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On the Overuse of "Chic"

Amelia Diamond wrote about overusing "chic"  for manrepeller.com - peoplewhowrite

Amelia Diamond

Fashion writers, this one’s for you. I mean, us.

In a recent post on the addictive fashion blog ManRepeller.com, writer Amelia Diamond singles out the word “chic” and bemoans its convenient appropriateness, which as a result encourages lazy writing.

Diamond elaborates:

It’s frustrating as a writer when no other synonym will work as well as the lesser option. Sure there are words like elegant, stylish, smart, sophisticated, but none have the same effortless ability to tack themselves on to nouns and create a new adjective.

She gives an example: “That fall Céline coat is so cotton candy-chic.”

Diamond continues:

Adding chic to something doesn’t really mean anything either — in fact our overuse of the word renders it even more pointless, much like when you repeat “spoon” over and over until it seems completely wrong.

I am intrigued by the suggestions Diamond’s commenters shared to replace chic.

At the time of this writing, three people had offered “fetch” in place of chic.  I’ve never heard the term “fetch” used in this way before which is likely due to my age, and perhaps because of my age, I pray “fetch” does not “happen” as the three advocates threatened.

I accept the challenge commenter “alcessa” threw down of using a noun instead. But I won’t beat myself up. Having written style and fashion articles and copy for the last 13 years, I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve fallen back on chic. When it’s between staring at the screen for the 37th minute in contemplation of how to describe a pair of leggings in elevated terms, like commenter “Alejandra”, I’m giving in to chic.

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One response to “On the Overuse of "Chic"

  1. Pingback: On Writing Crutches | people who write

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