The Parisian Woman - a Lifestyle...
Paris may be a moveable feast, but she is also a Woman. And, what a woman at that! Known throughout the world for her many charms, the Parisian woman's lifestyle is still a formula many are trying to perfect and craft into their daily routines.
This week's blog was not written alone. Many of the ideas and tips offered here are delivered not only by myself, but by Danyel, Sharyn, Phyllis, Pamela, Lisa, June, Ellen, Linda, Beeta, Donna, Natalie, and Yesenia...to whom this post is dedicated in Parisian chic spirit.
You, ladies, are the epitome of that Parisian "je ne sais quoi" and grace. You are treasured friends and you are the heartbeat of the Parisian Niche. Merci...
Now, swipe on your Parisian red lipstick (more on that in another post) and let's get to it! Here are some tried and true ways to live your best Parisian life, where ever you may find yourself...
Dress like a Parisian
The key words for any Parisian woman, especially for her wardrobe are: Quality over Quantity.
Pare down your wardrobe. Keep the basics in neutral shades as your base. Invest in better quality fabrics over trends. Silk, wool, and cashmere are your friends!
Trends are merely popular suggestions. Classic, elegant style is eternal. Wear styles and shapes that make you look your best so you don't find yourself following the latest look out the door.
You can definitely incorporate trends with a token piece or two per season - we will address Parisian street style and beyond in future posts. In short, less is more...
Accessorize like a Parisian
Because the Parisian woman keeps her wardrobe sleek and streamlined, she is able to enhance her look in infinite ways with her choice of accessories.
A statement necklace, gorgeous hat, or colorful scarf (the accessory of choice among the Parisian chic) will complete your style. Here is a clip on how to style your scarf for that Parisian flare...
Wear Underpinnings like a Parisian
P'Niche understands that while wearing gorgeous lingerie and underpinnings really enhance "les moments coquins," it really can be (and is) about so much more.
These are garments you are placing closest to you - on your skin, against the largest organ of your body.
Splurge on the best you can - wear what you love - for yourself. Nothing is sexier!
Skin Care is Queen!
Parisian women know and live by the mantra that, we must also take the time to care for the beautiful package that we carry our spirit and energy around in.
Daily rituals and frequent visits to the spa for maintenance are part of their everyday.
We'll explore some of these rituals in a future post, we hope to see you back at the Parisian Niche...
Keep Your Hair and Makeup Simple
Make up is not used to change the way you look, (no contouring!) just to enhance it. An easy hairstyle, a brush of natural blush, mascara swish, spritz of parfum, your signature shade of red lipstick, and you're out the door!
It's Not Only Your Face & Décolletage!
While we're on the topic of skincare, it's great to put your best face forward, but don't forget about the rest of your body!
Incorporate self care practices into your routine. Really get to know your skin. Are you dry, oily, suffering from wintertime dry heat or facing summertime burn? Make accommodations to take care of your body's natural barrier - your skin.
It doesn't need to involve trips to the spa (although it can, if your time and finances allow). Parisian women love a good home made and natural skin care regime. Some ideas can be found here and if you wish to experiment with ingredients, also found here (check for any allergies first!)
Embrace the Perfectly Imperfect You
Perfection is not placed on a pedestal in France, in fact far from it. Your individual imperfections, quirks, and differences are in fact, what set you aside as unique, and thus, beautiful.
Have freckles? Show them off! Ageing Gray-Fully? Choose a new hairstyle to highlight your emerging inner-glitter and silver! Worried about that crooked smile? Don't be - in fact, it is likely what endears you to many onlookers and passersby.
As to scars, did you know that Paris never covered up bullet holes (scars) from World War II on her many buildings? They show life and survival, just like our own bodily scars - there is beauty there!
In short, let go of the pursuit of perfection.
Create your Parisian Signature
With all of the above items, you are crafting your very own Parisian Signature.
Your own Parisian "brand" may be your absolute love or art and history. Maybe you are the chic lady that can be found cheering at football matches, rooting on the home team - Allez Les Bleus!
Perhaps you prefer to spend some time at a café, journaling out your many poetic thoughts, people watching the day away.
Maybe it is some of these, maybe none, and that is the beauty of a Parisian woman - she confident in her imperfections and personal choices.
Now splash on your signature scent (more on this later) - let's live la vie Parisienne!
Show up as Your Best Self
You're getting your Parisian look down. How else to live La Vie Parisienne? It's very simple. Show up as your best self. In short - Be Present. Live with Intent.
Every Parisian knows that her time and attention are her most precious commodities.
Do not wait for that special occasion to dress up in your favorite outfit. Ensure that you feel fabulous and are exuding that certain "je ne sais quoi," that spark of hidden confidence that Parisian women innately embrace.
Make every moment matter, and by extension, those around you will know that they matter as well.
Indulge in Simple Pleasures
While we are talking about making every moment matter, so that you can show up as your best self, a lot of that comes from indulging in life's simple pleasure's.
Treat yourself to a bouquet of your favorite flesh flowers, a divinely scented candle, a new book from your favorite author, even a special tin of herbal tea - anything that makes your moments a special treat for your senses.
Parisian women know that if they don't invest in themselves, others won't either.
Take the time to value your biggest investment, yourself - and indulge - enjoy those simple pleasures!
Cultivate a Beautiful Home
People say "you are what you eat" and that is true. "You are where you live" is true as well.
Take (or make) time to cultivate a beautiful home surrounding, as you will spend much of your time here. This is time, to again, invest in yourself. Envelop yourself with the best you can afford.
Ultra modern? Go for that minimalistic haven. Love history? Prowl the Paris flea markets for treasures you can make your own. You are the queen of your château!
That said, do ensure that your home space is decluttered for better balance and for welcoming guests, as all chic Parisians do to entertain...
Best a Gracious Hostess
The height of Parisian elegance is hosting a soirée in your lovely home.
Make your guests feel truly welcome by serving your most delicious signature apéro, main dish, and dessert. Of course, the most charming Parisian hostess ensures that she can accommodate her guests' dietary needs ahead of time.
Just as one can be a chic hostess, if invited to someone else's home, do remember to bring flowers, chocolates, or even a candle as a hostess gift...
We'll explore more deeply hosting a lovely Parisian dinner party (and hostess gifts) in future posts, so do subscribe to check back into the Parisian Niche!
Cultivate Elegant Conversation Skills
Just a little something extra to add to repertoire of Parisian "je ne sais quoi," is that when invited to a lovely dinner party, do ensure that you can engage in a conversation (you never know who you may meet!)
See that you are caught up on the latest current affaires, any interesting exhibit openings, or the latest top seller on the book list.
While it may be "de rigueur" to discuss politics, religion, or finances at some tables, it may be inappropriate and not appreciated at others, despite your own passions. Sophisticated Parisians know their audience and follow suit to lead a charming dinner or party conversation.
Be La Femme Mystérieuse
Not necessarily directly tied to dinner conversations or soirées, but in this age of "share everything as quickly as possible," learn to develop the skill of holding back some of your more personal details.
Oversharing is simply not elegant. Parisians know this as they live by the fine art of discretion.
You'd much rather have your conversation partner thinking "Gosh, I'd love to know more about her," versus, "Wow, ok, she went there..."
Nothing is more alluring that that Parisian woman who knows she has the best kept secret that she just cannot share... yet.
There is a reason you often see a Parisian woman reading a book at a charming café. Books are not merely chic accessories.
Leaning, engaging in valuable discussions, and not just water talk cooler of the latest reality show drama, are chic practices.
Parisian woman love to enrich their lives by educating themselves on not only the world they live in (though that is important), but her own personal passions.
Read, attend lectures, follow social media accounts to learn more - about everything.
Remember, what you learn today may lead your interesting conversation this evening!
Indulge in Culture
Part of learning is an ongoing indulgence in cultural goings on.
The French have perfected the art of loving arts and culture. Visit a museum - check out the exhibits. You might not like it all or even most of it, but you can definitely find your own Parisian Niche in a museum. It adds to your learning and diversity of knowledge and beauty.
Are you more of a music lover? There are infinite opportunities to enjoy any type of music. From Parisian streets to her more sacred spaces, you can enjoy some special moments of musical culture. Not in Paris? Remember, "Paris is a moveable feast," so enjoy culture wherever you can find it - and enjoy it!
Say "Oui to Me!"
Parisian women know the art of balance. Special personal rituals - yoga, jogging, reading, art, cooking, baking, dancing, photography, and even volunteering to her favorite cause creates balance and a more established sense of self.
Have you not found your special pastime yet? Fear not. Take your time, and explore many different options. That is half the pleasure of it anyway, especially as we grow and evolve as the wonderful women we are.
This practice of self-care harkens back to living with intention and being present. Say "oui to me" and remember that this time is your best investment in yourself!
Ease into your day
This one is a little harder and takes some self-discipline. Try not to snap right into emails and / or social media upon waking.
Make your morning coffee, tea, or cocoa moment your special (or even your journaling) time. Embrace the morning in a more gentle fashion while you get ready to rule your day...
Eating like a Parisian
It goes without saying that Parisian women are admired the world over for their sleek figures (whether deemed cliché or fact).
Much of that comes from how they eat and prepare their meals. Parisian women flock to farmer's markets daily for the freshest ingredients one can get. This makes a big difference in how they eat. This organic approach of eating seasonally ensures that Parisians know they are putting the very best into their bodies.
Eat slowly! Savor your meals. Not only do you eat less, but you enjoy what you do eat more. Take absolute pleasure in the nourishment you are giving yourself.
Say "Non" To Snacks
It goes without saying (but we'll say it anyway), Parisian women typically will not snack between meals. School children may indulge in an afternoon treat (goûter) but on the whole, Parisians eat a light breakfast, a larger, more adequate lunch and then a lighter dinner (think soup, steamed veggies, etc.).
Parisian women have developed a great sense of balance. If they know they have a lovely party to go to, they will have a lighter lunch, if any at all, so as to enjoy a luxurious indulgence at that soirée without a morsel of regret or guilty feelings.
Guilt is not a part of the Parisian diet. it is about intention, balance, and above all, pleasure.
Let Go of Guilt It's ok to indulge in dessert!
Parisian women live the fine art of indulging in pleasure, and dessert is surely part of this equation.
With scores of delicious (and stunning) pastries meant to seduce even the most discerning palate, it's hard to stop at just one.
Again, here is that balance so that guilt is left behind. A Parisian woman is not going to have a buttery croissant for breakfast, and then dessert at lunch and dinner. She will make her selections wisely so that her indulgences are pure delight.
Remember: Quality over Quantity.
Get your steps in!
Another way to ensure you have less guilt when indulging is to ensure you are getting enough steps in, and Paris is a city of walking.
With such architectural masterpieces at your fingertips (well, your toes, anyway) practice the art of being a flâneur (in our case, flâneuse). Enjoy the scenery, get lost in the streets, lost in your thoughts - for the sheer pleasure that you can.
Not in Paris? Go for a walk in a park with your favorite Parisian playlist or audio book set in Paris... "moveable feast..." So, get moving!
Embrace En Terrase...
Parisians as a whole have made "café lifestyle" a thing. Make sure you spend some time en terrace at a café.
Not only will you get some fresh air, but you can read, people watch, engage in "La Vie Parisienne..."
Be Gracious to one and ALL
P'Niche finds it so bewildering that Parisians have a reputation for being "cool" or "aloof."
In fact, nothing is further from the truth. Perhaps you may have hit a stumbling block if you neglected to say bonjour ?
Respect is an utmost courtesy to the Parisians and French as a whole. Public workers, teachers, waiters, and all walks of service people are all treated with respect in France.
In Paris and at home, a truly elegant woman treats all those around her with respect and grace.
Kindness... c'est chic!
P'Niche is fairly certain (based on non-scientific studies, mind you) that Paris' 20 arrondissements (districts) are shaped like a snail - a very slow moving creature - as a subliminal message to sloooooooow down.
In today's age of instant gratification and "We needed this done yesterday," a Parisian woman understands that unless critical to survival, all will get done in due course.
Creating that balance between urgency and pleasure, she slows to down to live with intention.
Savor every Parisian lifestyle moment...
Sunday, Fun Day...
As we slow down, it is worth noting that in Paris, Sundays are almost like a national holiday, but are in fact, "set to weekly recurrence" in our calendars!
They are perfect weekly reminder to pause and reset. Recharge your spirit and relax.
Many establishments in Paris and France are closed on Sundays for this very reason. The French recognize that a pause is not only accepted, it is required for balance.
Are you ensuring that you take Sunday (or a day of choice) off to recharge?
Remember P'Nichers, you are entitled to a break and you (and your time) are your best investment!
Take Your Vacation Days
P'Niche cannot emphasize this enough - take your vacation!
There are always jokes that "Paris closes down in August." People laugh, but when the majority of a city takes off, everyone can disconnect and recharge. Frankly, we can learn a lot from this Parisian practice.
In a world where vacation now means just working from a different location, ask yourself this. On your death bed, will you really look back at your life and say to your loved ones "I really wish I had taken extra work calls / meetings from holiday?!"
Disconnect. Recharge. Invest in yourself.
Take your vacation!
Nurture Your Friendships Keep your partner close, and keep your girlfriends closer. There are reasons why Parisian women have maintained lifelong friendships and bonds. Cultivate and nourish these key life connections, who will pick you up when you stumble and cheer when you reach your great heights.
What is sexier (and quite frankly more mysterious) than a woman setting a firm boundary and saying the occasional "no?"
Parisian woman know this and use it.
And remember, P'Nichers, "No." is a complete statement.
Of course, this is only a taste (dare I say an apéro) to the many charms of the Parisian woman's lifestyle. Certainly, we will revisit this interesting and life guiding topic, and we look forward to welcoming you back in the Parisian Niche.
What do you think, P’Nichers, is there something more to add to this list or add for future posts? Let us know in the comments below et à bientôt!