Saturday, June 29, 2013

Huh! My Mother Already Knew This Stuff!

And she was a first generation American.  Her parents had been immigrants (along with the rest of the village) from land that was once in Russia, now Czechloslavakia.  The point I'm making here is that She Was Not French.  And I seriously doubt much of what follows was learned in a village somewhere in Russia.   Mother had innate style, bred into her bones.

"Lessons From Madame Chic - 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris" by Jennifer L. Scott   Simon & Schuster   283 pages   $23

Scott first visited Paris as an exchange student for six months.  She went from California casual (read: flip flops; pajamas to breakfast) to Parisian chic - or very near it - during those months.

Happily she was sent to a formidably French family (husband, wife, 23 year old son) who were always formally dressed outside of their bedrooms.  Dinner was always at least three separate courses, but most usually five.  The wife grocery shopped every day to get the freshest possible.  And all of the walking, from shop to shop, kept her sleek.

But my mother already knew a lot if not all of the things that Scott advises.  Some examples...

Scott:  Snacking Is So Not Chic
Orpha:  "Don't fill up before dinner - put those away."

Scott:  Deprive Yourself Not (at the table)
Orpha:  "If you always take small portions, you can eat whatever you like."

Scott:  Liberate Yourself With the 10-Item Wardrobe.  You can afford to pay a little more if you're going to wear it on an almost every other day basis.
Orpha:  "Pay more - it will last longer.  Cheap is shoddy; it'll wear out in no time and then you'll have to buy another one.  Spend a little now and save later."

Scott:  Find Your True Style
Orpha (after studying my 12-year-self):  "Well, you'll never be pretty, but you'll always be striking - and in the long run that counts far more than 'pretty'."

Scott:  The No-Makeup Look, a chapter devoted to making it look au natural  when in fact you have exfoliated, creamed, put on foundation,  blusher, eye liner, mascara and lipstick. 

Orpha (regarding my 1956 "Cleopatra" eyes a la Elizabeth Taylor) "Less is more, dear."

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