Secrets of French Style

While I was traveling through France with my family this summer, I was struck by how chic the women were. Yes, I know they’ve got a reputation for it, but it’s really true—the Frenchwomen always looked put together in an effortless sort of way, whether I encountered them at the crack of dawn buying croissants at the local patisserie or late at night at a lively brasserie. So what’s the secret? I reached out to Tish Jett, an ex-pat style writer and author of Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance, to find out—and turns out their secrets are the same tips I’ve been advocating for years. To wit:

Clinton Kelly French Style

1. Own it.

Outer beauty and inner beauty are connected. Confidence is a Frenchwoman’s biggest charm, and that comes not only from accepting her own unique characteristics (don’t you dare call them flaws!) and enhancing the assets she’s got. “A Frenchwoman would never ask a man if he thought she looked fat!” says Jett. Making the effort to improve your appearance, whether that’s wearing makeup or splurging on a killer pair of heels, isn’t selfish, it’s directly connected to your self-worth!

Clinton Kelly French Style

2. Pick your pros.

Forget what you see in magazines and TV: If you want good advice, hit up an expert—and then listen to them! “Start young, before you have any problems, so you know who to turn to when you do,” says Jett. Ask your dermatologist about skincare, your GP about nutrition and fitness tips, your tailor or a personal shopper (some better department stores offer one for free) about fit, and your friend with the amazing hair/skin/accessory collection about her secrets.

Clinton Kelly French Style

3. Form a habit.

Turn discipline into routine, then reframe it as indulgence. Let’s face it, a lot of those things you’re supposed to do—exfoliating, getting regular haircuts, working out—take time. But ultimately, these are things you’re doing for yourself, and the longterm benefits outweigh the incremental costs. So put them in your schedule, then focus on really enjoying them: exfoliate in a long shower on a Friday night in, schedule that trim so your hair looks perfect before a night out and use that workout to catch up on your favorite podcasts.

Clinton Kelly French Style

4. Temperance, darling.

The most ho-hum of all, but Tish asserts: She’s never seen a Frenchwoman drunk at a party. It’s all about moderation. Crash dieting or drinking to excess, wearing too much makeup, throwing on too many trends at once—all these things ultimately will make you look and feel worse. A big part of that is learning to say no. “Moderation is a reflex. Say no to a second piece of chocolate because you savored the one you just ate,” says Jett.

Clinton Kelly French Style

5. Be fascinated… and fascinating.

Don’t let work, a baby or reality TV keep you from being an interesting person. Take the time to read, check out cultural events and travel, so that the next time you’re at a dinner party—or stuck in an elevator with your boss—you’re dazzling them not just with your beauty, but with your charm, too. “The most alluring French women are not great beauties, they are women of substance,” says Jett.

Secrets of French Style

When you're walking home from work on a beautiful fall evening and you think, "A delicious cappuccino would make my life complete right now." Then you realize it's 5:00 and you're too old for that shit.

You know what's awesome? When you're super-excited to meet someone and she turns out to be just as smart and sweet and chic as you hoped she'd be. That's Danai Gurira, whom you might know as Michonne on The Walking Dead! Tune into @abcthechew tomorrow to see us have some fun in the kitchen! #twd #thechew #fanboy

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