“How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style and Bad Habits” by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, Sophie Mas
Raise your hand if you have any romantic notions about Paris.
Of course you do. This book is either going to perpetuate or crush them, depending on how heartless they are.
Written by a chic quartet of Parisienne screenwriters, sartorial editors, models and entrepreneurs, this book will make you want to be them, assuming you didn’t already (but you probably did, considering you picked up a book called “How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are”).
These women are banking on the idea that the world is envious of them (which we are, because how do they eat so much bread without gaining weight? How do they get their hair to dry like that? Why are they all seem so INTERESTING?). They somehow manage to be mysterious and effervescent at the same time, full of contradictions. It’s a light, pseudo-self help book where these women confide in the reader about style, beauty, culture, attitude and men. It’s full of short, frisky little stories, style tips and recipes. It’s perfect to keep on a coffee table or read on a flight where you’re pretending you’re flying Air France to Charles de Gaulle, even though you’re squished between two strangers on the way to a connection in Atlanta. Maybe they’ll get a kick out of the “How to Be Naked” chapter.
What’s great about this book is that unlike, say, a fashion magazine giving style tips, this book does go a little deeper (read: A LITTLE). It goes into the mindset of the Parisian woman, and what it boils down to is that they don’t want to let you know how hard they are trying. They don’t want you to think that they’re trying AT ALL. In this book though, they let you in on their secrets and flaws, all while making fun of their complicated, contradictory feelings and behavior. They won’t want to get married, but they still have their wedding planned out. They will head out to the provinces to get some fresh air, smoking a cigarette on the way there. They are self-centered snobs, and they aren’t going to argue about it with you. It makes you look at yourself, and feel kinda bad. I can’t just wake up in the morning and look hot, and I’m not going to wear matching underwear every day, and I like to think that if I ever get a boyfriend, I’m not going to cheat on him. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun to live vicariously through the women who want to present themselves as such.
Worth reading, gossiping about, picking out the parts you love and the parts you hate, but maybe not a book you want to let people see you reading in public. Pick out the advice you want to take, but please don’t let this book guide you through life, lest you lose all your friends and get expunged from American society. Also, if you need to choose between a white tee shirt and one with the Eiffel Tower printed on it, always choose the white tee shirt.