Parisian Chic – Oui!

Oh …to be in Paree…….

When Paula of Fashion Over Fifty suggested that we both review Ines de la Fressange’s book Parisian Chic and answer each other’s questions, I inwardly wondered if she liked the book as much as I do. This book came to me at a key time in my style journey…this past spring. It was Tish at A Femme D Un Certain Age who introduced me to Ines and I was immediately taken with her style. I have loved the street shots of French women regularly featured by Tish and so often thought…that is how I want to look. So, when I heard about the book…I immediately purchased it and the highlighter began flying from page to page.

Ines de la Fressange

To begin with, I knew I had a connection when I read these words by Ines, “All you really need is loads of self- confidence and a smile!” These are things, I write and say often….she begins with “Parisian style is an attitude, a state of mind.” I think this is true of any confident woman no matter what country she calls home. Those of us (ladies of a certain age) should all read this book, because Ines offers common sense, easily adaptable guidelines to any woman’s lifestyle. I will probably refer to this book again and again in future posts, but for now let me dive into Paula’s questions:

1. Ines describes the French style as “offbeat chic”. What part of this style is a stretch for you and what part do you understand? Would you ever want to be “offbeat chic”? I interpreted this as meaning go chic, classy, individual and creative all at the same time, and YES…I think that is very possible. As she explains the offbeat chic woman, Ines writes, “She knows that too many rules, too closely followed, are never a good idea. Resist the head-to-toe look of the ladies-who-lunch at all costs!” That really communicates to me. I do not think it is a stretch, but as she says we are all just steps away from a fashion faux pas…so we must be careful and discover the balance.

2. What Parisian dressing rules/guides have YOU broken? Obviously, many…according to Ines. Wearing oversized clothing is a big NO…… I tend to overdue the jewelry…I like ethnic prints and I used to like big earrings. I also love leggings since I lost weight. I do not wear them often, but I am sure I will continue to wear them occasionally.

3. I love the way Parisians feel they will never go out of style. Do you feel this way? Do you think Americans feel this way? The fact that they feel this way helps to keep them in style! Confidence is a big part of successful style and American women could use a major dose of the Parisian confidence!

4. Ines talks about “mixing it up”: mixing styles, mixing price-points, etc. Do you do this now and if not, could you do this in the future? I just wrote about this on Monday…but I do think this is going to be my future. I want to invest in some classic pieces when I have the opportunity and mix them up with the fun things. This makes sense to me and makes sense for what I want to accomplish with my style at this point in my life. I loved her “mix it up” list such as wearing a pencil skirt with ballet flats…a pearl necklace with a Rock-n-Roll T Shirt…a sequined sweater with men’s trousers. I really want to give some of the list a try in the future.

5. What is “Parisian Chic” about how you dress now? I love classic, chic, powerful clothes! I love tailored jackets and strong neutral based looks. I was so excited to discover that ballet flats, open toed sandals, boots, black heels, and penny loafers are all Parisian Chic…I am so there! I want to feel confident and strong in what I wear…she wrote, “The secret of great style is to feel good in what you wear.” I believe I now follow the golden rules from page 61: (Please remember it took a long time for me to say this)….

a. Never follow convention

b. Never be bland

c. Never neglect yourself

6. What is one of the most important things you garnered from this book? How to simplify your style and build it around strong, fabulous basics. She confirmed something I have been working on: “Every Parisian learns the rules of the art of shopping: If you keep a clear head when faced with such an abundance of choice, you’ll keep a wardrobe free of things you’ll never wear.” She also says, “Far from making radical changes, the Parisian knows how to evolve her style as she gets older.” It was also very freeing to read DON’T FEEL OBLIGATED TO BUY FUN CLOTHES. Sometimes in the blogosphere, I feel the peer pressure to be bolder and more fun and out there. She has freed me from that pressure! (Sorry, Paula, you just said ONE… didn’t you!)

7. What is one thing from this book you absolutely could not see yourself doing? I will never say never…it always comes back to bite me…however, at this point, I do not see me wearing white jeans or getting dressed in the morning to the tune of Dead Flowers by the Rolling Stones….maybe The Beatles…but NEVER the Stones. I will let you know if that changes.

Now, I will use Ines as my Parisian Chic Inspiration:

C’est Moi!

Now, go see what Paula has to say….

Has anyone else read the book?  What did you think?


  1. Very cute. I love your interpretation. I saw this book in Anthropologie… next time I'm there I'm gonna grab it! xo

  2. I remember her from the '80's and loved her style. I like how Parisian chic is classic (or should I say, classique?) without being cliche. Good solid pieces always put together in a fresh way. NOT TRENDY. I rmemember dressing more that way, and I think you ala de la Fressange, have inspired me to revisit this attitude, and I think to read the book!

    Your spin on Parisian chic is fantastic! You LOOK really comfortable and confident and CHIC!

  3. Pam~ Wasn't this fun? You look very Parisian, I must say! And it looks like we both found that her 'Parisian chic" is easily adaptable and has great solid idea. Tres Chic! love, paula

  4. Yes, you do look very French Chic! I enjoyed the book, too and got quite a few good tips from it. I try every day to not be "bland" – that's one word I don't like in my wardrobe : >

  5. i must get this book! love this post…it is truly what i try and tell my clients…it starts with classics…add in a bit of fun…make it your own! and confidence…

    you look amazing! loved your answers!

  6. Once again, you are rocking that look big time, Pam! I SO love the clean lines of the jacket, jeans and shoes. My eye just glided from top to bottom, and the whole look just made me smile.

    Thanks to you and Paula for re-opening my mind to French Chic. I've often thought of French Style as too conservative for me, and it really isn't! I may have to check out that book.

  7. I've read it and I love it (I even took it to Paris with me!) Ines is charming and funny and has years of experience in the fashion industry, so it's well worth reading. Like your 'Don't hate me because I'm fabulous picture!

  8. I have always loved the way a French woman dresses and it seems that i can spot a french gal right away.
    It seems there is an easy flow which relies on being more 'real' with their hair/make-up , but can mix things together with such ease.
    Kind of a Sarah J Parker mode with less colour…

  9. Your redo was great! You look fabulous, dahling, simply fabulous! This was a cute idea to read the same book and answer questions. I'm trying to figure out how to keep my blog alive, now that I'm not dressing in anything but boxes and a guinea tee (great look, huh?). No a/c and getting laid off has kind of put a crimp in my plans of getting dressed. Just can't do it in this kind of weather.

  10. yes i have the book its very good,at 68 i live my choices in everything,i dont folliw fashion i folliw me!the book is full of lovely info and im happy with my choices when i read it.I dont have the LBD as i like skirts and use a gorgeous black skirt and black tops to suit!!in all if you doubt yourself its worth it.In Australia we pretty much please ourselves and i think most dress very well.

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