“Style is knowing who you are, what to say, and not giving a damn.”
I love sitting at a Parisian cafe and people watching, especially the women. One by one, they walk by, possessing their space with confidence and an ease that says to the world, “I am who am I am, and I don’t give a damn if you like it or not!”
While they all seem to have a certain beauty; they are all unique. One woman wears a pair of red stockings with a blue shorts and black leather bomber. Another one passes by wearing a long chiffon skirt and t-shirt followed by a lady in a man’s dress shirt accessorized with a tiny hot pink belt and combat boots.
French women seem to have perfected making themselves their own piece of art, from how they dress and walk to how they eat and communicate. The world is their runway, which is why you’ll rarely see a French woman walking the streets in sweatpants and a t-shirt, unless, of course, that is her style, and then she’ll most likely throw on some funky shoes, maybe a scarf, and work that look like no other.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that advocates that we should look like everyone else, and even more important, we should be liked by everyone else. So, the moment a new trend hits the newsstand, we run to the nearest store to conform to the new mold, because God forbid if we didn’t fit in. To be unique and stand out from the crowd is social suicide. In France, the opposite is true. To not be unique and own who you are is tragique. And, if everyone likes you, you’re vanilla.
Making yourself art is owning who you are and working with what you have. French women do this so well. They don’t try to hide their flaws; they flaunt them. What many perceive as a defect, the French woman will see as an asset, something that sets her apart from the masses. This acceptance creates a confidence and sex appeal that perfection would never offer.
I couldn’t help but notice how this phenomena plays out on American soil. I was recently at an event in Aspen. I couldn’t help but notice that almost every woman in the room looked as if they had been cut out of the same mold – long, blonde hair (I’m a blonde, so no offense), faces with too much Botox (I have nothing against Botox, but moderation is key), lots of makeup (I love makeup, especially lipstick, but again, moderation) and all were wearing some version of tight blue jeans with an even tighter shirt. By our cultural standards, these women were beautiful and perfect, not a hair out of place and not an ounce of fat on their bodies. I will not deny their beauty. However, In the middle of the room was a brunette woman wearing a flowing sundress, little makeup and her hair was tousled, like she had just had amazing sex. She was unique, and yes, she was stunning, not in a Hollywood kind of way, but in a “I know who I am, and this is how I roll” sort of way. That is tres sexy!
Giving yourself permission to be your own self-made piece of art requires courage and boldness. It requires not giving a damn. After recently moving to a Colorado town where the dress code seems to be t-shirts, shorts and Vibrams, I’ve had a chance to practice this…a lot. So, I wear my DVF wrap dress and four inch wedges to the coffee shop, and when someone says, “Hey lady, you’re not in the city,” I simply respond, “Merci, monsieur” and they look at me like I’m an alien. That’s okay. I don’t desire to conform to a cultural standard in how I dress, run my business or live. I don’t want to be a water downed version of me. I’m all in, committed to being me.
Of course, making your life art is about much more than how you dress. It’s about your passions, desires and how you connect with the world. It’s stating your opinion, regardless of what others think. It’s building a business that is a unique reflection of your and your gifts. It’s about showing up in the world as 100% YOU!
However, what the world often sees first is how you dress, so start there and let that give you the courage to show up fully as yourself in all areas of your life.
Want to dive deeper into becoming more of who you are? Join me for Le Voyage Paris: The Art of Being a Woman this October. You will experience first hand the power of showing up in the world as your most authentic self and walk away with the confidence to flaunt your unique self wherever you go. Click here to learn more.