Je ne sais quoi

It’s a subject that never ceases to enthrall: how can a mere mortal develop the indefinable something, the je ne sais quoi, of the Parisian? Inès de la Fressange, former French supermodel has je ne sais quoi by the bucket load, and in her new book Parisian Chic : A Style Guide she purports to clue the rest of us in.

Shoes by Roger Vivier for Christian Dior

Shoes by Roger Vivier for Christian Dior (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

De la Fressange is the former face of Chanel and Marianne and now works for the luxury footwear line Roger Vivier. While the book doesn’t share anything magical, with advice such as the importance of pursuing  personal style over trends and not to overdo accessories, the suggestions on where to shop and eat in the City of Light are up to the minute. The book itself is visually appealing. It looks a bit like a scrapbook, with fashion photographs featuring the author’s daughter and her own quirky drawings.

Español: Zapatillas marca Converse frente a un...

Her “Magnificent Seven” list of what to wear is a man’s blazer, a trench coat, a navy sweater, a tank top, a little black dress, jeans and a leather jacket. For footwear she advocates Converse sneakers and flats. Hmm. Not so sure about some of those. I am, however, planning to check out many of her (formerly) insider addresses when I’m in Paris in July.

Today’s expression, je ne sais quoi (jshuh nuh she kwah) is probably already familiar to you. It’s a French expression that has passed into the English vernacular. It means “I don’t know what.” That’s the fundamental flaw of a book that purports to change je ne sais quoi into je sais, “I know.” If it were that easy to turn us all into glamorous Parisians, we’d already have taken care of it. Sadly, I’m not sure that wearing Converse sneakers will mark my transformation into Parisian chic.

Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Inès de la Fressange

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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4 Responses to Je ne sais quoi

  1. Pingback: Dans le jus | One quality, the finest.

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