How the French keep it simple and obtain that fabulous ‘je ne sais quoi’

French women have a certain je ne sais quoi and the article says a lot of it has to do with the way they’ve simplified their lives.

We could learn a thing or two from the French.

They don’t try to impress anyone


Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel

“There’s an enormous amount of social pressure the moment you gain half an ounce of body fat,” she says.

“Here people say, ‘You look great.’ Anglo-Saxons say little white lies to make people feel good.

The French don’t give a damn what you think about them, and they will not mince words.” 

They will tell you the truth.

No matter how harsh it is, they won’t mince their words if they think you’re not looking your best or if you’ve gained a single ounce of fat.

Nothing could be more simple than that.

And if you don’t have to impress anyone, you don’t have to drop oodles of money on clothes, doing your nails or your hair.

They don’t have to live up to the idea of being popular


The Ideal Blonde Cheerleader

The Ideal Blonde Cheerleader

American women “grow up as girls with the mandate to be liked and to be like everyone,” she says.

“And popularity is all wrapped up in that. French culture doesn’t have that.

When I talk to French women who live here, one said the notion of popularity was so difficult for her to understand because it simply does not exist in France.

We are taught from birth to be nice. To be popular, we have to be nice kids who share with each other.

Apparently this notion of having to be popular is foreign in France. 

Our lives could be simplified if we get rid of having to always be the nicest person, the friendliest neighbour or the one with the coolest toys on the block.

They don’t hang on to ideals of a perfect marriage

“It’s that old cliché — if you let something go, it comes back to you.

If you give people space to be who they are as opposed to leaning on them to be a certain way, they’re going to be more comfortable hanging around.” 

couple marriageThey have lower rates of divorce because they give more personal space to their partners.

They also probably don’t think of their husband as Prince Charming who will do anything and everything for them for the rest of their lives.

It’s simpler to live when you have lower (but realistic) expectations of your spouse.

This attitude must also carry over in their personal life with their other relationships. Their parents, their siblings, friends and cousins.

They just live.

They accept their flaws and make it part of their allure

“It’s part of the beauty and style of French women, and I think it’s why men are drawn to that.

The woman who is perfectly put together is kind of a scary creature. She does not evoke freedom or fun.

You don’t want to mess her hair.

So that’s something that’s really beautiful about French women, and it’s not something they work at.” 

Instead of trying to be a perfectionist who is the ideal wife, woman, mother and colleague, they just accept that their imperfections and live life to the fullest.

The French Mystique is all about Minimalism: Less is really more


Simple Little Black Dress

Simple Little Black Dress

“Less is more. That’s the essence of French style and the reason the little black dress is so iconic.

Because it’s not about the dress, it’s about the wearer.

You have a little black dress and one accessory – a scarf or a bracelet.

American women are so surprised that French women will wear the same clothes over and over again, with a minor adjustment here and there.

They have a certain relationship to simplicity that we don’t.”

Which is really what it all boils down to. 

Keeping it simple and shopping your own closet so to speak, is how the French women work it.

They know that it isn’t the clothes, the flashy jewelry or the designer handbags that makes you chic — it’s you and your personality that makes the outfit.

Read the entire article here from the L.A. Times.

About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.