Friday, March 7, 2014

Book Review: "Lessons from Madame Chic"

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris
Jennifer L. Scott

While she was a college student, author and blogger Jennifer L. Scott studied abroad in Paris and lived with an aristocratic French family.  Treated like a family member during those six months, Ms. Scott observed the family's and culture's customs.  Lessons from Madame Chic is a collection of 20 "stylish secrets" she learned during that time.

The idea from this book that sticks in most people's minds is the 10 item wardrobe concept.  Ms. Scott proposes having around 10 high quality pieces (not counting finishing pieces like jackets, basics like tee shirts and special occasion clothes) that mix and match, wearing those pieces for a season and then swapping the pieces with others one owns as the weather dictates.  While I like this concept, I mainly took away two different lessons from this book.

The first idea that struck home with me was: Look Presentable Always.  A few days after finishing Lessons from Madame Chic, there was a day when I hadn't made much progress getting my jobs done.  At noon I still hadn't taken a shower and thought about running my errands in exercise clothes, sans make-up, but luckily remembered Ms. Scott's words about always looking presentable.  So I went upstairs, took a shower, got dressed and applied make-up.  After all, you never know who you might see on any given day.  

That day presented another opportunity to apply her lessons to my daily life.  When I got dressed, I put on my old cotton fisherman's sweater, even though I bought a beautiful replacement sweater a few days earlier.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw myself in a tired, just-okay-looking piece.  Suddenly, I remembered another lesson.  Always use your best, whether it's eating off your china, using your favorite perfume or wearing your new sweater.  Don't save things "for good".  I felt so much better after I changed into my new sweater and put the old one into the donation bag!

If you're looking for some ideas to add a touch of old world elegance into you daily life, Lessons from Madame Chic is the right book for you!

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