I recently have read a series of popular books on the legendary elegance, fashion sense, and over all charm of French women. Most of the books I have looked through were very one-dimensional and overall silly in the way they generalized the culture with statements like “All French women do … .” I was getting irritated at the cardboard cutout image of French fashion that took on mythic proportions while making American women sound fat and genetically inferior. That is all until I came upon this book.
“Forever Chic” by Tish Jett is a well-written survey of French culture that highlights the strengths that brings so much admiration while dispelling myths such as “French women don’t go to the gym”. The author is an American journalist who moved to France, married a Frenchman and ended up living in France for the next 25 years. This book is well researched and gives generalization based off of surveys of French friends, advice from French experts, and observations from years of blogging about French fashion. This book is about aging gracefully for “women of a certain age”, but a younger woman like myself can find loads of great advice for one’s style now. Even though there are chapters on hair, make-up, skin care, clothes, and accessories, the general theme of the book is that French elegance is characterized more by the self-confidence, enjoyment of life, engaging manners, and self-expression that all women could possess but often don’t. By the end of this book I felt proud to be a woman: unique, intelligent, and beautiful. Instead of feeling like a frumpy American, I wanted to go through my closet and see what treasures I own to enhance my own charm. In response to her discussion about the ideal French woman being a charming woman who excels at the art of conversation, I think my next book will be focused on improving my ability in that area. This was such a great book and I highly recommend it!