Can You Take The French Woman's Style Challenge?
Many women I know and work with envy the French women's skill to je ne sais quoi - looking chic effortlessly. They envy the French women's styles, the way they can look attractive naturally and be unapologetically self-assured. The women I know want to live well, enjoy quality over quantity with clothes, (oh and food), and the list goes on.
We witnessed the Sex And The City character Carrie see the romance of living the life of a French woman in the final season, and no wonder. Ok, it didn't all work out with Carrie, (and how happy were we when she went back to Mr Big and the girls), but it can work out for you no matter where you are in the world. But one thing Carrie does have that is so French, are confidence and self-respect. An ability to step out of the square to show off her sense of style.
I asked many of the women I know to take a challenge, not the 6-week challenge we see in the gym, but a challenge to take some of the cues from French women for a few weeks. So what were the results? The women who took the challenge seriously said their confidence increased, and they valued themselves more, feeling more self-assured.
The above leads me to want to share the challenge with you. Here are the rules to follow:
1. Develop Your Style
To be like a French woman, the first step is to clear your wardrobe of everything that isn't stylish and no longer serves you. The challenge is to only keep under 80 items in your wardrobe, so you only keep your best items.
2. Practice pleasure rituals.
Looking good is important, but feeling great is just as important. Take time out for long baths, facials, massages, any treatment for the body, which are not luxuries; they are essentials — no matter how busy your life is.
3. Don't punish your body.
The "no pain, no gain" thought never entered the French shores as they mainly operate according to the pleasure principle: do something that makes you feel and look fabulous to design a positive effect on your physique and well-being (and this can include sex).
4. Love your physical appearance.
If you read French women's magazines or articles on the internet, you will see that French women worry about impossible normalities. But they know that happiness does not depend on wearing a size 8-10 (Australian). The challenge is bien dans sa peau - "feel good" in your skin as you are now, not when you lose weight. Once you begin to wear only clothes (as per above) that suit your style, you will feel better about your physical appearance as you are now. As Coco Chanel said, “There are no ugly women, only ugly clothes.”
5. Enjoy great food.
Quality food is essential to French culture. The French women don't deprive themselves, so you shouldn't either. Enjoy a little of everything in moderation, the challenge is "little amounts". No French woman I know eats cheese, bread and crossaints daily without gaining weight. Moderation is key here – stick to the 80/20 principle. Eat plenty of greens and drink copious amounts of water too. Your body thank you, you will feel better, and your skin will look amazing.
6. Love life.
Find your passion. The challenge is to say "no" to anything that is a waste of time and to people who are pulling you down. It's time to focus on what you love and do more of what you love because life is too short. Develop a healthy body with food, a healthy mindset with being kinder to you, oh and a healthy (and smaller) wardrobe.
The women who took the challenge is that they felt liberated and only owning a small number of items in their wardrobe made them only wear the best, but wear it often. They now only wear what works for them and stick with it, updating seasonally with a small number of items, which has saved them time and money.
They were amazed that they could buy less and buy better to feel they have more in their wardrobe, which made them feel better about themselves.
By clearing out their wardrobe to 80 items was the hardest step, but the most important because once they completed this challenge and only wore what suited them made them feel better about themselves, which made the other five steps of the challenge easier to achieve.
Take the challenge and enjoy the new you, looking and feeling stylish (and healthy) every day. It does require some effort, but take it from me and the French women, it is worth it.