Panache is a word of French origin which refers to a flamboyant or spirited display. It is generally associated with a rather grand setting, and it can also be used an adjective to describe particularly dashing or elegant individuals. A similar word is élan, another word of French origin that is used to describe great enthusiasm and vigor.
This word is derived from the Old French pennache, which refers to a plume of feathers. A panache was originally a tuft of feathers worn in a helmet or hat, and the image became iconic thanks to French king Henri IV, who ordered his troops to follow his panache into battle. Henri IV was famous for being spirited, bold, and courageous, and over time, the word came to be associated more generally with the spirit of Henry IV, rather than a feather plume.
The idea was popularized in the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac, in which the lead character embodies the spirit of panache. He is portrayed as extremely bold, generous, carefree, and spirited, with a courteous manner and a tendency for dramatic gestures. The popularization of the play in France led to the establishment of this quality as a respected virtue, and with the translation of the play, the idea was introduced to the rest of the world.
Someone who demonstrates panache is often stylish and well mannered, in addition to being flamboyant, and the trait of courage is also associated with this quality. The term is often used to describe people who can handle a wide variety of situations with grace and aplomb, drawing on their reserves of courage and common sense to see their way out of difficulties that may seem insurmountable. Such a person is equally at home at an exclusive dinner party as he or she is in a hostage situation. This person also often can't resist making a bit of a display, whether in the form of turning heads with a daring gown, or excelling at sports.
In many cultures, some form of panache is considered to be a valuable trait in both men and women, and people may aspire to have it at some point in their lives. One could argue that this quality is simply something someone is born with, rather than something which can be made, although people are certainly welcome to try. At the very least, being well mannered and fearless can go a long way.