Friday, November 10, 2017

Forever Chic - Tish Jett

Forever Chic
Title: Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance
Author: Tish Jett
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 240
Genre: Self-Help / Nonfiction
How I Found It: It's been on my TBR list forever.
Date Completed: 10/28/17

Summary: French women seem to possess some undefinable, elusive quality which keeps them eternally chic. Jett sets out to uncover their secrets and make them accessible to her readers. 

What I Thought: When I started this book, I did not realize it was targeting mainly toward "women of a certain age," as Jett calls them. I turned 30 this year, so I don't think I fall in Jett's idea of that category yet. I contemplated putting it down early on because of that, but I figured there would likely be some valuable tips for me even now. 

Jett covers a variety of categories: skin care, makeup, hair styles, fashion, diet, and more. She is an American ex-pat who married a Frenchman and has consequentially lived in the country for many years. Her research for this book seemed to largely consist of conversations with her French friends and observation of the women around her. Some chapters were certainly more interesting and practical for me than others.

The whole book, though, gave me a kind of fatigue I was not expecting. I do think Jett had good intentions with this book. I think she observes a very different lifestyle in France than we have in America. And, certainly, there are aspects of that which would be wise for us to adopt. However, the whole book came off feeling preachy and a bit extreme to me. This is coming from a woman who loves French culture and considers herself to be quite a francophile, so I was as surprised as anyone to be so put off by some of Jett's musings.

More than anything, I found myself thinking that Jett's Frenchwoman is a wealthy one. There was much talk of designer clothes and dermatological visits. Jett recognizes the cost involved but makes the continual argument that you are investing in yourself. Look, I would love an expensive leather jacket as much as the next girl, but despite promised years of versatile use, such a thing just does not exist in my budget right now. That's the type of thing I found myself thinking over and over: "This is a great plan, but only if you have the time and money to invest in it." I got the definite feeling that Jett's circle is a moneyed one; not wealthy necessarily, but upper middle class to be sure.

The assumptions of budget and ability to prioritize certain things wore on me. I felt isolated from Jett's words not only by my age, but also my ability to realize her suggestions. There is some valuable stuff here, but it's weighed down by social expectations Jett has for the reader.

Quotes I Loved:
  • "Frenchwomen appreciate the beauty of simplicity, and they understand that the essence of luxury is always quality over quantity."
  • "They care about style but also about substance"
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: No

A Reduced Review: While I think Jett had good intentions, it quickly became clear that I am not the intended audience for this book for several reasons. 

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