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Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris
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Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  2,091 ratings  ·  325 reviews
When Jennifer Scott arrived at the doorstep of a grand Sixteenth Arrondissement apartment in Paris as a foreign exchange student, she was greeted by the woman who would become her mentor and the inspiration for the way she lived long after her time abroad was over. Madame Chic took the casual California teenager under her wing, revealing the secrets of how the French eleva ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published November 6th 2012 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anna
I picked up this book because I kept seeing people talk about her capsule wardrobe. That chapter didn't provide any insight on how to construct your own capsule other than suggesting that your capsule should include only very expensive fibers like cashmere and silk. These should be worn at all times and I do mean ALL times. Scott provides the helpful tip that when scrubbing toilets in these luxury fibers you should make sure to wear an apron. Because of course all chic women clean in designer cl ...more
Michele
A Francophile I am not. I tend to get irked when French women are held up as paragons of style and taste that we tacky Americans should strive to emulate. They're so stylish! They're so skinny! They look amazing wearing only red lipstick! Blah blah blah. And yet I picked up this book to flip through on my lunch hour. I ended up enjoying it - it's a fun, light read. It rather surprised me that this book made so many reviewers so angry - the presentation of Madame Chic and her Famille is so ideali ...more
Kerry
I quite enjoyed this book. The author appears to be very sweet natured, lovely, and offers a lot of sound advice about appreciating a less is more philosophy and putting your best foot forward in life. Does every tip apply to every woman? No. But that's not the point, she advocates learning what works for you and tailoring her advice to your lifestyle. To be sure there is a minimalist aspect to the advice, but since that works for me, I liked that. I didn't find the tone to be patronizing at all ...more
Colleen Martin
What an insipid, aggravating little book. I'll be the first to admit that I love reading about European fashion and lifestyle because, let's face it, they do tend to be more sophisticated and chic than their American counterparts. And there are books and blogs out there that get the point across without demeaning or talking down to us Yankee schlubs (two of the best examples: French Women Don't Get Fat and Garance Dore's blog). But this chick...wow, could she be any more pompous or affectatious? ...more
Ashley
I really enjoy fancy etiquette and style books. Whenever I go to Anthropologie, I end up with a book instead of clothing. I like the feel of the glossy thick stock, the look of the cute pen illustrations, and the idea that perhaps at some point I'll be able to embrace some of the suggestions in these books. Unfortunately, my most recent read in this genre, picked up at the aforementioned store, was disappointing/

I have read enough of this genre to recognize that is challenging to come up with ne
...more
Michelle
3.5 stars. Total fluff but in retrospect this was a great book to read on New Year’s Day. It’s a blog turned book written by a young woman who lived in Paris for a while and returned to the states with “lessons” from the abode of “Madame Chic” and family (her hosts). A lot of these things I already do such as trying to “dress up” even when only running errands or lounging around the house. I agree with the author that even if you’re not leaving the house you should still endeavor to look nice fo ...more
Jessie Jacobs
I've noticed of late that I've been reading more non-fiction. And this is trending towards books with a anti-comsumerism/simple living bent. (Or as a friend said, "self-help books.") At any rate this one was fantastic as it took the adventures of an American college student and her experiences studying abroad in France. In many ways the European mindset is very refreshing.

Some favorite moments/takeaway lessons:
When our protagonist is trying to figure out how to fit her American wardrobe into th
...more
Kari
I was really excited about this book, but the author's opinionated tone made me switch from a true listening posture to one of "glean the good bits" within two chapters. This book should have stayed a series of blog posts. Six months observing one family in Paris is not enough to speak with the authority she does. She also never addresses transferring these "lessons" from a culture where they are more normal into a culture where they are not - her solution is "if someone finds you pretentious, y ...more
Amanda
I feel badly for this author. She self-published this book and didn't use an editor, and it shows. Her idea has been done before, but with some editing and targeting the right audience - particularly girls preparing to study abroad - it could have been ok. Instead, she sounds trite and sometimes shrill. The author says far too many things that might be ok to think, but should never be said aloud. Overall, this book made me feel embarrassed for the author, but if I knew her in real life, I would ...more
Emily
Nothing revolutionary, but my favorite take-always from the book are the concept of a ten item wardrobe, seeking out sensory pleasure in Sisyphean tasks, and that a little extra effort goes a long way in living a chic, beautiful life.
DebHo
I found this book while looking for inspiration for the 10-item wardrobe or capsule wardrobe as Jennifer Scott terms it. I have to admit I actually went and bought the book and have since loaned it out to a few friends and family members.

Jennifer Scott went to study abroad in Paris while she was in college and the experience forever changed her day-to-day life. In the book she details how her host family, specifically the mother whom she calls Madame Chic, lived their daily lives through fashion
...more
Helen
Ok, so drink water, eat mindfully, incorporate exercise into your daily life. Fine. Enjoy good things in moderation, watch a bit less tv. Yep. But the fixation on silk blouses? And what if I don't LIKE ballet and opera? And what if I don't want to make fruit tarts and my husband doesn't smoke a pipe? I liked this book less and less the more I read it; at first because I didn't care for Famille Chic's rigid, formal lifestyle, and then because the writer repeatedly used the word "quotidian" while ...more
Lisa Ensor
The ideas in this book are really simple but way she writes and explains the way the French live is fascinating! I'm drawn to their lifestyle because it's about using your best, wearing your best, being your best but living simply. I have literally gone through my house and gotten rid of clutter and things I don't love. My philosophy on shopping had made a 180- instead of the sale clothes in bulk I'm realizing 1 or 2 things I LOVE will better serve me and get worn more. I highly recommend this b ...more
Stephanie Western
So...the (blogger-turned-) author just rubbed me the wrong way, which is too bad because usually my pretension threshold is pretty high. I enjoyed reading about Paris & the food and the two women Jennifer looked up to as role models. And I was motivated by the early chapter about paring down to a capsule wardrobe and getting rid of clothes that aren't flattering or are starting to get grungy, but the rest left me rolling my eyes and skimming to see if it would get interesting again. (Serious ...more
Ericka
There are some nice ideas in this book, but why did the poor girl have to go to Paris to learn these lessons? She could have opened her eyes and ears and learned them here at home. Silly. Most of the statements are stereotypes...now don't get me wrong I know there's a reason for stereotypes but she makes grandiose statements based on two families. That would be like saying all American boys wear baseball caps and all American girls have braces because the family you stayed with had that. My sons ...more
Lulufrances
Naw this was actually very inspiring!
Typically these "Things-Paris-Taught-Me" slash "Parisienne-Fashion-And-Style" kind of books are all quite good but very similar and do not offer a variety of aspects.
THIS DID! THIS DID!
I feel like rereading it right away.
Also, if I were to tell you about all the things I enjoyed in this and all the tipps/inspo I gained, I'd basically have to type out the whole book in this reviewing space, so why don't you do both of us a favour and simply read le livre?
(Fre
...more
Heidi
This is really just a silly little book. I picked it up because I wanted to read more about the capsule wardrobe. Unfortunately, there is not much, a few pages, maybe, on the concept. And nothing about how to go about creating a capsule. I like her ideas about living life fully and being present in every moment, but that was overshadowed by the constant idolizing of all things French. The huge sweeping generalizations of how French people live and why it is better than what we do here in America ...more
Alyne
Lark lent me this book and I loved it! Read it in a day. Let me clarify though: this is not 5 stars because it is some amazing seminal piece of work that is quintessential to American life, rather 5 stars because I personally loved it and found it to be inspiring in a down to earth sort of way! It had some great points about life: enjoy what you're doing! Enjoy cleaning, cleaning can be exercise! Don't watch too much TV, instead listen to the radio (NPR etc would be how I translate that). Dress ...more
cloudyskye
I admit I was a little wary at first. Debra Ollivier's "Entre nous", roughly about the same topic, was such a disappointment. But this book is so different. Jennifer doesn't try to be something she is not, she just gleans the things from this French BCBG family that find an echo in her and makes them a conscious part of her life. I think chapter 16, "Reject the new materialism", is the essence of her message, and I find I can totally subscribe to that. Her tips and experiences are encouraging an ...more
Beth
I enjoyed this book. The author, Jennifer Scott, spent time in Paris as a student, living with a host family with "Madame Chic" as the woman of the house. Scott, now living in Southern California, has a blog called the "Daily Connoisseur" on which this book is based. She shares 20 tips for living based on things she learned in France. Some are very simple, such as walking regularly, spending time reading and seeking out cultural opportunities, eating well, looking for quality (e.g., in food, clo ...more
Rebecca Freezer
This book was so bad that even weeks later it still irks me. This woman seems so uptight and lacking in any substance. Her horror over seeing a woman with holes in her leggings? Please. Puzzled, I visited her blog and her fluffy videos and conscious effort to keep 'a mona lisa smile' made me cringe and conclude: Bored mummy blogger. Plus a lot of her tips for good living seemed as though they were not wholly considered and badly planned. The 10 item wardrobe? Wha? I can't believe she gets a book ...more
Erin
Fluffy but fun and even impactful. I love the premise - live a quality life where you are conscious and present, employing all your senses, experiencing life passionately. This includes buying fewer things but of higher quality - clothes, food, housewares, makeup - using the nice things that you have everyday, surrounding yourself with quality, challenging your mind, and just taking each moment even the mundane and exploring and experiencing it fully. My favorites were her signature capsule ward ...more
Ashly
Charming and inspiring this book offers a refreshing take on what it means to live life to the fullest.

This book is full of advice on beauty, femininity, and quality living. Though much of what the author says is not new or groundbreaking, it is an excellent reminder to be content, cultivate your mind, and to separate yourself from many of the pitfalls of modern-day American culture.

The prose was not noteworthy and the author occasionally used cliches and had a propensity for using exclamation
...more
Billeen Carlson
Superbe!!!

I feel like I've been given permission to spoil myself and live in decadent, luxuriant splendor. And my house is clean and clutter free! Bonus!
Candy Hartley
This review is originally posted on www.candythebookishgirl.wordpress.com


"We should only wear clothes because we love them. They look good on us, and they speak who we are as people. No exceptions."

No, this book is not about Parisian fashion. It is a pure inspiration. It is the one book that opens your mind and shows you the possibility of living a quality life.

Divided into 3 sections – diet and exercise, style and beauty, and how to live well – Miss Scott attacks your brain with all the lessons
...more
Kristin
This book was awful. Picked up when I read a blog entry that mentioned it - thought it would be a sophisticated, funny, inspiring portrayal of French women. Nope, it was the American author preaching her holier than thou life philosophy at you, often without sharing much of how her thoughts tied into the French. Waste of time.

Also her writing is amateurish and she has a strange obsession with Alexander McCall Smith.
Heather
i loved this book. i feel inspired to live like a parisian. I have followed what it has said and i am just awed. Its was an easy read and it took me a week. i wish i could experience what the author experienced in france. study abroad, college, and more. you should read it
Kara
I might have related a bit more to Madame Bohemian than to Madam Chic, at least as far as personal style goes, but I liked the overall message of this book and the idea that less is more and that a well curated life, full of the things one truly loves, chosen with care, is better than a life full of impersonal, flashy, meaningless things.

I was expecting a book on style, and the ten item wardrobe capsule concept is there, as well as some other stylish ideas, but I came away from the book with so
...more
Christina
A light, highly enjoyable read for any woman looking to add a little more chic to her life. Great little tips on how to pair down your wardrobe with fewer, high quality items, tips on always presenting your best self and looking put together- even if just out running errands, tips on saving for things so that you only get what you need and really enjoy each purchase, taking great care of your appearance, choosing high quality foods, and much more

Its a book you can read in one sitting, but one t
...more
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Free Books, .99 &...: French Chic Book Giveaway 5 34 Nov 05, 2012 06:05PM  
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“Rejoice in every aspect of life—big or small. Let nothing pass you by. Appreciate everything—whether it is perceived as good or bad. You have the power to turn any experience into a pleasurable one. Challenge your preconceptions and luxuriate in the simple things of life.” 1 likes
“She only purchased what she would need for that day. She preferred to visit specialty shops like the local pâtisserie, charcuterie, or boulangerie instead of going to one giant supermarché, because the quality of goods she got at the specialty shops was superior to what one would find in a supermarket, and she got more exercise by going to more than one shop.” 0 likes
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