Manuel Antonio will be published soon! I promise! But, in the meantime, I wanted to share with you a passage from the book I’m reading; Chic & Slim : How Those Chic French Women Eat All That Rich Food And Still Stay Slim.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not in a self loathing mood here. Quite the opposite, actually. This book has been tucked away on my kindle shelf for awhile and since I have unlimited time for catching up on RHONYC and reading all the books on my list, I figured it was time. I was also curious if this book might tell me how I could eat cheese every day and not gain a pound!
While awaiting the rule on how to enjoy gruyère on the regular, I came across this little snippet. I instantly felt the need to share the love because I believe in the beauty of self assurance.
Personal Style: An Approach to Life
For years I have saved a full page advertisement from an issue of the French Elle. Actually, the advertisement is for another French woman’s magazine Femme Pratique,that bills itself: Le magazine des femmes qui vont bien, merci (The magazine for women who are doing well, thank you).
A slim young woman sits on a park bench, her bicycle leaning against the back. She is happily biting into a large reliqiuse, my favorite of the French pâtisseries. (A similar cream puff atop a larger one and all this frosted with chocolate or coffee icing and set atop a round base of sweet pastry.) The caption reads: Une femme pratique connâit ses faiblesses, c’est sa force (An experienced woman knows her weaknesses, it’s her strength).
Self-knowledge enables French women to create a personal style that goes beyond clothes. Fashion is about clothes. But personal style is about an approach to life.
Personal style is makeup, hairstyle, a signature perfume, how a woman walks, talks, gazes at the man across the table, the tone of her voice, the words she chooses, her choices in books, films, music, how she spends her time, decorates her home, cooks, how and what she eats. Personal style is interior as well as exterior. Personal style is how a French woman feels about herself.
Self-knowledge comes from careful analysis and artful effort, from beginning at an early age to decide what kind of person one is, and what kind of life one wants. Self-knowledge comes from spending long hours in front of a mirror deciding what feature to emphasize, which ones require clever distraction.
American women feel great pressure to look like a popular actress or fashion icon. Though she may pick a role model and study her, a French woman does not want to look like anyone else. She wants to define her uniqueness and showcase it. No French woman is thought to be “finished” until she is at least 30. Once she develops her personal style, she sticks with it, refines it, evolves it into something splendid by mid-life. That personal style keeps her attractive for the rest of her life.
Self assurance comes with age but I do believe that American women could work on navigating every stage in life with greater positivity. We are so quick to judge or put others down but we’re all doing our best to explore and create a great life for ourselves. That requires encouragement and love. We are all beautiful inside and out.
Your approach to life is beautiful and worthy of being celebrated.