Understanding French chic

November 20, 2008 suesbent
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What is it about French women that make them so stylish? How can other women attain that certain something? Is it inherited beauty? Attitude? The ability to choose the right fashion? In her book Two lipsticks and a lover, Helena Frith Powell studies and tries to pinpoint just how French women achieve that feminine charm. two_lipsticks_and_a_lover_powell


Helena Frith Powell is an English woman who moved to France with her young family. She was immediately struck by the way French women behaved and dressed and this book, published in 2005, is the result of her studies. This book is informative and funny and well worth reading if you also wish to enlist some Frenchness into your life.


These are some of the observations she made:

  • French women never drink to excess.
  • French women only wear running shoes when they are exercising and never anywhere else.
  • French women don’t believe in exercising. They don’t like to sweat. But they do a lot of walking, running around, cycling, etc. as part of their daily activities.
  • French style means to make an effort at all times and not to skimp on the details.
  • French women always wear good quality well-fitted matching underwear. “If your underwear isn’t right, nothing else works.” ~ Chantal Thomass
  • French women control their eating and meal portion sizes and never snack.
  • French women look after their skin by twice daily facials at home with good quality skin care products. “To erase the passage of time is a mistake. The most beautiful thing in a face is expressions. It’s better to have a few wrinkles than a face with no emotions.” ~ Elisabeth Bourgine
  • French women believe they are beautiful and this attitude is apparent in their expression, movement and posture.
  • French women try to retain their mystery when it comes to sex and are never blatant.
  • French women read well and widely as intelligence is seen as a mark of beauty. “The French are persuaded that the enjoyment of beauty and the exercise of critical intelligence are two of the best things worth living for.” ~ Edith Wharton


Helena says, “French women don’t believe in sweating so they don’t exercise. But they do a lot of running around. Just walking around one of the French department stores is the equivalent of a three-mile hike. And then there’s the effort of taking your clothes off and putting them on again to try others on. Exhausting. I reckon it’s possible to burn at least 200 calories an hour, as well as £200.”


On the strength of this I purchased some new matching well-fitted underwear, and some good skin care products, and did not renew my gym membership. I have been either walking or cycling to work. I am wearing dresses more often and I am amazed at the improvement in the service I receive when shopping just because I am a little better dressed.


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One Comment Add your own

  • 1. Entre nous « French&hellip  |  December 16, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    […] found this book mildly interesting, however “Two Lipsticks and a Lover” by Helena Frith Powell I enjoyed reading more. Ollivier does offer some great resources for further reading, watching, […]

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