If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that my partner Lewis and I are learning French together. This seems to be just another step towards being completely consumed by everything French and/or Paris related, and as a result I recently found myself nosing through HOW TO BE PARISIAN (wherever you are) for the millionth time – so, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite pieces of advice and anecdotes from the all-around-cool-girl manual…
// APHORISMS //
- Don’t be afraid of ageing. As the saying goes, don’t be afraid of anything but fear itself.
- Go to the theatre, to museums and to concerts as often as possible: it gives you a healthy glow.
- Be aware of your qualities and your faults. Cultivate them in private but don’t obsess.
- Take a deep breath and keep it simple.
- Be your own knight in shining armour.
// WHAT YOU WON’T FIND IN HER CLOSET //
- Logos. You are not a billboard.
- UGG boots. Enough said.
- A skimpy top. Because you’re not fifteen anymore.
// YES. BUT NO. BUT YES. //
- She eats a four-cheese pizza but puts Stevia in her coffee.
- She buys very expensive shoes but never polishes them.
- She smokes like a chimney on the way to the countryside to get some fresh air.
- She’s capable of moving mountains but is in constant need of reassurance.
// KISS AND PLAY //
- ‘When it comes to kissing, the Parisienne does it the same way she does everything else: with cinematic flair. Preferably, all kissing should take place in the middle of the street. […] She wants to be unforgettable – both to the man clinging to her lips and to the people passing by.’
// PARISIAN SNOBBISMS //
- Wear navy blue with black. (And red with pink, à la Yves Saint Laurent.)
- When meeting someone for the first time, never say “What a pleasure,” but rather “What a pleasure to meet you.” (You never know what the future might hold.)
- Don’t use abbreviations when texting. (And emoticons should be only for your girlfriends.)
- Don’t follow trends. (Trends follow you.)
- Be friends with people of different generations. (Both young and old, but especially old.)
// THE ESSENTIALS //
- Men’s shoes. Simply because everyone says that these chic, flat shoes aren’t meant for women but you’re a contrarian by nature. In fact, that’s the very essence of your style.
- The little black blazer. It smartens up a scruffy pair of jeans (the ones you wear all the time) and you wear it on days when you don’t want to make it look too obvious that you don’t feel like making an effort.
- The white shirt. It’s iconic and timeless.
// LESS IS MORE //
- ‘The Parisienne never gives too much away. When it comes to revealing herself, she follows one golden rule: less is definitely more.”
// ON A PARISIENNE’S BOOKSHELF //
- The books you so often claim you’ve read that you actually believe you have.
- The books you read in school from which you remember only the main character’s name.
- The art books that you bought yourself and which you really love.
- The books that you think make you cool.
- The books you read over and over again, and that evolve along with your life.
- The books that remind you of someone you loved.
// TAKE YOUR TIME //
- ‘Take the time to talk to the elderly lady next door, to read a book, to walk to work instead of riding the subway when it’s a beautiful day. Take the time to escape for a weekend of friends. […] Take the time to listen and to get to know yourself. Take the time to change, to grow, to rest. Take the time to say yes, take the time to say no. Take the time to be quiet. Take the time to look after your body, to eat well. Take the time to ask yourself who you are and what you want.’
// A MOTHER’S ADVICE ON LOVE //
- Always be prepared, he could be right around the corner.
- Love alone is not enough. You have to work at it.
- Age should never be an excuse to go to bed early.
- Be financially independent, so that you love only for love.
- When you no longer want to love each other, it’s that you’re still in love. When you still want to love each other, it’s that you’ve fallen out of love.
- Just because you have only one life doesn’t mean you should be afraid of wasting it.
// LITTLE BIG TREATS //
- A first edition of a classic. It’s the same story as in the more recent edition, but somehow the pleasure of reading it is not the same at all.
- That rare vintage piece she found on eBay and which she simply cannot live without.
- A romantic night at a hotel. Love is priceless.
- A nice candle, so she can feel the extravagance of a hotel at home – especially since a hotel is often beyond her means.
// ANCESTRAL TIPS //
- Throw coffee grounds down the drain, never the bin. They help degrease and plumbing and remove bad smells.
- New shoes can be slippery. Catwalk pros cut up the soles with a knife – but rubbing them with a raw potato works just as well.
- Keep a pumice stone in your bathroom. Scrub your feet at least once a week to ensure they are always soft.
Believe it or not, this is only a taster form one of my favourite little Parisienne handbooks, and some super helpful tips and boosts in confidence for me to take around on a daily basis!
*This post was inspired by Thistle Harvest.