3.17.2010

you can’t bottle je ne sais quoi.

Being smart, sexy and impossibly French requires effort and more than
a little 'je ne sais quois.' quips Helena Frith-Powell, author
of 'Two Lipsticks and a Lover'.

As Coco Chanel once said, “Elegance is refusal.”






the French can also lay claim to singer Charles Aznavour; Amore'


No city, with it's street style chic and beauty is blogged or beloved
more than Paris, France. I doubt you'd disagree.

We women long to possess the French savoir-faire, and men long to
have the occasional illicit romance, or 'les petites aventures', accepted
as part of their culture. Women I'd say, are catching on quickly to
that philosophy.

We all desire the French version of sexual napalm.

The architect Christian Biecher once said,
"French style at its best is the art of turning your back on fashion."



The secret of French woman in the view of author Edith Kunz who wrote the
book, "Fatale; How French Woman Do-it", one word: confidence.

"They are confident in themselves, confident with their age, their body, with their power. I don't see them burning bras! They are sensuous even at work. In the U.S., you cannot even open the door for them. They might believe you are being solicitous. I don't know what made American women so angry. Here, I don't see the anger. They charmed men to death, and it is fun for both. It looks like a lot of sensuousness".

"It’s not part of our genetic make-up to just let ourselves go"
quoting an unnamed French woman


French women assess their assets and make the most of them.
What they don’t do is follow trends.


"French women take a few cues from fashion professionals but are even
more likely to trust their own instincts
", states Bourjois spokeswoman
Celine Kaplan, a Parisienne-turned-New Yorker



"Allure, to us is more about a statement than physical beauty."says Frenchwoman Nathalie Rykiel, daughter of designer Sonya Rykiel

Exquisite and expensive matching underwear is 'de rigeur'
and a bad hair day is simply out of the question.

"French women, by contrast to American women, shop with a plan and buy selectively. They only head to a clothing store when they need a particular item",
writes Leah Bourne of Forbes.com.

"No one does a head-to-toe look of a particular season or a particular
designer",
say's Celine Kaplan. "You mix and match, you go vintage."

"French women are not just picking something because it is in fashion,"
designer Cathrine Malandrino explains. "She gives more thought to it.
How many times can she wear it? Is it versatile enough to go from day,
to work, to cocktails? And will she want to wear it again and again?"


The interior designer Jean-Louis Riccardi, currently renovating Paris's Crillon, says the French can be the worst-dressed men in the world. "Change is not a way of life for the French, that's their weakness, but also their strength," he says. It's a tradition he feels at home with. "I like strict clothes," he adds, "My ideal is the priesthood."

As Frith-Powell observes, “If you cut a French woman in half, you will see
the words 'liberte, egalite, fraternite' written throughout like a stick of rock.
And of these the most important is liberte.”

"The whole notion of freedom is deeply inscribed in the French psyche. Marrying and then misbehaving is seen as being free", says Frith-Powell

"The real reason French women don't get fat: They're masters of detox—tinctures, teas, weekly spa treatments. Plus, in hiking the subways, walking (briskly, even in heels), and cycling the streets, they amass heaps of incidental exercise". -
Ying Chu for MarieClaire.com

One of the most outstanding, and knowledgeable, blogs in the sphere
is Haute World. The author gives her readers the most thorough of
educations in the world of French fashion and savvy style
throughout this Haute World.

-
"If you want to be indefinably French and gorgeous it is vital to make time for yourself; visit the hairdresser, walk instead of drive, pamper your body potions, eat smaller portions, buy yourself a lipstick or two and entertain a lover on the side"; not bad advice by Frith-Powell.

As Vicomte de Valmont says in the book Dangerous Liaisons,
It is beyond my control.”

"What you see in terms of French Chic beauty are plenty of gorgeous brunettes with simple, stylishly undone hair, natural eyebrows, minimal appearing makeup with a “no make-up” feel, smoldering kohl lined eyes, natural lip color or a bold crimson lipstain all creating the facade of better than natural, but still very approachable, confident, and unfussy", quoting fashion expert Sharon Havor of focusonstyle.com

Le Magnifique

Sacre bleu!

{go forth and live responsibly}

feeling French

Happy Weekend Dear Friends x

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62 comments:

Lipstick said...

What a thoroughly enjoyable post...and I couldn't help cackling out loud at "Sacre bleu!"

ashlina said...

well said. dying to be french.

caroline duke said...

le sigh. now i am feeling french too. and i wish that green furry number was mine. moreover, i wish i could pull it off.

Dustjacket Attic said...

Oh I just adore this post Deb, I have been reading about french women here and there for some time. They are amazing creatures ~ We can learn so much from them.

Loving your sidebar pictures too....have a great weekend,
xoxo DJ

James said...

The Edith Kunz quote says it all for me. In America we have put such a barrier between the sexes that common courtesy is some how seen as offensive. If I open the door for you it doesn't mean I'm having impure thoughts about you.On the other hand if you smile as you pass and it warms my old heart,whats the harm in that? Thank you for a very insightful post.

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

You are SO good. This very subject has been the topic of so many of my discussions with friends recently! The universe is trying to tell us something and you are certainly tuned-in to it! Ayez un week-end merveilleux! oxo Barbara

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

It's the walking, walking that keeps French women so trim, something I guess we should all know but seem to hope for an easier trick. And I am all for buying responsibly and with more thought.....we have much to learn over here on the other side. XO

A Perfect Gray said...

wonderful post. enjoyed every word and photo. I am determined to put that fabulous french attitude to good use in my life...well, maybe not the lover part, but you get the point...thanks so much for a great post.

lisa golightly said...

Have never been, but I know when I do, it will be hard to come back. They sure have that "Joie de vivre" thing nailed ! I am inspired all over again.
Merci !!!

Lisa

Jacqueline said...

Whenever we go to France, be it Paris or smaller towns and villages, you can happen on a market and there are the French, men and women, looking fabulous, buying their veg in the most beautiful cashmere coat, basket over their arm. It must be inbuilt and there from the moment they are born !!
Votre post est tres bon, Deb. Fantastique !!

west by south said...

Love it! A great read...!

A 2 Z said...

Bonjour Deb,

That was so much fun to read. Thank you. It must have taken you a while to gather all the pictures and to think up all these comments. I have been to France many times because of my husband's work. I remember the first time I went I organized my wardrobe and make-up extensively. There seems to be 2 parts to France. First there is Paris: an entity into itself. The guardian of the best fashion, perfumes, make-up, boutiques, restaurants, etc...It was surreal. Everybody is slim because you have to walk everywhere. Makes sense. Then there is the rest. I wanted to experience other small towns and areas. Being young and naive I was surprised to see that there were fat women with no make-up, friendly as can be (probably because they ate...)dressed very plainly. Depending where you go in France they speak French with different accents. Its like many little countries within one bigger one. Its surprising how one region can be so different that the next. The next region I would like to visit is Provence. Great post! Merci beaucoup!

Fifi Flowers said...

J'ai adoré ce poste... tout cela est vrai!!!
Bon week-end!
Fifi

La Petite Gallery said...

The French are so Chic and elegant.
Great post.


yvonne

Millie said...

Loved, loved, loved this post Deb! So thoughtfully researched & written as usual. I'd last a minute in France, I just don't have the confidence in my appearance to carry it off. Too much of the Aussie larrikin in me I suspect. However, MOTH might do a little better. You would never guess it but he speaks fluent French, thanks to a huge crush he had on his High School French teacher. It was the only class he was totally engaged in, so to speak. He reckons the feeling was mutual, but that's a whole other story!!
Millie ^_^

Renee Finberg said...

what an outrageous post.
i loved every word and image...
i agree with you completely on all points.

xxx

Alicia said...

C'est parfait!!!!
I firmly believe the French water is diluted with something from their bedrock because their attitude of "to hell with you I'm am only me" is universal.
Mon Dieu!!!! Kate so needs a clue.

vicki archer said...

You know that I agree....gorgeous pics, xv.

Barbara said...

Fashion-wise, the French can't be beat. It is always their innate sense with scarves that gets to me. French man or woman, they all wear scarves and in the most magnificent ways.

Unfortunately, some American women cannot accept that they can be strong and feminine at the same time.

As for France and the French: I can admire, I can visit, I can emulate, but I am amazingly happy to get home.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

BRILLIANT-

But there is another weapon--the MOTHER--who insists that a girl stay slim, who does not overfeed her children, the -no snacks rule-- and the staying slim. Just remember that every August and before you have to get into a small bikini.
It is joked that a goal of all French women is to be able to fit into her school uniform skirt for life...some grandmothers can.
Slim...and chic.
But in reality there are many ways of being chic--and confident--and French women don't stress about it. They quietly go to the hair person, the nails person, the waxing person, the surgeons and the weight loss experts and various salons--who knows, you might meet the man of your dreams right there...best be ready.
DEB_I have not gone away--just discovered that for the last 4 weeks I have had a FEEDBURNER glitch and my new posts have not been coming up on blog rolls...you have some fine reading to catch up on, including last week's story on THE STYLE SALONISTE about a visit to MATISSE'S HOUSE...you will love.
CHEERS, DIANE
www.thestylesaloniste.com

Haven and Home said...

Why couldn't I be born French? Le Sigh.

Jane said...

What a great post and you have captured it all. It is confidence, I agree, and daring to be different. I think the men in France (and Europe for that matter) still dress about 1000 times better than most Australian men who tend to be super slovenly. I think they buy quality, and the other thing is that they are well groomed - hair and nails especially. Those little details make the big difference.

xoxo

Kristin said...

Oh to be as effortlessly cool as a french dame. Sigh.

A Refocused Life said...

Deb,

Interesting post. Oh for all women to have the confidence and wonderful sense of style of the French. Rita

Julie@beingRUBY said...

HI Deb
Wonderful post.. and what a fabulous collection of images.. and not your usual glam set... Definitely something interesting and unique about the french style.. if only we could capture this confidence and adopt it as our own... Aussie men could take a tip or two... I suspect they would be after the extramarital aspect though... have fun xxx Julie

La Dolfina said...

Deb, Deb, Deb, what a fabulous post!!!
I enjoyed every word and image. You are so talented my friend! The french really are captivating. They can be so maddening yet so alluring at the same time... whatever they do, they have managed to capture our imagination. You really see it in their films.
Thank you so much for always entertaining us as only you can :)
Je t'aime!!!!!!!!!!!

DesignTies said...

I've never been to France, but I just KNOW I'd be enraptured by everything I see and experience... people especially. I also know that if I were in France I'd feel like a great big uncultured bump but wouldn't really mind in the long run because I'd BE THERE!
Victoria @ DesignTies

SPLENDEROSA said...

Beautiful Deb, this post is amazing, wonderful, funny, smart & beautiful. I love your blog's new look! So sleek. Shine on, gorgeous one. C'est Magnifique, mon amour.
Marsha

Cashon&Co said...

Best thing Ive read in a LONG time. Oh how I love that last picture with that caption. so perfect!!!! My favorite image on here was the woman in the green under-coat smoking a cigarette and the man behind her also smoking. I think his outfit was the most chic out of the whole bunch. He's not stick-thin, he's not young, yet he is sporting a Hermes belt and layered a scarf, tie, vest and jacket over jeans with a rip in them. And love his grey hair and glasses. OHHHH Mama!

Kat said...

very beautiful pictures, except the last one ;)

i hope you're having a wonderful week!

Kellie Collis said...

Those shoes with the bows on them are magic! x

Francine Gardner said...

Do I really look like this?? Not in my moving clothes..... This is such a flattering portrait of us French women, but I think, dear Deb that you are far too kind....

annechovie said...

I like the fact that the French don't have a mass mentality like many other cultures. They tend to celebrate individuality and the little things more. Have a great week, Deb! xo

Haute World said...

Thank you for the kind shout-out my dear! I think French style is impossible to comprehend unless you've actually spent time observing the women here. I think the most important think you'll learn is that the French actually dress quite boring. It's comfortable and perhaps chic, but it's rarely very daring or eccentric (Londoners excel in this). Let's face it, the majority of the very fashionable women you posted aren't even French ;-) I find there's a huge discrepancy between what the streetstyle blogs post (mainly during fashion events, where the majority of non-French women are dressed to the nines) and what is actually out on the Parisian streets (lots of Converse sneakers, worn jeans and slouchy cardigans). I think that's the real reason so many tourists come here with a completely wrong outfit and a false sense of what is actually considered stylish here. I will say that confidence and a general joy of living is key, with a strong focus on a natural beauty (it's not considered chic to wear too much makeup). I will also say that unfortunately French women are very thin and being even slighly overweight is not acceptable, which might be irritating to any woman who's 'larger' than a size 4 ;-)

Diya said...

you have an impressive collection of streestyle images!! thanks for sharing.

ps. check out my blog:
http://diyainherstilettos.blogspot.com/

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh I love this. Especially that particular shade of French green. Magnifique indeed!

And the juxtaposition of Carla and Kate.... priceless. Words are not even needed!

La Dolfina said...

Hi Deb~ I have an award for you on my blog because you always make me HAPPY!!!
XOX

erica@ moth design+luxe life said...

Fantastic blog!! Following. :)

Karena said...

Deb you found the best images, all really unique and fun. The French are so stylish!

Karena
Art by Karena

sayablack said...

I've just found your blog.
I love love your selection.
I'm Japanese fashion designer.
Your pics are useful for my design!
Please check out my blog<3
XX
http://tokyofashionholic.blogspot.com/

Inspiration in Italy said...

It seems the French exude such confidence, which is beautiful and sexy at the same time! How fantastic is this post, and do you believe I have never even been to France?!? I love travel and I love understanding new cultures and people of all walks of life. And Paris?!?? Of course I must go someday! :)

xxx
Rachel

Debra said...

This is one of the best posts I have read in ages! Fabulous-and I loved your ending!

The Cottage Cheese said...

Yay! This post is timed perfectly. I have been trying to evolve my style a bit, particularly the French makeup look (gray eyes with neutral lip tone or naked eyes with red lips). I haven't quite got it yet. Working at home, it's been far too easy to slip into the no makeup, jeans, and solid tee outfit as my daily wardrobe. I used to have a sense of style, not so much now. This article is just the kick in the pants that I needed!

How've you been my dear Deb? As always, thanks for your lovely comments on my blog! Shhhh.. don't tell the others, but you know you're one of my favorites ;)

Southern Aspirations said...

OMG laughing out loud at the last two images!! Love this post though. Such inspiring photos!

plaisirs simples said...

what an amazing post!!! oh how i loooove the french....they are unlike any other. i try to always pull it off but somehow i can never really get it...

red ticking said...

dear deb.... as always... charming.. xx

Maya said...

What a fabulous post. Loved to read this. I think "Divine Denuve" says it all -true confidence at any age!!

JennyMac said...

we all desire the french version of sexual napalm MEOW. That is a tres magnifique statement my friend.

And I desire some of their fabulous footwear too. Hope you are doing well!

sarah, flourish design + style said...

I could not be happier that I picked today to stop by.. what a beautiful post, the images, your words..lovely! I look forward to following. xo

Sanity Fair said...

You always find the best images to illustrate your point! I absolutely believe you! :) And the finale - oh, contrasts. Please don't tell me KG is the best we have to offer!

Punctuation Mark said...

They make an effort to look good no matter if they are going to the grocery store or to a fancy party... it's more than just jeans and tshirts

Clarity said...

Dear Deb,

Thank you for your beautiful warm comments. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time. Be strong and be patient, this hurt somehow will become less. Peace, Love, xxx.

Christy said...

Oh what a fun post to read. "take a lover on the side" made me giggle. And that last photo had me laughing outloud! Fabulous quotes and images throughout, as usual. Love your posts Deb. Hope you're having a good week!!!

Porchlight Interiors said...

Brilliant read and gorgeous pics! Feeling inspired to be more French...wishing I only ate half of my dessert! Tracey xx

Heavenly Housewife said...

LOL on that last picture. Great photos. I totally agree. Need to go to paris and put on my major attitude face daaaahling.
My new blog went up today and I am so excited. Stop by and check out my brand new and improved site daaaahling. I want to know what you think. I'm also doing a fab give away.
*kisses* HH

Patty said...

Fabulous post! Nothing beats French fashion ;)

Ginger Roxy said...

Oh i love paris fashion!


xox

GR

http://gingerroxy.blogspot.com

erica@ moth design+luxe life said...

ok, wanted to share... I'm not weird (honest) but came back for a second visit today! Such good stuff! xo

DesignTies said...

Hi Deb. Thanks for dropping by DesignTies the other day and commenting so positively on my home-staging post & project... your support is so very much appreciated! And no... no bows tied around the towels! ;-)
Victoria

Dobbygirl said...

Okay this post is complete eye candy!!! It's true, they do have the "je ne sais quoi". I worked with a girl from France and she had this effortless glam thing working and I could only wish I were that cool. *sigh* I'll keep trying and wishing and failing - ha! :o)

My Notting Hill said...

What a creative post! I loved reading this.

{tig} said...

such a comprehensive post and so beautifully put together!

the last image is hilarious :)