It seems that being Parisian is all back in fashion. Not that it ever went out. Yet in recent times, the desire to be French, to walk along the chic streets of Paris and to act and dress as though one was born in the land of wine, food, and culture, has become increasingly popular. It is not just Francophiles now, who are aching for la Parisienne life and style, but it seems to be everyone. I commend this. In a world full of Kylie Jenner imitations, Instagram whores, and 15 minutes of fame; why not try and emulate the most timeless, classic and beautiful women in the world – the Parisian?
You do not have to be Parisian or even French to cultivate this Parisian state of mind. You don’t have to live in a big city or have ever visited Paris. This is not about how it looks on Instagram or Pinterest. This is a lifestyle and a mindset.
- Develop a self-care routine. This is very important. Every Parisian woman knows how to take care of herself. She keeps her eyebrows well plucked and moisturizes her skin every day. She creates time for herself to do the things she needs. A Parisian woman has a very busy life, therefore making time to take a bath, have a cup of tea or read the newspaper is very therapeutic and creates a sense of “self-care”. Even if it only takes 10 minutes a day, you’ve done it for you, and your body will thank you for it.
- Eat and drink everything! But in moderation and in small portions. In America, Britain, New Zealand and Australia we have high obesity levels and insane binge drinking culture. France does not have that. Why? Because food and drink are to be appreciated and enjoyed – not gulped down in huge quantities. Have a coffee in the morning, but enjoy it in the cafe, not in a takeaway cup (and please make sure it is decent coffee and not some sugary, fake crap from Starbucks or elsewhere). At dinner time, have the meal you want with a glass of wine, but half the portion and only have ONE glass of wine. There is no need to finish the whole bottle tonight. Drink to enjoy, not to get drunk. Even better would be to have DINNER at LUNCHTIME – this gives you the whole rest of the day to digest your food and you won’t go to bed feeling bloated. However, in the west, this can be hard as lunch breaks are so short.
- Exercise regularly… But not necessarily at the gym. I love the gym, so I would never give it up. But if the gym is not your thing, don’t stress! There are plenty of ways to exercise. You could ride a bike everywhere (tres chic), or go for a run with your friends. You could walk your dog or swim – anything, so long as it is at least 3 times a week, and it helps keep you fit and healthy. Walking everywhere is a good idea, and will save you lots of money in cars, bus trips or parking. It is very Parisian to walk everywhere. Taking in one’s surroundings and enjoying life cannot be underestimated.
- Dress Simply. Black, white, nude, navy, khaki and grey are the universal colours of chicness. Make sure 90% of your wardrobe is made up of these colours. Colour can be added through dresses, scarfs, handbags and accessories, but inevitably you shouldn’t stray too far. You should aim to buy well tailored, well-made clothes. Timeless pieces that will last forever are better than fashion pieces that will last the season. Remember – only buy clothes you plan to keep forever. If not… walk out of that shop! Always invest in good underwear, and get fitted regularly. Underwear makes or breaks an outfit – split your budget into two. 1/2 for outwear, 1/2 for underwear. You won’t regret getting well fitting underwear.
- Have a Career and Be Proud of it. Gone are the days when women needed men to survive financially. You can now do whatever you like. Find your passion, and turn it into a career. Once you do that you will never work a day in your life. Be proud of your career. It will get you places and give you a sense of fulfillment. Plus if you are making your own money and being financially independent, you can love purely for LOVE and do not have to think about the financial prospects of your future lover like some cheesy Jane Austen novel.
- Be Faithful. I recently read How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are and was shocked to find a whole section dedicated to “cheating” and being unfaithful. The writers acted like this was normal, acceptable and the “done” thing in Paris. I can assure you… it isn’t. Cheating is NOT ok. Paris is the City of Love – not the City of Unfaithful Sluttiness. If you are in a relationship, a marriage or any other exclusive arrangement, make sure it stays exactly that – exclusive. Ines de la Fressange – the wonderful model and writer of Parisian Chic has been happily married for 20+ years. Marriage is still an institution in France, and love is WAY more important than “looking cool by being unfaithful”. Just don’t cheat. It isn’t sexy, it isn’t chic. Most of all. It isn’t Paris.
- Be Well Read and Intelligent. When I say that I do not mean you have to have read every Leo Tolstoy novel ever published, or have a Master’s Degree in Ancient Greek Sculpture. What I mean is, you need to be able to have conversations, at dinner parties, at work, at the local cafe etc. about things other than Kim Kardashian’s latest diet, or what happened on Geordie Shore last week, or the fact that Naz from The Bachelor might now be dating that cute soccer player. You should know what is going on in the world. You need to be able to talk about politics, health, films, books, art, culture etc. perhaps not in depth, but enough to make sure you aren’t a dull person. Sure we can all call up our best friend and have a total bitch about the fact that Naz is dating that soccer player, but it should not be the total sum of your conversational skills. You are worth more than that.
- Know Your Hometown like the Back of your hand. A Parisian woman knows all the little places in Paris that are off the beaten track. She knows that Sergio around the corner makes the best cafe au lait in all of Paris. She knows you can buy the best cheap white tee shirts at her local Monoprix. She knows that if you want a great meal that won’t cost the earth, you avoid Tourist Paris. You should know this too – about your hometown. Sure, maybe people travel from all over the world to visit the art gallery in your city, but you know the real gems are in the lesser known gallery down the road. People line up out of the door to get a Starbucks, but you know that the tiny cafe behind the University does far superior coffee. Everyone shops at Top Shop, but you know the best place for those gorgeous dresses everyone wants right now, is actually in a little arcade off the main drag. Knowing these things about your city – the hidden city – will make you infinitely more Parisian than anything else.
- Don’t follow trends. Fashion is a game. What is in one season will be out just as quickly. Celebrities, models and the ordinary women get caught up in fashion trends that are (let’s be honest) ghastly!! The simplest way to avoid these fashion faux pas is to not follow trends or fashion. Cultivate your own style with good pieces, assimilate trends (like wearing a pink clutch if pink is “in” but no more than that), and move with the times (don’t get stuck wearing the same things you wore at 16 when you’re 30), but do not be a slave to fashion. When you look back at yourself in 10 years time, you’ll be thankful you didn’t buy into the leather mini shorts trend…
- Learn to cook and be a Hostess. The Parisian is the perfect hostess. She strikes the perfect balance between cooking, partying and creating a good atmosphere for her guests. Dinner parties are better than house parties. Home cooking (no matter how simple), is better than a take out.
- Your Home is all about You. Once again, the Parisian doesn’t follow the latest trends. Especially regarding interior design. She doesn’t live in a show home. In her home, you’ll find comfy sofas, tidy kitchens with mismatching plates, lots of books, photographs of holidays, family, and lovers. You may find a furry friend – Parisians love their dogs. Your home should reflect you, and people coming into it should feel they are coming into you. Keep your home tidy and happy and you will always feel like you are in the right place.
- Dress for your body shape. Somehow, women seem to ignore this rule the most. Not the Parisians. They know their body shape. They understand how certain clothes work on their frame. They know exactly which cuts of clothes suit them, and which to avoid. You should know this too. Just because your sister looks great in strapless tops, doesn’t mean you will too. Learn your body shape, and make sure everything you buy suits that shape.
- Enjoy Sex. In the West, we have the image that Sex is bad. Parisians don’t think like that. French women own their sexuality and are proud of it. You should be too. Women are designed to enjoy sex – so why hide that. Take control of your sexuality, let it empower you. Plus, making love burns calories!
If you follow these steps you should cultivate the essence of being a Parisian woman. It doesn’t matter of you’re black, white, short, tall, blond, brunette, lesbian or straight. Any woman can cultivate a Parisian state of mind.
So what are you waiting for? You’re Tres Chic. Do it now!!