Like any good wanna-be French girl, I’ve seen my fair share of French movies. While I watch them to immerse myself in conversational, every day casual French, I also learn things about their attitudes towards beauty. Here’s what I’ve learned about beauty from watching French movies.
Less makeup, more skin (and hair) care
French women aim for that “I woke up like this” look. Even if they spend a lot of time creating that look, they don’t want to look plastic and perfect. Especially as you get older, using less makeup, more carefully applied is best. French women spend more time and money on skin care than on makeup – tres sage of them.
Proof that natural is better than stuffy and perfect: Gil’s fiancee versus his true love in Midnight in Paris.
Unless you’re going for a classic red lip…
If you’re rocking this classic French look, the rest of your face should be somewhat bare and your lips the focal point. Just use mascara and a bit of concealer.
Your clothes hang better when you’re thinner
C’est vrai. Take the stairs, go for a walk or bike ride, eat smaller portions of real food, and take time to savor it. More secrets of French eating here.
Don’t try to be someone else
French women don’t try to cover “imperfections” (dark circles, a strong nose etc); quirks are what make you uniquely beautiful. A French woman plays up her strengths instead of trying to cover so-called flaws.
Coco Chanel came along and exploded everything in the world of fashion precisely because she refused to copy what everyone else was doing. And I’m loving her lipstick!
Look put together even when casual
It’s said that French women dress more formally when they’re casual, and more casual when they’re formal. I’ve noticed that’s true. They don’t lie around in yoga pants and a dirty t-shirt, but they want to look like they haven’t tried too hard, even when going out for the evening.
How to rock a tee-shirt a la Marion Cotillard in A Good Year. A casual look, but it’s not exactly yoga pants. Remember the rule of 3: don’t just throw on jeans and a tee-shirt. Add a third piece to complete the look: a jacket, a scarf, a cardigan.
Older doesn’t mean dead
One of the things I’ve noticed about French (and Italian) movies is that the female protagonist isn’t always 20something. She can be middle-aged or older and still portrayed as sexy. Knowing yourself and what you want is attractive, and that comes with maturity.
In My Afternoons with Margueritte, Gerard Depardieu’s girlfriend becomes jealous of the elderly woman he befriends at the park. Look at how she’s dressed! So classy, just for a walk in the park. She’s captivating, intelligent, flirtatious and lovely.
(I find it hilarious that the internet is all abuzz with France’s new president. I haven’t read a thing about his policies (because I’m taking a news fast) – but everyone is obsessed with the fact that his wife is older than him! How typically French!)
And finally, Frenchiness is an attitude, not a stamp on a passport.
I present Julia Child. The French adored her because of her love of life, her outspoken, opinionated personality and her love of food!
I enjoyed reading this. How wonderful, to highlight the beauty of French women as portrayed in films. It is also a true reflection of the ‘real’ French women I know. Too many women in our society do not take enough care to look casual yet well put together.
Charity Childs says
I love the ideals of a French woman, but I definitely struggle with the attention to detail. While I have been on bed rest I have definitely let my appearance fall through the cracks, especially my skin.
This is especially difficult since I am sensitive/ picky about a lot of face care products. I tried the crunchy route and made everything but the end products just didn’t perform. Right now I am trying oil washing when I actually remember so we’ll see how that goes.