Frith-Powell is a British expat living in France, and the book goes chapter by chapter through such guiltily fascinating topics as French style, French underwear, French skinniness, French bitchiness, and French adultery. It's all pretty superficial and largely based on interviews with women in positions of power or in the fashion industry, so Frith-Powell may have come away a tad overimpressed with the quality and quantity of the average Parisian's wardrobe.
French women never wear sneakers, will always sleep with someone's husband, are thin because they NEVER eat junk food, and oh! I picked up this book because I'm going to France and thought it'd be interesting to see what the culture is like, but I have a hard time believing the author's account is accurate. (Which is exactly what she says.) And while she is pretty critical about French women, she brags about being able to be just like them after living amongst them, claiming she has lost weight, always wears matching underwear, and is way sexier.
Having lived in France and knowing several French women, I'd say the generalizations are basically true -- I've never seen so many lingerie shops in my life as I have in France.
Based on the chapters in the book, there's a lot more to looking so stylish than a pair of black slacks and a Hermes scarf!
"Entre Nous" by Debra Ollivier felt much more to be about how to embrace those aspects that one admires in French women in your own life. She quotes Edith Wharton in the book - and it is a divine expression of what I think of when I seek to bring more of 'my inner french woman' out: "The French are persuaded that the enjoyment of beauty and the exercise of critical intelligence are two of the best things worth living for" (pg 184). / And obviously I'll be wearing garters and matching underwear underneath." (pg 219) I just wish that her book was more like 'Entre Nous' and focused on how we can cull from ourselves what we (at least some of us) admire in French women.
that which lies closest to the skin is what makes a woman feminine) 3)...not big on having girlfriends (they inevitably seduce their husbands) 4)...sleep on their backs (side sleeping causes wrinkles) 5)...don't breast feed ('a womans breasts are for her lover') 6)...never caught dead in white tennis shoes (because that is the sure sign of an American.) While, some of these points are (in my opinion) CRAZY...
It tries to be witty--oh, does it try--but the result is a collection of overly simplistic, black and white statements about A. French women; that do not allow much room for complexity in any of those groups. Even so, if you are looking for a thoughtful, nuanced look at living in France as an Anglo-Saxon ex-patriot, I would suggest "The Arrogance of the French," by American journalist Richard Chesnoff over this offering.
Powell claims that an English woman and French woman can wear a pair of identical jeans, a white T-shirt and a pair of loafers and , for "some inexplicable reason the French woman will manage to carry off the outfit better and look more attractive. "I think French women have being beautiful absolutely born into them. . 112 French women dont do what they dont feel like doing; say what they think . French girls dont hang out 121 French women dont take working/careers as seriously. When we go to dinner with French friends here, their children (even if they have never met us) will come up and kiss us hello. 164 Increasing weight in French people is a result of American fast food influence. 217 The French still see Brits and Yanks as bumpkins The French still believe we Brits and Americans have no idea how to look good.
She is also the author of a book about French women called Two Lipsticks and a Lover published in October 2005 by Gibson Square Books. Her book about ageing called To Hell in High Heels was published by Arrow in April 2008, which has been translated into several languages. Her latest book is a novel set in France about the French art of having affairs called Love in a Warm Climate, which was published in March 2011 by Gibson Square.