How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are: The Tips

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'There is no word in English for chic,” wrote the late American fashion designer Elizabeth Hawes. “Why should there be? Everything chic is by legend French. Perhaps everything chic is in reality French,”

Case in point: Caroline de Maigret could write a grocery list and we'd read it. And while the kind of legumes she stocks her pantry with would be endlessly fascinating, it's infinitely more useful that she teamed up with co-authors Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, and Sophie Mas to pen How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits .

While a true Parisian would have no need for the tips and anecdotes compiled in these pages, it may be of some interest that the most famous Parisians—Marie Antoinette, Josephine Baker, Romy Schneider, Jane Birkin—were and are foreigners. So, there's hope for you yet! Some tips:

ON BEAUTY

“The Parisienne retains her little imperfections, cherishes them even (the gap in her smile or her slightly crooked tooth, her prominent eyebrows or strong nose): these are the signs of a certain strength of character and allow her to feel beautiful without being perfect.”

“Falling asleep with damp hair will give it a more interesting shape when you wake up.”

“The skin of your face must be treated as a canvas. Start with a moisturizer . . . then hide any imperfections (bags under your eyes, the sides of your nose, pimples) with concealers (such as Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Éclat) or a BB cream.”

“Be generous [with mascara] on your top and bottom lashes, to accentuate your look and disguise any bags under your eyes.”

“Short, clean nails, sometimes worn with nail polish—but not always.”

*ON ATTITUDE

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“Always be fuckable: when standing in line at the bakery on a Sunday morning, buying champagne in the middle of the night, or even picking the kids up from school. You never know.”

“Embrace your inner snob. (Because let’s face it, that’s who you are.)”

“The Parisienne is never satisfied.”

“The Parisienne is arrogant.”

“The Parisienne already knows what she must think: the opposite of what you think, no matter what.”

*ON PLASTIC SURGERY

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“Choose one part to focus on, one single operation. The one thing that bothers you the most...Next, put off for as long as possible the age at which you first have work done.”

“A measure of its success is that it is undetectable. You don’t talk about it, you don’t tell people. The main thing is to avoid any operation that distorts or that might turn a woman into a statue or a doll.”

*ON AGING

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“Enjoy the face you have today. It’s the one you’ll wish you have 10 years from now.”

“Anticipate, prepare for the future, but never totally correct.”

“In truth, more than wanting to look young—which is but a fleeting illusion—they want above all to become the best possible version of themselves, outside and in, at any age”

“As your face gets messier with age, you hair can get neater, for balance.”

*ON STYLE

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“When it comes to revealing herself, she follows one golden rule: less is definitely more...A skirt that rides ever so slightly up her thigh when she sits down in a café; a wide-necked tee that slips down her shoulder as she waves for the waiter; the surreptitious hint of her breasts when she leans down to pick up her bag.”

“You don’t have to spend a decade’s worth of salary on your wardrobe, or flaunt designer brands the whole time. All you need is one signature item: the one you wear when you need to feel strong.”

“If the Parisienne could wear just a Burberry trench and nothing underneath, she would be in heaven.”

ON FITNESS AND DIET

“Cancel your gym session to have a drink with your friend who’s just been dumped.”

“Decide it’s great to get dumped, because falling in love again makes you lose your appetite, and in turn eat fewer calories—which defeats the need for that gym membership.”

“Eat croissants and buttered toast for breakfast—because it’s Saturday morning and you burned enough calories last night, damn it.”

Have this conversation:

“I think I’ve gained weight.”

“Really? Are you on a diet?”

“No I keep failing”

“Are you working out?”

“Nope. I don’t have time.”

“So what are you doing about it?”

“I’m going to buy myself a long coat”

*ON CHEATING

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“DENY, DENY, DENY.”

“Shake it up and spread the love: cheat on your lover with your boyfriend.”

“There’s no such thing as a secret that stays secret. The truth always comes out. Refer back to rule number one.”

*ON BEING NAKED

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“It should always be meaningful.”

“If you don’t like your ass, walk sideways, your back to the wall, and show off your breasts. If your legs are too short or your thighs too wide, go on your tiptoes. If you don’t like your breasts...do something about them, but in the meantime, cross your arms, and when in bed, opt for positions lying on your back.”

“In short, you’re not a slave to the cult of the perfect body—so learn to make the best of what nature gave you.”

From the book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas. Photos by Alexis Cheung.