A walk down any street in Paris reveals it’s beauty and pride of place. The boulevards and gardens are perfectly manicured, apartment balconies overflow with flowers and small trees, bright and cheerful storefronts and apartment doors are painted in high gloss paint, the patisserie and chocolatier displays are enticing… and who knew that the Boucherie could make a display of fish and fowl look so appealing. The French women on the street also project beauty and confidence…that certain je ne sais quoi!
Tish Jett is the author of two books …Forever Chic and Living Forever Chic…about French women of a certain age (forty to forever-ish) and how/ why they are the envy of the world over. Ms Jett, an American fashion journalist, moved to Paris over 30 years ago for her dream job. Only planning on staying for two years, she instead married a French man and has lived just outside of Paris ever since.
She defines chic as, “Chic is an eclectic mix of high and low, new and old, scrambled together to reflect a women’s personality, i.e., her style.” Through her own experiences and by interviewing her fashionable friends and fashion insiders, she has written a lovely book revealing the mystique of the French woman.
French women take pride in the image they project every day and wouldn’t think of leaving the house without being perfectly groomed and appropriately dressed. These lessons are learned early in a young girl’s life. Good habits are taught by her mother and grandmother. Adding to their polished appearance, French women acquire the talent of brilliant conversation by staying informed through reading, travelling, visiting art exhibits and museums and absorbing the culture and history all around them. Being organized and disciplined by eating well, monitoring their weight, watching their alcohol intake, and getting ample sleep allows them to live hectic lives.
Tish Jett writes about skincare, makeup, hair, wardrobe and so much more in ‘Forever Chic’.
These are some of my takeaways from ‘Forever Chic’:
* most women develop an intimate relationship with their pharmacists and the products they use are often purchased at the pharmacy.
* plastic surgery and/or dermatologist enhancements are done so as not to be noticeable.
* flaws are accepted choosing to highlight good features instead.
* a smile is the best facelift.
* makeup is natural looking revealing clear, radiant, youthful looking skin.
* women wear perfume, often wearing a ‘signature’ scent throughout her life.
* hair is natural looking (not overly styled or sprayed) allowing it to move. A good haircut is imperative.
* wardrobes are comprised of neutrals in black/grey/navy or beige, brown, camel.
* clothing is good quality, figure flattering investment pieces, feminine, and never head to toe designer.
*wear lingerie that matches… every day.
* as Tish Jett says, “A women can never own too many scarves.”
* clothing and shoes are impeccably maintained. Personal relationships are made with a tailor and cobbler.
Some interesting quotes she included in her book:
“Trying too hard conveys a message of insecurity. Elegance comes through in so many elements that it can never be attributed solely to what a woman wears. Clothes do not make a woman elegant; it’s the woman who makes the clothes elegant. It’s the way she moves, speaks, applies her makeup with a light hand, has a great haircut and just the right color: it’s a combination of details.” by Anne de Fayet
“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” by Yves Saint Laurent
“Never use the word ‘cheap’. Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them too)…” by Karl Lagerfeld
With over 200 pages, this book is a wealth of information about women who live full lives and share their secrets. Tish Jett delves deep into every layer of “timeless beauty, style, and substance”. Although French women want us to believe that their style is effortless, you learn that they invest considerable time on themselves enabling them to project that enviable confidence.
Next week I will talk about the latest book by Tish Jett, “Living Forever Chic” which gives us a look into the homes and lifestyles of these femme d’un certain age.
2 thoughts on “French Lessons…Part 1”
Thank you so much for writing this post Judy. I am half way through reading Living Forever Chic, and I am thoroughly enjoying this well written book. Civility toward others seem to be diminishing in our society. It is heartening to read about people who still value respect for others, and who see the value in passing on lessons in civility to the younger generations. Love, love this book, and can’t wait to read Forever Chic as well.
Hi Karen. I’m happy you are enjoying Tish Jett’s book. I loved both of them and all the great information she generously shared!