A Guidebook To Being Chic

It feels somewhat fitting that New York Fashion Week wrapped up yesterday and I finished book #61 today. I read How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas.

Since moving to New York City, I’ve realized that people here are really beautiful. I moved in the middle of August, perfect timing for my hair to be larger than Lady Liberty’s and covered in a constant sweat sheen when I stepped foot outside. Somehow, people here maintain style. So I got this book because I thought it sounded funny and I figured there would be a style tip or two worth remembering.

And it was very funny and provided ample style advice. I’ve never been to Europe (someday) but I’ve always been fascinated by stories of rude Parisians. This book attempted to explain the enigma that is the Parisian woman through a jumble of natural beauty secrets, excerpts from Parisian conversations, recipes for intimate dinner parties, and more.

The book was in the same vein as the recently-finished It by Alexa Chung, but with more substance. Still, not a ton of literary merit but a really fun read with some actual useful advice. From this book, I gathered that:

  • simple is best
  • it’s important to smell good
  • avoid brand labels
  • drink red wine, champagne, vodka, and coffee (why aren’t Parisians dehydrated?)
  • don’t take yourself too seriously
  • to love love is more important than staying true to one love
  • black and navy blue are best
  • invest in a pair of sunglasses, and…
  • it’s okay to be a little selfish, arrogant, late, withdrawn, as long as you know yourself and can appreciate what truly matters

There was more, but that’s an overview. There were also plenty of beautiful photographs and drawings throughout, which made it a quick read. I might recommend waiting for the paperback to save yourself some money, but I did really like this book and would recommend it.

And while it didn’t directly help my large hair/excessive sweating problem (← not a Parisian thing to admit to), there was a recipe for a simple hair mask. It could be a start. ◊

Talk to everyone in the same tone of voice, whether it’s your parents, the taxi driver, your boss, a celebrity you met at a bar, or the newspaper vendor on the corner.”

– page 183, “How to Spend a Parisian Week”

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