How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are

the-dreamers-bertolucci-eva-green10When you think Parisian, does the image of a woman effortlessly wearing a white shirt with black sunglasses and eating a baguette come to mind? How accurate is that image? After reading How to be Parisian wherever you are: Love, Style and Bad habits by the four lovely ladies Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret and Sophie Mas, I was delightfully enlightened and charmed.Of course, not all the words should be taken seriously, as they quietly suggest you to never talk or laugh with your gums showing, to never wear your glasses, especially if you’re nearsighted and to wear a black bra underneath your white blouse, like two notes on a sheet of music.

Virtues Of The Signature Item. A signature item is the one you wear when you need to feel strong. It may be a trench coat, a pair of stilettos (although not for those like me who can’t walk long in heels), or a leather purse. For me, a signature item is the one I feel most comfortable, but stylish in. This section of the book says Make sure to keep the rest of your outfit simple, so as to avoid looking like a Christmas tree. Which is a friendly reminder to let the outfit speak for itself, and let the signature item be the focus. The signature item is an attitude. It is the gun your holster that makes you feel well dress and invincible

Au Naturel. Is what appears natural, a lot of effort that has been created to create an effortless look? The skin should look natural. Avoid using foundation, as the skin of your face should treated as a canvas. They suggest moisturising the skin, using concealer or a BB cream then a few strokes of mascara to accentuate your eyes. There is a certain simplicity that creates a natural charm. The Parisienne retains her little imperfections, cherishes them even (the gap in her smile of her slightly crooked tooth, her prominent eyebrows or strong nose): these are the signs of a certain strngth of character and allow her to feel beautiful without being perfect. 

The Essentials. Jeans for anytime, anywhere, and anyway. Men’s shoes because they’re chic. The bag that fills all your needed things. The little black blazer that smartens up a scruffy pair of jeans. Ballet flats as they’re simple but easy to match. A small silk scarf to add a touch of colour (which makes me wonder when was the last time I wore a silk scarf). The white shirt, it’s iconic and timeless. A long trench and a thick scarf. An oversized sweater that slips off your shoulder. Basic oversized sunglasses even when it rains. An oversized shirt for a casual look, and a very simple t-shirt. 

Save Your Skin The relationship that binds you to your skin is the fruit of a lifelong education. In France, nobody cares that much about makeup, it’s what underneath that matters. It should look natural, and show your face rather than hide it. Skincare is extremely important, more so than makeup. Moisturise the skin to keep it hydrated, and less is more when it comes to wearing daily makeup. Make the most of what nature gives you, and what every experience you have, your skin retains the memory. Never go to bed without taking off all of your makeup. 

Women In Black The wardrobe is made of only black clothes, but not because one is mourning. I suppose this was written with a touch of sarcasm and possible truth in the sense that black is a closet staple. Although, I can relate to it in the sense that most of my wardrobe is indeed black or navy blue. Black is the color of celebration, the color of nights that never end, of women who pull the blinds to shut out the dawn. It’s a dress code that can be found on the streets past midnight. Yves Saint Laurent used to say “There’s not one black, but many blacks.”Black is comfortable and all-purpose.

The Best Version Of Yourself A person’s face tells a story. Through the experiences and the way we change, they become our visual identity. Parisian women never try to appear to be something other than what they are. The desire of wanting to look young, can only be a fleeting illusion. We will all grow older, and no one can have a face free of wrinkles forever. There is more desire to become the best possible version of yourself, inside and out, whatever your age. Enjoy the face you have today. It’s the one you’ll wish you have ten years from now. 

Photography from The Dreamers (2003) | Italics from the Book

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