guinnesses, Paddy Leigh Fermor, the British Royal family, Harold Acton, Diana and Duff Cooper, Graham Greene etc etc.
      Fingers crossed it will happen soon and be well done! Pammie x

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  8. A wicker casket indeed!

    I don't use the word chic often, if at all. I prefer to be more descriptive.

    We missed you xx

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    1. I read blogs during my jetlag in Asia so I kept up :) but good to be back xx

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  9. Whew! Although I wrote about the funeral, I never used the word chic. I try not to. And I never use the word classy. In my house, we say Klassy with a K, just so you know that we're being very sarcastic.

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    1. I thought your post about her was very respectful but I don't understand why everything has to be a barometer of taste!? Classy reminds me of the show Sopranos.

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    2. Funnily, I just read this article in the Washington Post. One of the people who had a "green burial" was Diana McClellan, who was a legendary DC gossip columnist.

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  10. Welcome back! Agree, the c word should never be used to describe a coffin. Will be boycotting the word in protest.

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    1. Yes might as well join some sort of revolt - i have been feeling very left out in the world's recent turmoil.

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  11. It is an overused word isn't it. And yes, caskets are not really something that need to be judged for style (she was chic until almost the end and then messed it up with the burled wood box, egads!)

    Glad to see your funny self back in blogland!

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    1. i know right!? come on now. PS I can't wait to read your book!!

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  12. It is so wonderful to have you back I can't even tell you! And such an excellent post too, I just loved it and your hilarious hashtags, Naomi you are sooo funny.
    I'm with you, done with the word chic for at least several months.

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    1. It feels good to be back to normal life oddly enough! I don't know about funny but I was just venting really hehe

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  13. Wow lots of great words in this post. Chic is one of those words that sound lame when spoken these days so to place it in front of the word casket is getting pretty seriously lame!!

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  14. Ha! Love your hashtags, what a great way to come back;).

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  15. I think we should all just say no to perishing. Immortality is the chicest thing.

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    1. Ha! Let me know when this immortality thing kicks in because I will be buying share at estee lauder then!

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  16. Welcome back, Naomi!! I loved your Instagram pics of your travels! I agree, why on earth would anyone describe a funeral or coffin as 'chic'??? Definitely not appropriate!

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    1. Thanks Louise - I stopped after while with IG bc every garden looked vaguely similar somehow! But loving your NY IG pics :)

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  17. You're back! I'm happy! In a few hours we'll be on the Chunnel to Paris, I plan to sleep on the train. Travelling the chic way, as one does.

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    1. Please put some pics on IG - it is blogging lite!

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  18. Loving this post!!! Thank you. It was great to follow your travel on Instagram... Take Care.

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  19. Yay! Glad you're back!
    Very odd to describe a coffin as chic.
    I like a plain, wooden coffin myself, I though my father's was fine.
    Would love to get on down to Chic with you on the dance floor!

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    1. Odd indeed. I bet you are a mover snd shaker!!

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  20. Yikes! and eeeek........I have been known to use the word chic, and very recently, but it's usually to address someone's outfit or accessory or even a hairdo, but a coffin.........that's a little strange, almost distasteful!

    Can always trust you to come back with a #bang xx

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    1. Yes it seems we have arrived at all new levels of judging - and this is coming from a rather judgemental girl too hehe!! xx

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  21. I somehow dont think The late Dowager D of D would use chic in any connection to herself.

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  22. "Lord love a duck" ( as Michael Leunig does :) ) , how can a coffin be chic? Speaking of common parlance, I was amused to be called Darling or Darl in Cairns. In Christchurch, the expression is 'love'. "Will that be all, love? ". In Cairns, 'How are you, darl?".

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    1. I love Darl - i love how Australian it is and it is so unique to the country! I thought it was doll for the longest time but even that is ok by me! PS my comments arent going through on wordpress blogs - yours being one of them - it is sooo annoying - would you mind chekcing mine aren't going to spam? thanks

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    2. I did find a few of your comments in Spam and fished them out.

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  23. I just love you for writing this post. I have been guilty of using the word chic (though only in writing and never that often), but I would never use it to describe someone's casket/funeral arrangements. How tacky! Great post. XO, Jill

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    1. I use chic when I want to convey someone is fashionable without being a lemming but I will rest it so that the word has more gravitas when used :) x

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  24. Missed your posts! Welcome back! I felt pretty disgusted that people would comment on a casket like that. Seems so disrespectful to the person who died and those grieving. Why not comment on the person themselves and how sad it is they are no longer alive? The quality of the casket is just so meaningless compared to the emotional vacuum felt when someone you know passes away. Sometimes I feel that moments that may have in the past, been private, are now so horribly public through the likes of phones that can post pictures in an instant - available for anyone to comment and make judgement on. It doesn't seem right.

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  25. Ps. I forgot to comment on "chic"! Don't hear it much on these shores....probably the lack of French influence/inability for Aussies to pronounce anything vaguely foreign. That, and I just don't hang out with the fashion crowd! My favourite word as mentioned by another poster is "klassy" hehe. I love "bling" so I even refer to myself as "klassy"!

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    1. I think eventually klassy will make another comeback!

      PS you won my just once mentioned giveaway so please could you email me on couldashouldawoulda9@gmail.com with an address where I could send something? Many thanks!

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    2. Oh wow, I've won something?! Thank you! I've never won anything before!!! :D what a lovely surprise to read after a challenging week! I shall drop you an email :)

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  26. 'Chic' pronounced 'chick' used to be a regular in my last office. it was slightly ironic, indicating a lot of self conscious effort. Quite the reverse of Debo's send off, the casket is beautiful and so much less imposing than the regular variety, it's not right to 'judge' funerals, but anything different will always invite comment. Glad you are back and need some magazine posts, too mean to buy Porter, so a nice long review would be fab if it's a regular!

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    1. yes - chick is as good as klassy! I love Porter but there is a long queue of posts in the draft box so will try and whip up something :)

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    2. Seem to remember way back a dress shop named the Chic Salon, pronounced Chick Salon! Might have been on something like the ancient Oz Mavis Bramston TV show, which most people won't remember, or will be too young to have watched. But always worth a giggle.

      Do use the term (with French pron.) when seems appropriate, but will now be very shy about it. Almost certainly it would have been very non-U, though Nancy may have used it in Paris when speaking French. She seems to have had a wondrous wardrobe, the New Look and all - and was greatly embarrassed when her sisters turned up in English gear wearing white scarves. Believe the comical delightful Northey in "Don't Tell Alfred" was modelled on Debo when young. Best wishes, Pammie

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    3. Did you see one of the interviews when describing u and non u in pronouncing "oh". U was one syllable but uu

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    4. But upper u was two syllables! Makes me laugh

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    5. No, didn't see! More's the pity. Would have been hilarious. But am very confused about pronunciation you describe?
      Have Nancy's book on U and non-U, all her books really, I think. In the few interviews I've seen their original accent was really quite extraordinary, believe Debo is supposed to have adapted with time to more normal speak. But also remember old English friends who spoke perhaps rather like, eg Henry was pronounced Hen-rare. They had learned to say Oztralia though, not Orsetralia. Even the Queen has learned at last too. Pammie

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  27. Wowsers you are so right about this one Naomi. These hash taggers annoy me sometimes. People have some decorum and let's not judge such things. She was a lovely woman. Ugh. xx Kim

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    1. I just found it interesting that they were just so public about it and yet those very same people are quick to yay or nay things...But she of all people would not have appreciated those comments! x

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