I fell in love with Paris before I had ever been, but after my visits my love has turned into an obsession. I love everything about it, it feels whimsical and magical and the streets are filled with history and style. The food is the best in the world, my diet basically consists of cheese and bread with hot chocolate, so it really is ideal for me. I have read books about French style, French parenting and how to live life like a chic French woman so I can try my best to emulate and create the perfect blend of Paris and Scotland road. So here’s what I have learnt…
How to dress like you’re French, or more importantly like you’re Parisian
It might have taken me a while to realise (flash back ten years ago to society when I wore orange tights with gold slingback platforms) … but less is definitely more. Fashion is supposed to look comfortable first, if it doesn’t it doesn’t look good. Shoes you can’t walk in, and standing in ques for clubs in winter with no coat isn’t just impractical, it’s not stylish. If your dressing for a date, you want to appear that you haven’t made much effort. In fact this is good look for all occasions, and something Parisians have nailed. You want your makeup to be minimal, but highlight your natural beauty. Your hair should be clean and styled, but still slightly messy and undone. Your outfit should be comfortable and something you already own so you feel like yourself. Jeans and a shirt, or an off the shoulder knit is always a good look, it’s classic. Showing your collarbone leaves something for the imagination, you want to keep hold of your allure for as long as you can its what holds your mystery. A first date should always be coffee, food is too much of a commitment, alcohol gives you rose tinted glasses and this way you can ditch your date if they don’t tick the boxes. Harsh but life is short, why waste time.
“You don’t have to spend a decade’s worth of salary on your wardrobe, or flaunt designer brands the whole time. All you need is one signature item: the one you wear when you need to feel strong.” From How to be Parisian Wherever you go.
How to live..
When I was in Cafe de Flore on my last trip to Paris, I sat people watching and noticed a drastic difference between the French and the English. (I have noticed this in Spain also, but this blog post is about how to be French not how to be Spanish). The French seem to live life the way life should be lived. The pace is slower, calmer and chicer. People are fully engaged in conversation, allot of the cafes don’t play music but people entertain themselves with the art of conversation. It sounds quite simple but it’s something I think we have lost, and has contributed to my love hate relationship with iPhones. In the book how to be Parisian it says you should immerse yourself in various aspects of life, take a cookery class, learn another language, find a new hobby. Fill your time with enriching life experiences and be fully present when your doing them. Be a tourist in your own city, go to all of the museums in one month, visit the library, read a book you would never normally read.
How to act..
The Parisian is a walking contradiction, which makes me feel better because I know I am myself. Aren’t all women? I was described by my friend as the jigest Vegan going. This is OK because she is the jigest Vegetarian. We both eat strict Vegan/Vegetarian diets Monday to Friday but on the weekend we indulge in a complete cow festival. I am looking for a pair of Dr Martens the vegan kind, I want to buy more ethical products. My friend goes off her head if you put a can in the normal bin and not in the recycling but we both wear a fur coat in the winter. What you stand for doesn’t have to be right by anyone else, they are your views and it’s your life, so do what feels true to you and own it.. It doesn’t matter if it’s not logical, follow your heart. We don’t require logic for romance, poetry, love or rebellion, and these are some of the best things in life.
How to be a parent..
I can’t exactly give advice on parenting because I don’t have a child. I did inherit a cat, and it died about a month later but in my defence it was old. But from what I have read on the art of French parenting the French have a child in one hand and a glass of red in the other. Also from watching my friend who has mastered being a mum and also being a young woman, I have learnt a vital piece of information that I intend to take with me into motherhood if I ever embark on that journey. You were here first. Don’t get lost and all consumed in the child, the child becomes and adult and what are you left with? It’s important of course to look after your child, but don’t lose yourself in the process. When I was a child my mum would go out every Saturday night, she went on trips without me but I was always well looked after. She had her own life that didn’t include me where she done adult things and when we went on holiday she would regularly chose the nicer hotel that didn’t have a kids club. I had an excellent childhood, and I was very loved but you have to love yourself first before you can love anyone else and that’s what I intend to do.
How to age..
Plastic surgery is something you wouldn’t talk about in France, if you have something done it should be subtle, and you should still look like you. I have lip fillers but I don’t get allot because I don’t want to look like a duck, and at the moment I am not really for Botox. Everyone wants to look like the best version of themselves, but it’s not the only important thing in life. Finding a balance between doing what you can to look well and stay young, and enjoying your life is in my opinion key, and in alignment with French beauty values. I now have grey hairs and fine lines, and my first reaction was to panic. Our culture has drummed into us that ageing is a negative thing that should be avoided at all costs. But I think older French women look sophisticated, wise and interesting. Implement a skincare routine, exercise doing something you enjoy and eat well. But also concentrate on staying young at heart, keep learning and being open to new ideas. That’s what really keeps you young.
Listen to Bridget Bardot Contact
Go to Petit Cafe Du Coin on Berry St. and drink red wine or a Parisian hot chocolate
Buy a beret from &Other Stories
Learn French at Tailored French Tutoring
Buy a croissant from The Artisan Bakery
Wear red lipstick, MAC’s Ruby Woo is recommended by Vogue Beauty.