‘Bien Dans Sa Peau’… Part 2

May 27, 2009

 

I think we all agree that the woman who is ‘bien dans sa peau’ is the woman that we would all like to be.

 

What simple steps can we take to enhance our beauty?
How can we not only feel like a French girl but look like one too?
I am not talking about miracles but small things that make us not only look better but feel better.

 

I would like to clarify that I am no style expert but I have always had a love of fashion and an interest in beauty and even more than that, I am a keen observer.

 

I have watched and watched those women in Paris – in the cafes, on the streets, in the boutiques and the department stores.
I have had long discussions with French girlfriends about fashion, about style and about beauty.
Over many years I have come to my own conclusions when it comes to French women and how they dress.

 

I think to dress like a French girl is all about simplicity.

 

The women dress elegantly and simply with a focus on what suits them rather than what is in fashion.
Fabrics tends to be plain in colour and dressing ‘appropriately’ for one’s age takes a backseat when both the cut and the cloth are simple and elegant.

 

A women of 60 can be beautiful in a simple white shirt and black trousers as can a young girl of 20 – they will each personalise the outfit but the basics can be much the same.
I have noticed French women wear a great deal of black and white – maybe the whole Chanel thing is burned into their subconscious from an early age.

 

Colour is often introduced by way of accessory and this is where personality comes in – an individual handbag or fabulous of the moment shoes.
Jewellery serves the same purpose in identifying personal style and the French girl follows the ‘less is more’ approach (except when it comes to pearls).
And eyewear – French women wear the latest in sun shades and reading glasses; no old lady eyeglasses for them whatever the prescription.

 

One day in Paris I was walking behind a woman and at the same time trying to take in what she was wearing and how she had put together her outfit. I don’t remember her age but I do remember what she was wearing – all black coat buttoned up, black suede three-quarter boots and a purple handbag hanging over her shoulder.
It was the flash of purple quilting that caught my eye and her black lace tights peeping out over the top of her boots. There was nothing avant garde about her black coat but the unpredictability of the purple and the sexiness of the tights gave her that edge. The other thing that I noticed was her gorgeous hair…

 

French women have good hair.
By good hair I mean well cut and well groomed. The length and colour are secondary when it comes to cutting. I am always amazed how many hairdressers there are in France, in every arrondissement in Paris and in every village in the countryside – hair is a number one priority. I think French women favour geometrical cuts and the sleek look; layers are straighter – chunkier – and have that ‘I just got out of bed look’. Coloured hair seems to be less obvious in Paris and more natural in application. (I am not talking about the south now as hair colour takes an entirely different direction down here and not an example to follow…) But colour is not obligatory and grey is not a dirty word  - I have seen many a grey headed woman in Paris looking beautiful because her hair is expertly cut and well groomed. For the French hair is about the individual woman not about her age and the care and maintenance of hair is routine – not a cure to be taken once or twice a year. I have learned this from French women – look after the hair and the rest will follow.

 

What about make up, beauty treatments and shots (as one adorable reader called them, Vitamin B – B for Botox)? Like the hair, French make -up is all about looking natural and looking natural starts with good skin. Skin care is a huge part of the French beauty routine and along with the hairdresser and the lingerie shop, the beauty therapist is the next most popular shop and stop in every corner of France. Skin care works only if it is regular and that is where French women are particular and disciplined – regular appointments and follow up at home – not a ‘once a year treatment day at the Spa because someone has given you a gift voucher’ approach. Good skin means no sun, glowing skin takes time and effort and most importantly the effects are cumulative – neglected skin is a hard act to reverse. And as for dry and flaky skin, rough elbows, unpolished toenails or unkept fingernails ….quel horreur.

 

French girls appear to wear little or no make up (that is the secret to their beauty, ‘le no make-up look’) but I know this is not true. French women love to wear make up and this is evident by the amount of pharmacies and department stores loaded up with maquillage. Again it is all about simplicity – never too much of anything, just enough to enhance what nature has provided. A couple of rules: Lots of eye make-up with a light coloured lipstick and the reverse when wearing red or dark lipstick – very little eye make-up. Simple and obvious guidelines that work for every woman. Red lips are by far the easiest and quickest French beauty tip to emulate but the one that packs the most punch.

 

As for the shots…believe me, French women have them but not to the same degree of paralysis that has become popular in other parts of the world. I don’t think for a minute that they are not freezing and plumping their faces but the difference is that they are maintaining their looks not re-inventing them. A quest for youth is a dangerous pursuit because it leads only to disappointment and disillusionment; looking after what nature gave us and safeguarding it for the future is a more sensible and achievable way of facing our maturity.

 

French women tend to be slight and rigorously look after their weight – I am often heard say, ‘real French girls don’t eat croissants’ and I think this is true to a degree. I have noticed that French women eat very small portions of everything and do not snack. This is the key; portion control and moderation when it comes to food. French women not only watch their weight but look after their posture – exercise like everything else is moderate but regular. French women know that a slim and well aligned body is one of the best anti-aging secrets of all.

 

Do I follow all these observations of mine? The answer is I try my best and some things are easier done than others. As I have aged I realize the value of sleep – nothing rejuvenates like a good eight hours – and water; two litres a day without fail.

 

How to dress like a French girl? Follow their lead – make time and keep it simple. xv

 

Bien Dans Sa Peau

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100 Comments

  • Simone says:

    This was such a good read….loved Part 1 and Part 2 was just as good! I love reading about French women and how they look after themselves – we all know they do it well, that’s why we are so fascinated!
    Great writing….thank you!
    Simone :)

  • Truly the best post I have read in a VERY long time. I think that you have said it so well, and I love that sense of self-love and acceptance. You have done quite a service to women my friend~
    xo

  • Fantastic post! I’m going to go read Part 1 now. You write beautifully. Oh, the finesse of a French woman. It looks so effortlessly, but I think I snack way too much, etc. etc!

  • Margarita says:

    Thank you for this post. I too adore the Parisian woman’s style, look, and their je ne sais quoi. I agree with all these statements. I would also like to add that they are trendy as well, but when they pick up a new piece, it looks like it has belonged to them always. It always fits them and never looks out of place – example: last time in Paris a girl was wearing these incredibly crazy boots with fringes and dots (I believe they were Gucci) but they looked like they were made just for her. A friend of mine back in Toronto has a similar pair and when she wears them it always looks like she’s trying a little too hard or something… merci xoxo

  • Jan says:

    Great post Vicki – I suppose I could dump my Italian hairdresser – but that requires bravery I don’t possess. I’m definitely going to have to work on the sleep/water intake though.
    :)

  • What timing you have Vicki! I’ve been thinking about hiring a personal stylist because while I can design a room to look lovely, somehow I always fall short with my own personal style. I think a big reason is because I don’t have much time to shop for clothing/jewelry, etc. Too busy making others homes beautiful! :)

  • Helen says:

    Dear Vicki,

    This is a post I want my 16-year old granddaughter to read ~ and follow.

    With two years of French under her belt, she is looking forward to a visit one day ……..

    If I had lived the French way of life I might not have ended up with the pesky little skin cancers I’ve had! Way too much sun.

  • I think you have the subject for your next book Vicki……you would do it so glamourous! XO

  • Miss Kris says:

    Hi Vicki~

    What a GREAT read! I so agree with you…she is a woman I would like to be! I did a print of this lovely article and plan to re-read over and over again…perhaps my effort will look effortless…I can hope! Only if I could learn to live with my grays…I have had them since I was nineteen…So haircolour has been a very dear friend of mine.

    Thank you Vicki…great lessons!
    ~Miss Kris~

  • Another ‘Couldn’t put it down’ post from French Essence! Great to get the real lowdown from someone in the know. My grandmother was French and always elegant. I love the subtle side of beauty. Makes one look even closer. Maybe that’s why we are all so intrigued. A lovely week to you, Vicki.
    Catherine

  • Marie says:

    Hi Vicki- Thanks so much for sharing “le secret” beauty tips ala francaise! J’adore both posts and I agree with you 100% about the importance of self-confidence.
    Merci Madame!
    -marie

  • Debra says:

    Wonderful Vicki! Thank you for a little reminder that it is through our outlook and keeping things simple that beauty will surface. Such a thoutful post.

  • la la Lovely says:

    Love this post and insight. I am a bit of beauty product junkie so it’s fun to read about other parts of the world. I have to say I was very taken with all of the French pharmacies when I was in Paris. So many amazing products.
    I finally did a little post today and hoping to, somewhat, get back to normal. :-)
    Have a lovely week!
    xx Trina

  • i think audrey tatou is just gorgeous!

  • Every word a jewel, dear Vicki -

    just stick to the basics: good hair, skin, grooming AND know that your best accessory is a slender body, with a certain vitality at the essence of your being.

    Sadly, recent years have found my portions getting smaller & smaller and my body getting larger & larger.
    No fair! How do those french girls deal with all the glorious pastries??

    What I considered appropriately slim in my 30's & 40's , is a recipe for osteoporosis in my 50's and beyond … .

    Aging often brings difficult choices ;-)

    Jjjj

  • FrenchBlue says:

    Thank you for sharing all of this with us! It sounds very classic and back to basics. Something we all tend to water down here in the U.S. I believe it is a balance of body, mind and spirit that keeps us beautiful…no lacking in either catagory.
    xox’s

  • Beautiful post!
    A good habit at a time and the bad ones soon fall off. That has paid off and still is, for me.

  • Kelli says:

    Another great post Vicki!
    Great reminders to live by!

  • jlc says:

    So true!!! More of the cut than the length! And more of what suits them than what’s “in” at the time!

    Great read!!

  • Love this post Vicki! it seems to me you really extracted the essence of Frenchitude…the importance of the little detail
    :-)
    When i was a student in the States, my room mates would make fun of me because i’d still wear string of pearls with my dungarees. “You’re so French” they’d say !

    I loved how Yves Saint-Laurent described a happy woman: a woman dressed in black, smiling and walking side by side with the man she loves.

    you know..for me..croissants are also an “accessoire de beauté” !
    :-)

  • Simply Mel says:

    French women are the essence of femininity – chic, classic and sensuous. A great post written with true eloquence sharing simple tips every woman can use to feel great about themselves.

  • Kasey says:

    fabulous, fabulous post!!!

  • Excellent advice for every woman. For me skin care is paramount, and I am fortunate that I have been serious about that since I was a child. It did not take me long to realize that the sun was not my friend and that tanning was out of the question for me. Now, many years later, I am so grateful for that.

    As much sleep as possible, lots of fruits and vegetables and salmon, no smoking ever, lots of love and lots of laughter. And dark red Laura Mercier lipstick!!

  • lily-g says:

    That was a fabulous post, in fact Im going to print it off and put it in my shop today,good gossip in store He He!. Its always a topic of discussion about the mystery and style of a French woman. When I was in France I noticed certain areas of Paris brought out the more stylish dresser while other areas the woman dressed more casual. As a tourist I went to ridiculous lengths to look like a Parisian and not a tourist, only to have nearly twisted my ankles, actually got blisters on the bottom of my feet, froze to death in my dresses but…..I did get asked by tourists for directions and boy did my ego love that. My hubby said it was only because I walked with a baguette under my arm every day!!!!! I had my hair blow dried in Paris too, I loved the experience but my huge NON Parisian moment was when in the salon the hairdresser asked for my trench, as I sat flipping through a magazine I couldn’t read, soaking up the atmosphere I look at my dress and realized it was inside out!
    If it wasn’t for the big tag on the back and washing instructions on the side tag you would never have known it was inside out. To my absolute horror I asked to use the bathroom, Well! try taking off a dress in a loo the size of a match box, hair everywhere no mirror OMG. I slipped out with the Parisian ladies smiling discretely…..next time I’m dressing like a tourist! xx

  • I love this series. Keep it up!
    xo

  • Shelly Beson says:

    Fantastic post. I will do my best to bring out the French girl inside.

    Shelly

  • Another great post. I still feel like I should elaborate on my comment from Part 1 that I do not have a young lover.

    *sigh*

    I am hopelessly American.

  • Vicki- I loved this post- I am fascinated with how the French live and when I lived in Paris was known to “stalk” strangers there too so I could catch a glimpse of their style. So well put… Merci!

  • linda says:

    what a fabulous post!! I had to dash over and read your part one immediately and from your comments, it seems we all are fascinated by what makes the french woman so appealing…your photos captured the spirit of your post and I thoroughly enjoyed it all-what a treat! and now I know it’s OK that I wear red lipstick without much eye makeup…secretly I was wondering if it was perhaps a bit too much red although *I* love it..perhaps that is the point!

  • I’m so glad you followed this up with a how to manual! I think I’ll schedule a facial for this weekend. When i was in Paris, the beauty salons were everywhere. I wanted to book an appointment but never got around to it. Next time I won’t miss out on one of the salons and also a great hair cut. This was a great post, thanks so much.

  • Jojo says:

    A wonderful post from a keen observer. I have observed French women living in the US for a number of years and I have observed a couple of traits and would like your thoughts. First the French women of style don’t seem to have a need for a “full” closet. (Personally I have a closet full of clothing but I never seem to have the right thing to wear). They aren’t afraid to be bold and of course that goes back to your point about being confident. Also it seems that the French (Parisian) women I know will spend a bundle on at least one very fine accessory and it will be that one single piece that will make the wardrobe.

    As you mentioned size, I have observed that many stores in France do not stock large or extra large clothing. This factor alone might be a reason to watch what you eat!

  • cityfarmer says:

    they certainly have it going on!!

  • Lee says:

    Thank you for this post Vicki. After having just had a skin cancer removed from my face (which has left a small but unsightly scar) I am not going to dwell on what is wrong but rather what I can do right to make myself look fashionably stylish. So after reading your post I have booked myself in to the hairdresser and I am going to up the ante on the beauty therapist visits & do a bit of a cull on my wardrobe. Such sage words of advice about beauty in this post. Thanks. Lee x

  • annecychic says:

    I think you’re spot on. Sleep, water, a daily walk, consistent skincare, a good haircut–it all adds up. And the result–even for older women–is remarkable. Thanks for the post.

  • mondo cherry says:

    Excellent post. I know from experience how what I wear affects how I feel and how my day goes. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing I don’t know, but if I put on a daggy tracksuit I get nothing accomplished and feel like I’m invisible. Similarly, if I straighten my hair, my whole day goes better – even the kids are better behaved!!! Simple and chic is good advice.
    Clare x

  • Mindy says:

    Vicki – I think you addressed this issue quite succinctly and perfectly sum up that essential French style so many immitate yet many execute well.

    I adore the style of French makeup & perfume. I am a Chanel girl. I think that simple but bold is easy to understand but difficult to practice. I try and sometimes end up looking like what my husband calls a hot mess.

    I think this means sexy & a little bed-rumpled, like you just rolled out of the hay. The chunky hair layers, smoldering eyes…

    LOVE this post! Must go back and read Part 1. Merci!

  • Beatriz Kim says:

    I came here from mimi charmante. I love this post! I absolutely believe that French women look gorgeous because they follow those rules.

    They have confidence and sensuality. They don’t try to look overtly sexual, they are more subtle and yet their sensuality shines brightly.

    In my humble opinion, I think this subtle and yet powerful sensuality makes the French woman so beautiful and sexy.

  • fabulous post Vicki!
    I just went through my closet to get rid of half my clothing…. my goal is to buy simple elegant clothes that work well on me and your post was very inspirational.
    off to drink more water:)
    xx
    callie

  • Heidi says:

    Here here! I loved this post, you have obviously given a lot of thought to what makes French Women appear to have it all and go about it so effortlessly. We could learn a lot from simply observing.

  • DolceDreams says:

    You have captured the French woman perfectly in words and photos…perfect choices! I just got the same book by Carole Bouquet, it is great, I love that cover photo. I so enjoy reading all that you write…
    merci
    thank you
    grazie
    Nathalie

  • joanny says:

    Another interesting post, yes skin care goes way back for the French women,,,I love making soaps and cremes, years ago I came across a story about A 'forever young 'french woman by the name of Ninon de Lenclo? renowned in her time as the 'woman who never aged' born in Paris in 1620 died Oct. 1705, at 85 years old, It was reported that she retained her beautiful wrinkle free skin till she died. Ninon bathed everyday in a special formula bath & on her deathbed she entrusted the secret to her friend ..it included only 6 herbal ingredients all tied up in a square of muslin or cotton. I guess today women have botox….
    Joanny

  • Ladybug says:

    Thanks, Vicki, I loved this post. Proud to be one-eighth French. LBx

  • Polly says:

    I totally agree with every word you said, I’ve been observing French girls for ages and made similar observations. And especially about hair, they do have gorgeous hair…

  • Hi Vicki…love this post!!! Just wondering…when you say grey is not a dirty word, do many of the French gals in their 40′s and 50′s…even in their 30′s colour their hair or tend to go au naturale? How wonderful that length and cut come secondary to colour…I’m impressed!!!♥x

  • manon 21 says:

    une belle série!!!elles sont toutes belles.
    merci

    amitié
    manon

  • Kimberly says:

    Thank you so much for the insider tips to the most beautiful women in the world! Very interesting and very fun, but I don’t think I could live with out wearing my colors! :)

  • “I think to dress like a French girl is all about simplicity.”
    Certainment OUI!!!
    Very well put Vicki
    Merci
    Carolg

  • Thank you for a great post. Have raved about ‘part one’ on my blog. Your take on this is great. I wish all women could feel like this… Thanks again :-)

  • willow says:

    This was a great read, Vicki! Timeless suggestions for all of us to take advantage of.

  • i think i do. i think i am aging fairly well. time will tell i guess. somedays are better than others, of course and you’re right when i have slept for 8 hours (uninterrupted) i look about 28years old.

  • Scribbler says:

    I really enjoyed both parts of this article. I have heard some of these things before, but you did a wonderful job distilling the various facets of the elusive “French Style” into a readable primer. Now we have no excuse!

    Scribbler

  • Malheuresement, I can’t see all the pictures.

    I agree with your statement about hair.

    I was people-watching the last time I was there (I’ve only been for a total of 5 nights so I shouldn’t show off) I noticed all the women had good hair. Nothing lank or no pony-tails scraping hair off the face. Most woman accessorized with a good scarf or pashmina and they had good, hard shoes or sexy boots.

  • This was such a great post Vicki and from the small amount of time I lived in Paris, I would have to agree with everything you said. They are classic style rules anyway and make for a great read!

    xo

  • Susan Alcorn says:

    You need to put all this into a book–your writing is so good, your observations so keen–I’ll buy the first copy!
    Susan

  • YSLGuy says:

    Yay..another great post!! Have you read Helena Frith Powell’s book “All You Need To Be Impossibly French: A Witty Investigation Into The Lives, Lusts, and Little Secrets of French Women”??? It’s a very funny book.

    I did a post awhile back on the book and the things she mentions about how French women dress, etc.

  • - Suzie - says:

    Hi Vicki,
    nice to meet you and your blog.
    Very good observation on the French ladies! I used to live in Paris and I agree with your post.
    Also I heard: ‘you are not born as Parisienne, you become one’ … just follow your instructions

  • Alicia says:

    Their look is effortless… however I also think one must acknowledge their love of quality, another aspect that has ruined much of the world. Couturier was invented by the French & that dedication flows through everything even t-shirts.
    I'd rather purchase one well made shirt than ten cheap ones. Mine will still be wearable for years to come.
    I don't know if they don't eat croissants but I do know they savour what they do eat.
    I think you have another book ide here….can't wait.

  • annechovie says:

    Great advice, Vicki. I do think less is more and good grooming goes a long way. It’s always a compliment to be mistaken for a native when visiting France.

  • Loved reading all the observations in the French women and you are so right! I was amazed every time in Paris how many eye glass shops there were…not to mention the incredible pharmecie selling unique product for face, including make-up. My best hair cut EVER was in Paris…nothing drastic but cut exactly for my face and features. You REALLY make me miss the city!!

  • graciegirl says:

    I was sitting in my lounger on the patio today, yes with sun block on. I was reading an artical from an older issue of Victoria mag.Feb.1999, on this very subject. Of course it made me think of you and part 1 and here tonight I read again…mmm?
    Such a good post Vicki.

  • Fifi Flowers says:

    Good article… I love the idea of classic, simple, thin and vitamin B! I’m working on the thin… le sigh… love the bread and butter!

  • What a great post! Everyone wants to know how she does it! And you’ve made it sound so easy. I missed part 1 but after reading this, I’ll be going back to catch up.
    Thanks for this!
    Kirsten

  • Gorgeous post Vicki!!! I’m off to drink some water, get some sleep, and make an appointment with my hair dresser. I love the idea of a more simple approach to beauty. I’m going to try to Frenchify my look. I do miss being in Paris, the walking all over town and eating a more simple and fresh (more of the earth foods) as well as the incredible fashion to keep me from eating that last macaron!
    It didi seem a more healthy lifestyle than what I am used to here in the States. I’m now very motivated!
    xoxo
    Judith~

  • Beautiful post, I very much enjoyed reading it! I was facinated by the classiness of the French women (of all ages) when we Bloom Girls took a 10 day trip to Europe last September. We spent a day in Paris and then 4 more in Provence. The women amaze me!

    Blessings to you!

    Karyn

  • Primrose says:

    Another lush post. I thought that even the older women were so stylish (oh let’s face it – even the little dogs they carry are so stylish) in Paris. I noticed their make-up was understated but the Parisians all seemed to have good skin Even my partner agreed that the French were more stylish than Australians although he couldn’t have said why. I can still remember some wonderful outfits on the street and the smiles on their faces when they saw me openly admiring them I love the French so much! I hope your new book is going to touch on some of this!

  • Christel says:

    Merci Vicki for part 2.
    I just want to add : never wear something too tight! PS: Garance Dore’s blog (http://www.garancedore.fr/en/) -in french or english- is a reflection of la femme d’aujourdhui (women today). Amities, Christel.

  • vicki archer says:

    Primrose – I am sorry…. the new book is all about my love of interiors and the ambient life in France. I think living life with ambience is celebrated in a way here that is unique – so that’s book number 2. I could go on and on about beauty, women and fashion too, maybe next time! xv

  • Primrose says:

    Vicki, book 2 sounds wonderful You can always leave the style as in beauty for book trois! Anthing you write is worthy and I will savour.

  • sherry lee says:

    How inspirational..I loved reading this. Simplicity, good quality, wholesome…it isn’t difficult to do and the crux of it comes down to being true to yourself, liking yourself (which I think French women most definitely do), loving the self and pampering which really means just taking good care of what you have. Thanks for your observations..you most definitely have a keen eye!

  • Millie says:

    Vicki, this my 3rd attempt at a comment on your most thought-provoking post! The first 2 wouldn't have passed Blog Commenting 101, so here's my final attempt.

    As MOTH will attest to, if Millie's hair looks great then all is right with the world. Just a simple but very good blunt cut, no product so that it swings as I leave the Salon & a colour that has me grinning like a Cheshire cat. Easy really. Mightn't look like a French girl, but just for a moment I can feel like one.
    Have a fab weekend, hope Mr. FF & a couple of the Archer offspring are around to help you enjoy it.
    Millie ^_^

  • vicki archer says:

    They are indeed Millie – well Mr FF and 2 out of the 3 little FF’s, so this is rare indeed, xv.

  • Rose says:

    Loved this Entry! I love the way European women dress……so classy!

    Hugs,Rose

  • Crystal says:

    This was truly a great read. When I was in France, I observed the simplicity of their dress in different parts of France, including Paris. The accessories were definitely where you showed your personality off.
    Everything is really played down, wine, candles and good conversation are an everyday affair, no big deal.
    Thanks for such a good read.
    Crystal

  • Alkemie says:

    Vicki – Again, such a fantastic post! I loved reading your thoughts on this subject. French women certainly have a style and a way about them :) It was neat to see details that contribute to the way they gracefully age and style.

    Cheers,
    Karen O.

  • sallymandy says:

    Thank you! This was so nicely written, interesting, and full of great information. And long enough to really get into. I loved this post.

  • sallymandy says:

    hmm. did my comment get saved??

  • Vicki, I loved your giving the SPECIFICS of the French look. I can recognize it, but have never been able to define it. Your observations are right on target! Off to buff and polish my hair, Marigail

  • Gaia says:

    I was waiting for the “Bien dans sa peau Part 2″. I’m 34 and to be honest I’ve never been so confident and “bien dans ma peau”, maybe it’s just because I’m shy and insecure or maybe because when I was a kid I wasn’t in perfect weight, maybe for many reasons.
    Actually, I like myself more now then years ago. I grew up and I know that to be beautiful to others eyes you have to like and love yourself, to be more confident. I started to enhance what it’s good for me, I found my style…
    I really loved that 2nd part and I’ve been thinking the same thing about the french girls/women, but I think ther’s also a genetic help and an allure that italians do not have! We are beautiful but in a different way. French girl are more discret and elegant…
    About the diet…my grandma use to told me, before I go out for, dinner to eat something at home so I won’t eat at the restaurant (it’s not elegant for her that a Girl eats a lot in front of a men!!!) and to leave always something on the dish! who knows why!
    great writing!
    Gaia

  • This was a great breakdown. It’s really not complicated when you start with the hair and work your way down I guess! It’s funny cause when I came back from Paris in April I was determined to bring some of that je ne sais quoi the French women had. Just adjusting a few things made such an impression that my dad said I was like Sabrina who went to Paris as a girl and came back a woman! I took that as the ultimate compliments! Too bad it’s wearing off now…xoc

  • Di Overton says:

    Just shows how being educated in style from childhood helps. I have just returned from France with all good intentions as usual but hey I am English and we are different so I am sitting here in my wellington boots ready to do the garden and looking like a scarecrow :)

  • Ingrid Mida says:

    Having just come back from Paris yesterday, I’ll admit I took notice of what Parisian women were wearing. Elegance, simplicity and personality seemed to be the keys to looking chic. While I was there, I dressed in simple shift dresses with a scarf and ballet flats or low heels (even though I was walking or standing much of the day). I had people asking me for directions which means I must have looked French! It seemed like the ultimate compliment. I can hardly wait to go back.

  • All the French girls I know pride themselves on never doing any type of formal exercise. But they certainly run around alot looking for those BIG bags. They do seem to worry just as much as we do about their figures – every magazine cover shouts out “rentrer son ventre”
    It’s a complete mystery to me how they stay so slim- it has to be about jeans/genes…

  • Julie says:

    au naturale est mieux. I love your post and conseille, especially because all your picks are brunettes. haha.

  • frenchkitty says:

    Hi i just found your blog and absolutely love it! Great writing.
    Especially the post about "bien dans sa peu" – it is so true. Confidence in one self is sexy!

    Future goal: to teach my girls this

    I hope to take my children to France in a couple of years to truely experience paris life.

  • Ooh, I always love to read about the secrets of the lovely French ladies~~I'll have to go back and read parts I & II now! Having worked for Estee Lauder/Clinique, I am convinced of the importance of skin care so at least I have that secret down pat!

    Thank you, Vicki! Write on!

    xxM

  • Little Rus says:

    Such an interesting read! Thanks for sharing. x

  • Daniella says:

    This was a lovely post! I am quite french obsessed… ever since a trip to Paris… it's like no other place i've ever been! Now I have to find your Part 1…

  • I love these posts!! Keep them coming.
    Such a great read:)

  • POOKIE says:

    I really enjoyed this post so much. You put into words what I felt being in Paris. French women, Parisians especially, just seem to have such a natural style about them. I am always amazed by how wonderful older women look in Paris–very inspiring.

  • Savory Tv says:

    Oh I love this it's so enlightening! Thank you for breaking it down this way. Sometimes I know that French look, but am not sure how it came to be that way. Cheers and have a wonderful holiday!

  • hopflower says:

    This is truly a wonderful post. I seem to be missing part 4 though, and would love to be able to read it. I may be late to the party, but I am enjoying every minute of it!

  • Anonymous says:

    this makes me so nostalgic for all my years in Paris! Some other things I've noticed while trying (and failing) to emulate the "chic" of a French woman: they always wear beautiful shoes, even in the pouring rain. Since it rains all the time in Paris, you'd never see beautiful shoes if they weren't worn in the rain. French women NEVER wear sneakers to work and carry their shoes. NEVER. Did I say NEVER? They never wear your typical boxlike tee shirt either. Did I say NEVER? They believe that to be beautiful is to accept pain and suffering. Secondly, they always dress for the occasion. If they are out in the woods gathering mushrooms, they'll wear a sporty little suede jacket, a small scarf, and maybe a pair of perfectly cut brown pants. Sports clothes are worn for sports, only. They are always put together, so the scarf matches the bag, or the sweater, or the bag matches the shoes. Some people even match their dogs. Last of all, their hair is usually cut blunt which makes them look "neater." Another important thing is that French clothes (and Italian) are actually cut to flatter a woman's figure and they are meant to be SEXY. Even if you're talking about a suit to wear to the office. When I got back to the US I was appalled at how ugly and unfeminine the suits were – hanging off you like square boxes in boring black and beige. Women in Paris wear their skirts MUCH MUCH shorter than American women, and they have small bones and thin legs so they look great in a short skirt. Vicky is so right about the small portions. Everyone in France eats real butter, cream, chocolate and amazing desserts, but they only have a tiny bit.

  • balletmama says:

    As another who has stalked a certain French woman down the streets analysing her outfit, I couldn't agree more. This woman too, had stunningly simply glossy hair worn long and (seemingly) unstyled, a simple summer dress, stylish little sandals and accessories and a fabulous bag. She walked purposefully and with assurance and had a sort of secret 'don't I look fabulous' smile playing around the corners of her mouth. It sounds so simple doesn't it, but so hard for the rest of us to emulate!

  • austinthea says:

    What an informative yet personal article. I have a client who wants to dress like a Parisienne, and this sums up many of our discussion points. Merci!!

  • Wendy says:

    I enjoyed re-reading this post. It always gives me great ideas of what to wear. I was wondering.. What will those very chic French women wear over the hot summer?

  • Mary in Oregon says:

    Good information and fun!
    HOWEVER, showing the beautiful young woman smoking a cigarette in the same article about having the best looking skin, hair and nails is an oxymoron. NO SMOKING… That is where many people go WRONG. Please.

  • Suzanna says:

    I absolutely love your blog, I live here daily, thank you so much for your energy and unending generous sharing…….your kindness builds my days….XO

  • Camille says:

    Hi there !

    I believe I am what you’d call a “real French girl”; at least, I’m French, I’m a girl (well, I should probably say a “woman” by now, my thirties are getting nearer…), and I get tons of compliments for my style, most notably from my Japanese, fashion and trend journalist aunt – and SHE is the most beautiful woman I know, you should see that skin, and this hair and…. Alright let’s get to the point :)

    Just one thing I’d like to stress: elegance is about accent. When in doubt, go for a plain, neutral-colored outfit and chose ONE thing you want to highlight. Lately, I can be seen wearing a black dress, stiletto black shoes, little makeup… And a bright yellow, slightly oversized leather shoulder bag. Or a black skirt, black top (yes I do love black) and red high heeled shoes. Pick up one noteworthy accessory or piece of clothing, keep the rest super simple, and you’re sure to make an effect, as you mention with the purple handbag.

    Also, one common mistake girls around the world make is to try to accent too many things at once: short skirts showing too much leg, deep “decolleté” showing too much breast, bright lipstick with dark eyeshadows: each of them is potentially fine, but only if used separately. Don’t just showcase all your fine attributes at once: it’s “vulgaire”

    Hope it helps. Cheers and keep up the fun writing :)

  • As a parisian woman I must say you got it right!
    Still so much more to say though.
    Have a look at my last blog post on how to wear heels: http://dresslikeaparisian.com/how-to-wear-heels/
    Bises de Paris!
    Aloïs, personal shopper

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