Along with the rest of instagram, I read the book “How to be a Parisian” this year and fell in love. The title alone had sold me the book within a matter of seconds, but the content only grew my love for France and all things French (to the point of obsession). If you haven’t read the book already, I can strongly recommend it as a great read but also just a staple bookshelf resident that will stay with you for years to come. Below are some of my favourite lessons from the book in how to be a Parisian (i.e. how to be as sophisticated yet unnervingly cool as French women). I hope you enjoy!
Step one: Play it cool
French women are sophisticated, yet without the effort of being so. They are effortless, self aware, complex but simple on the surface.
Memorable line from the book: “no one should ever see your gums when you talk or laugh”.
Step two: Don’t try to be perfect
Being a Parisian is all about being an anti-perfectionist. You’re stylish but with your own quirks, your hair is natural and follows its own orders, your face has flaws but you wear them with pride.
Memorable line from the book: “She buys very expensive shoes but never polishes them.”
Step three: Master your outfits
Two words: Simple. Chic. Your every day outfit consists of jeans, comfortable shoes, a cashmere sweater & shades in the summer time.
Memorable line from the book: “The white shirt. It’s iconic and timeless”.
Step four: Black, Grey, White are your new favourite “colours”
Sure, they’re technically shades. But a Parisian would never overuse colour. Ever. Why? That’s just plain blasphemy!
Memorable line from the book: “Less is more.”
Step five: Be independent
A Parisian would never think twice about heading to the bakery or supermarché alone. In fact, what better way to spend some time to yourself!
Memorable line from the book: “The Parisienne never gives too much away.”
Step six: Find your signature Scent
Because to break down a man, you’ll need a hypnotic poison (which can quite literally be arranged thanks to Christian Dior!)
Memorable line from the book: “Rule number one: DENY, DENY, DENY.”
Step seven: Never commit a Faux Pas
Overusing teeth whitener, overplucking your eyebrows, altering your natural beauty permanently… these are all considered to be fax pas (that is, a blunder in conduct).
Memorable line from the book: “The Parisienne is particularly strict about her set of codes. These faux pas whether they be intellectual or sartorial, are to be avoided at all costs…”.
Step eight: Be well versed in French Classics
That be of the French recipe classics – crepes, creme brûlée, mayonnaise… you get the drill. One should never serve a store bought classic when one can display her culinary skills.
Memorable line from the book: “[A Parisienne]… has a few tricks up her sleeves that she never shares with anyone”.
Step nine: Wear less make up, the right way
Parisians have a very minimal approach to make-up, but the cosmetics products they do wear are applied with such precision and expertise that they merely act to enhance their natural beauty, not chance their look entirely.
Memorable line from the book: “She goes to great lengths for a pedicure but wear mismatched underwear”.
Step ten: Eat Croissants
Croissant eating is a cliché that just so happens to be true. So true that you have the given right to eat croissants at any time of day, any day of the week, every day of the year if you so wish!
Memorable line from the book: “The Parisienne loves to eat those crescent-shaped pastries that ooze butter and leave tiny flakes all over your face”.