On our first visit to Paris in 2007, the thing that struck me immediately was what a visually beautiful city it is. It was the architecture, yes, but it was also the attention to detail, the effort to make even the most public, utilitarian spaces as aesthetically pleasing as possible that brought home how the French culture values creating beauty as a greater good. Beauty brings pleasure, and beauty is meant to be enjoyed by all. No wonder art and fashion flourished here. I was also struck by how well les Parisiens were dressed…not just the women but the men and children too. Not exceptionally trendy or fashionable, in most cases, but well put-together.
So it seems only natural that as much as the French value beauty, they would be at the forefront of developing products and practices to keep us looking our best. Tish Jett’s new book, Forever Chic: Frenchwomen’s Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance delves into skin and hair care, diet and exercise, style and substance, and all from the French perspective that yes, the years go by but bien sur we want to maintain and enhance our allure. Tish has done considerable research and as an American living in France, explores options from the most exclusive cosmetic surgery to drugstore products to simple, do-able nutrition and exercise routines that will help us remain vital, healthy and engaged.
“Forever Chic” is much like the French women it describes: charming, witty, alluring, but knowledgeable and substantive. Yet it doesn’t come across as “you must do this/you mustn’t do that” advice; it’s about presenting the best of French skincare, diet, beauty routines and style tips in a way that allows for adapting to our individual tastes and lifestyle. The book is well written, personal, and feels like getting great tips from a good friend over a cup of tea.
While she does cover high-end cosmetic procedures and shopping, Tish stresses that French women find their best beauty secrets at the corner pharmacie and score stylish options at Monoprix, the very French version of Target. (Every time I meet up with Tish in Paris, we schedule a shopping trip to Monoprix, and trust me, she always finds the best stuff!)
Whether or not you subscribe to and admire the particularly Parisienne style, I think we can all benefit from the skincare, hair care and style tips that Tish shares in Forever Chic. And I do believe one of the most important aspects of maintaining our allure and joie de vivre is in being interested, informed and engaged in the wider world around us, something French women seem to understand instinctively (or perhaps it’s the French cultural history of salons and tradition of vigorous discourse about politics, the arts, history and current events that has become a part of their DNA). Truly, it’s this kind of broader focus that makes us more alive, more vital, more alluring.
While we may not have access to those wonderful French pharmacies, many of the skin care products that Tish recommends in the book can be found online.
(I’ve used every one of these at Tish’s recommendation, and recommend them all in turn.)
And for those of you who have read this far, I have have a treat….I’ve purchased two extra copies of Forever Chic to give away to two lucky readers!! Just leave a comment in this post to enter. I’ll draw the winners at random from comments one week from today and announce on Friday November 15.
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