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French Style in three lessons

Three French phrases that translate French Style

Learn French Style in 3 Easy Phrases:

Vive La Différence!


How French women choose to play up their femininity.
Vive la Différence means to celebrate the difference between men and women and French women definitely do! 
While France has active feminists and #metoo (#balancetonporc in France) plus a high profile cabinet minister dedicated to equality between the sexes; and the news is currently covering a political movement against domestic violence targeting women, France has a strong cultural history of powerful, feminine women. Unlike the sometimes-adversarial relationships between men and women in Anglo Saxon society, French men and women seem to appreciate and revel in the difference- and the chasm - between masculine and feminine. This may have to do with the very flexible and open definition of femininity in France. 
While in America Femininity is often associated with long hair, stiletto heels, ruffles and eyelash batting, femininity in France is deeply rooted in self-confidence and strength. It is a sort of personal power and can be wielded by women of any age, and any length hair! Pixie cuts or other short styles are considered ultra-feminine by many; as long as you have your gorgeous lingerie your haircut makes no difference! So live your femininity the French way - any way you choose!

Je Ne Sais Quoi


How doing something unexpected can make an outfit, or a conversation more interesting.
Je ne sais quoi literally means: I don’t know what, but what we usually are referring to when we use the phrase is: I can’t put my finger on it. There is something special, something different, something unexpected or surprising about her. About her style, or her presentation or her conversation. That something unexpected may be a daring black bra under a basic white shirt, or fishnet stockings with a pinstriped suit. It might be a daring question in a conversation, or a surprising reaction to a piece of art or a play. It is a hint of mystery as to why she is so attractive (could it be her perfume?) or simply that her approach to things seems improvisational, rather than staid, or conventional…We may not be able to fathom how she pulls it off, but her unusual allure is very appealing.

Joie de Vivre


How adding joy to a moment makes life more pleasurable for everyone
Joie de Vivre, the Joy of Being Alive is a very French concept, but one in which we can all participate! We all have read about the importance of details in French culture – the quality of the ingredients in the cuisine, the quality of the wines, the selection of beautiful accessories for les arts de la table, and of course the attention to the beauty of architecture and geography. The point is not that France is the only beautiful place on the planet, but that the French see, experience and live the joy of that beauty.
Attention to detail is not enough, enjoying the details to which we are attentive is the key. A lunch on a terrace in the sunshine, a walk in the moonlight, a beautiful day, a beautiful child, a beautiful tomato – all may be a source of joy in the right mindset. To find joy, you must look for it, and finding joy in life is a question of perspective.
September 13, 2019 
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