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Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Review: Lessons from Madame Chic

I love reading those little "better living through cuter shoes" type books that you can find at Anthropologie or well-edited boutiques (or Amazon for typically a lot cheaper). I also love reading any sort of Parisian lifestyle guide. Plus I (impractically since I live in South Florida) took French from 7th grade thru college. So when I saw Jennifer L. Scott's Lessons from Madame Chic, I didn't think twice about zapping it to my iPad.

I expected the typical "wear scarves!...don't snack!...buy a little black dress!" type recommendations, but I did not expect to find so much thoughtful and authentic advice. Scott's chapter on the 10 item wardrobe is life-changing (or at least closet-changing). It explains why you should invest in basic wardrobe pieces, but that you can't just shove shove a cashmere sweater into a bursting-at-the-seams closet and expect to channel that effortlessly elegant je ne sais quoi. Lessons from Madame Chic outlines Scott's experience as a foreign exchange student living at the home of famille Chic. The reader learns from Scott as Scott learns from Madame Chic about style, food, exercise, cooking, entertaining, interior design and more. It's a lifestyle guide that's not full of frustrating Pinterest-y type scenarios that leave you feeling like a failure- but a real insight into the differences between the Americans and French and what we can all stand to learn from the latter. Other favorite (and unexpected) chapters are: Reject the new Materialism, Seek Out the Arts and Always Use the Best Things You Have (I am sipping from a rarely used wedding teacup as I write this).

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon Lessons from Madame Chic, but I read the book before I read  Jennifer's delightful blog: The Daily Connoisseur. This might be backwards, but it worked for me because after reading the book & wanting more- I was then able to browse Jennifer's blog archives, and watch her charming and informative videos. I have no idea how she manages to make formality seem so down-to-earth and likable, but she really excels at it.

Anyhoo- if you're looking for a fun little gift (for someone else or yourself...) this book has my highest recommendation. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tell me, what books are you enjoying these days?

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