Do you want to look more like a French woman? I just finished a book that gave me the finer points on “timeless beauty, style and substance,” so I could be more French. The author, an American who has lived in Paris for many years, apparently tired of seeing female tourists wandering around Paris in sweat pants and running shoes. Over the years, she became so enamored with French women that she talked to a few friends, dermatologists and wardrobe specialists to find out what they recommended we slobs do to become more French. And she turned what she found out into a book. (Note tone of envy here.)
When we were in Paris I didn’t notice the famous put-together look for which women there are famous. The neighborhood we stayed in and where we dined most evenings was close to a university, which might explain my missing out on haute couture. I didn’t dress up there but didn’t feel out-of-place either.
For those female readers “of a certain age,” who want to be mistaken for Frenchwomen, here’s a quick guide to remaking your life. Key elements you’ll want to invest huge sums of money on are your skin, nails, and wardrobe.
I can’t begin to cover all the skin care basics, so here are a few teasers: Have regular beauty treatments, including mesotherapy, which, according to one practitioner’s website, is “a noninvasive treatment for sagging skin, wrinkles, aging hands, and unwanted fat.” For anyone “of a certain age” reading this, I’m pretty sure Medicare doesn’t cover these treatments.
Other tips: Spend oodles on expensive French products. Expert advice includes the following: “The majority of my friends line their eyes,” and [Foundation] “texture tends to be a personal choice; I like liquids.” The good news is that I like French liquids too.
Having a personal dermatologist is a necessity and you should expect this person to spend the last part of your appointment advising you on “beauty routines.” I don’t believe that dermatologists do this here, which means it bumps up the price of beauty a few notches when we have to pay for regular trips to France for advice on moisturizers. Then again, who am I to object to traveling to France?
From skin we go to nails. “Never have I seen chipped polish on either the hands or feet of a Frenchwoman.” There’s nothing more to be said on this topic.
Apparently French women invest in good clothes and wear them for thirty years. I suspect I’d be very embarrassed to wear anything I bought thirty years ago, even if it still fit. The author’s friends’ closets contain a lot of cashmere and black pencil skirts. Global warming may eventually eliminate the need for the former and fast foods for the latter.
Did I find anything to recommend this book? A few things. Remember good posture, eat and exercise well, and accessorize boldly. What advice would I find it impossible to ignore? Leaving my running shoes home. I don’t wander around in sweatpants and sweatshirts, but give up comfortable shoes? Never.