I’ve decided to become more French. By pedigree, I’m not even a pinch French, but I read “Lessons from Madame Chic – 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris” and have become fascinated with a lifestyle that seems elegantly simple. You know I’ve always been a fan of classic and understated, so I say Oui!
I ordered Madame Chic from Amazon.com after we signed up for Amazon Prime. AP is a dangerous thing. Once you get that “free shipping” breezy sort of feel in your hair, everything seems like a great deal and it’ll be on your doorstep in just a day or two, so why not order it? That’s how Madame Chic came to be in my mailbox at work. Honestly, I expected a superficial mindless read just a rung above a Cosmo article, and I was okay with that. I was pleasantly, sweetly, surprised. Yes, this book contains chapters such as “Find Your True Style” and “Practice the Art of Femininity,” – GASP – but author Jennifer L. Scott also talks about valuing quality, rejecting the new materialism, and enjoying life by living it and not by trying to win the “I have the biggest or the most” contest we seem to get caught up in here in the U.S. Don’t get me wrong, the book has that Cosmo-esque skin care and fashion fluff, but there’s some meat to it as well.
The key to enjoying entertaining is to be genuine, warm, and not obsess over every minute detail. People love to socialize and to be invited, and they are in your home because they like you. Enjoy the company of your dear friends over deliciously simple food and drink and enjoy that often. Treat yourself, your family, and your guests with respect and delight in using the good China – every day – or at least every time you entertain. Why not? What are you saving it for? There is a chapter about simplifying your life by reducing your wardrobe to 10 items. Yes, 10 items!
The underlying message is to enjoy life, and as cliche as it has become, to not sweat the small stuff. Take care of yourself, and understand what really matters – family, friends, good health, and cultivating the best of each in a joyous way. Sign me up!
I started with the wardrobe issue. Although I doubt I’ll ever have a 10-item wardrobe, I have done some major thinning of the textile herd. I purchased a few quality items that I previously would have left on the rack solely based on price. No more cotton sweaters that fade and pill after three washes. Merino wool or cashmere please. If I own just a few sweaters, the cost is not such a big deal. Two merino wools will last me years vs. 25 cotton sweaters each lasting a season. And the quality fabrics feel luxurious…I feel like I’m really treating myself to something special. I’m okay with wearing the same outfits each week. I used to feel that I had to wear something different every day of the month. If it fits well, looks great, and makes me feel beautiful, then I would rather wear that each week than something new each day that doesn’t necessarily live up to those standards. Makes sense to me. Kudos to Ms. Scott – a lovely little book with precious smart advice and a fashionably fabulous “moral of the story” to boot!
Another French-like quality I’m trying to embrace is to finally, for the first time in my life, wear a big girl perfume. I’ve always used whatever body spray from Target or Bath & Body Works. Love the light and fresh scents, but a few spritzes stay with me maybe three hours. By lunch time I can’t detect even a trace. So on the prowl I went for my signature scent. Those of you who know me, know I have a tough time with fragrance. So much of it gives me a headache, or smells manufactured to me. I want something that smells like roses, or honeysuckle. Period. Not roses with a hint of sandalwood and musk and just a trace of patchouli. Blah. My nose was offended my most everything I sniffed. And I sniffed a lot and on several occasions. I would leave the store with a headache. Alas, I found what I hope becomes my signature scent…Dahlia Noir by Givenchy. I’m sure it’s every bit as manufactured as any other, but it has a sweet, clean scent that spoke to me. And it didn’t give me a headache.
Ken and I are going to a fundraising cocktail party this evening and I’ll wear my big girl perfume for the first time. Look at me all grown up! Or should I say, smell me all grown up! Ha!