Monday, July 4, 2011

Guest Post: French Chic Rules

A dear friend of mine wrote this piece which I wanted to share with you. It follows on from my last post. Enjoy.

French Chic Rules, by Coco:

After reading Fiona's post this morning, it gave me inspiration. A question was answered on how to maintain French Chic and a wonderful answer followed. It was brilliant because it's different for all of us, and what inspired the change in this woman first is what Fiona steered her back to for more inspiration. This is so true!

For me, hands down it was first the book Entre Nous, then the French Chic group, then I found Anne Barone. Other books followed after that, but these were the triggers for me, the ones that got me truly excited. It was like opening another door that showed it's possible to live this way. I think it changed me forever, (in my mind). Implementing those changes into my daily life has been much harder than I thought it would be.

This post will explain why I'm going to once and for all make permanent changes in my own life that align with French Chic rules. These are my rules. They may be different for someone else, but I'm choosing what is important to me.

What I've learned is that French Chic is more than a mental epiphany that you agree with. If you want to live it, you must decide and then take small daily steps toward that goal. It's not a grand sweeping gesture or a one-time makeover.

There is never a perfect time when the stars will align for your start date. If you are resolved to stand on your own and live this lifestyle, you must give in to daily effort. Effort needs to be planned, scheduled and eventually, bad habits will be replaced with good ones. It's all about finding your own personal road map.

For me, it's been very stop and go and that doesn't work. This all or nothing approach is like dieting, you either are on it, or you are not. It's temporary if you are not resolved to personal change for good. I have finally realized I'm going for a permanent lifestyle change. Change takes a bit of reprogramming, especially as women who tend to analyze and think too much.

I feel like I'm on the verge of something great and important to me. It's as if there is hope and a chance to improve my life in ways that truly matter to me. I'm ready to be honest and kick my bad habits to the curb. I'm ready to reclaim my life and live exactly how I want to live, down to the last details. It will require giving up some things that comfort me. Here are just a few of my bad habits, consider yourself warned:

-being lazy-couch surfing-watching too much reality tv-hiding behind my fat-letting trashy influences in my life-gossip-anger-fear-pity-eating junk food-eating fast food-eating out too much-shopping out of boredom and with no real plan-worrying what others think-fear of criticism-bad grooming habits-frumpiness-being ordinary-dressing safe-boring shoes-not having a signature look-rarely going out-instant gratification-not finishing projects-not having a hobby-eating in front of the tv-eating in secret-overspending on impulse-not participating in life-not seeking pleasure-insecurity-sporadic flossing :)-in general a lack of regular maintenance-lack of exercise-and the list goes on and on and on and on...

Each and every one of these could be a post on its own. This is important to me, as if my future depends on it. Before I always thought French Chic was something I could dabble in, but never become. Now I get it, I can change if I really want to. It's sort of like bringing your Inner French Girl to the forefront of your life and morphing into her. She's not someone you keep hidden away only to prance her out every once in a while. What's the use in keeping your best hidden?

My first role model is Coco Chanel pictured above. I admire her drive and determination to create a life. She had her own look, her own ideas, and she didn't waver. She fought for her own vision and was successful. She also overcame a tragic childhood to become a confident strong woman. I think she had fantastic instincts.


  1. That's interesting...I think it was "Entre Nous" that was the light-bulb for me too and then through JNSQ/French Group I found Anne Barone (she is on my blog roll). But yes, when I read "Entre Nous" I felt like I was reading about the person I was on the inside. Until I read that book, I wondered why it was so hard for me to connect with the average woman (who likes to shop, drives a mini-van, spoke loudly, lived vicariously through her own children,was interested in tabloids, had no individuality, seeminly gets a buzz or more energy from being the center of attention or around other people, etc). I thought something was wrong with "me" because I was so different (weird?) from most other women. After I read that book, then subsequently Barone's books, I knew who I wanted to be...MOI! I am OK with setting boundaries and saying no. I don't want to run with the crowd. I don't want to have a fake hair color and fake nails. I don't have to have the latest greatest thing to feel "complete". I don't care about the latest craze or feel the need to advertise my favorite brand on my butt. I want to have meaningful conversations and experiences with others who have widened viewpoints, who can see the big picture...or another picture entirely. Oui, I definitely had the parts and sums of an "inner French girl (woman)"...but I had also had other "parts" that needed to mesh with her (afterall, I am born and raised in the USA so how can I be French?). So it is about taking the steps forward to realize the full potential of that French girl but at the same time not becoming someone you aren't. I hope you enjoy the process of change and letting your mental epiphany work out who you truly are. xxBliss

  2. Bliss, that's what makes it fun and unique for all of us - blending in our own culture with parts of other cultures that we admire. I love being a Kiwi, but with my own French-flavoured style.

  3. Great food for thought.

    I think the term "French Chic" is too often thought of as a fashion term, not a lifestyle. In fact, I used to think that myself. But your guest poster is correct when says, "French Chic is more than a mental epiphany that you agree with. If you want to live it, you must decide and then take small daily steps toward that goal. It's not a grand sweeping gesture or a one-time makeover."

    I'm slowly learning that it (French Chic) is not something you wear, like the latest trend - simply putting it on and taking it off when you feel inclined. It's a WAY of living that encompasses all aspects of your life from how you physically present yourself to how you treat others to how you create your living space.

    Very interesting post....too bad your friend doesn't have a blog of her own so we could read about her progress/transformation. Or does she??

    xo, A

  4. A friend of mine is a dietician. Her advice for transforming one's life for the better is to attempt one change a week. She feels it's the most one can process wholly. While it seems a little, it adds up to 52 new and better habits a year. I have one to start this week: waking up at 6 am or earlier.

  5. Adrienne, no sadly she doesn't.

    I like that 'French Chic' is a total package. When I read magazine articles about someone stylish I love picking up little details about how they live their life, not just what they look like.

  6. Aesthetic Alterations, I like your friend's advice. I want to be better about my bedtime and wakeup time too. That's a good thing to focus on this week.

  7. I am pretty new to your blog, and I really enjoy it. I will have to read "Entre Nous." I understand that French Chic is more than a look, it is a lifestyle, but if I may, I am curious about what the makeup look is for French Chic, if there is one. I consider myself a minimalist when it comes to makeup anyway. Any help is appreciated. Thanks

  8. Fiona, is there any way to subscribe to your blog by email?

  9. Anonymous 1, French women are famous for the no makeup look, yet they are wearing makeup. Simple, neutral shades applied with a light hand, and well-groomed brows. Red lips, if that suits your style, would be the only addition of bright colour.

    Anonymous 2, I have just added a gadget to my sidebar at the top, for email subscription.

  10. Thank you Fiona and thank you to your friend for putting into words exactly how I feel. The italics especially could have been written by me.

    I intend to print the italicised paragraph to remind me of the direction I don't want to go down...I've been taking that path for way too long. Believe me, the destination of that road is definately not French Chic.

  11. In France, I saw every French girl that their diet? Simple food is fine, cigarettes to be thin are not!

  12. Camomile, I was thinking what my own italicised list would look like and it wouldn't make pretty reading. It was very brave of Coco to let us see hers. I think by writing it down though, you can see the habits that you wish to change. If I wouldn't want people to know about something I do, then perhaps I could work on not doing it?

    Anonymous, maybe they do. I don't smoke and don't plan to take it up just because many French people smoke. I take my favourite bits of the Paris gir's life and adapt them to suit me. And I freely admit that my French girl is entirely idealised and serves no other purpose than to inspire me to be my best.

  13. It is so true French chic is a lifestyle. In my opinion simple but not easy. Now we are living 3 to 4 months in the South of France I see it everywhere and am beginning to learn how it is done. Starting with a proper lunch, always from 12.30 to 2.00 with a properly laid table. If I were to define it I would say attention to detail and planning would define it. Less is more from food to fashion.

  14. Josephine (Chicatanyage), thank you for your observations. I love everything you've written, especially 'attention to detail' and 'planning'. Merci!

  15. French Chic is almost a religion in France :)
    Coco Chanel was a fashion avant-gardiste in the 20th century... Her influence shouldn't be underestimated.

  16. You talk about the French Chic Club. What is it? I thought it may be a book, but have looked on Amazon & they have nothing on there.

  17. Hi Lynsey,

    There is a French Chic Yahoo group that I belong to, that may be what you've read about on my blog? There is no book or actual club by that name that I know of (but there should be! I'd definitely join). Here is the French Chic Yahoo group address: You have to register but it's free. I've not participated in a long time but if you want to join, start right at the very first post and have a read. There are many, many posts there from lots of women like us and some wonderful gems of information within!

  18. Fabulous. Thank you

  19. This is a good post. I find myself pinning hundreds of things on Pinterest when it would be better if I would just find one good thing and actually get off the sofa and DO IT.

    1. That's always my challenge too, Anonymous :) I tell myself it's research.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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