I am very excited to share a stellar new book with you. It is a fashion, beauty, “change your life” guidebook for women of all ages titled Forever Chic. As an extra bonus, I was able to secure an exclusive interview with the author, Tish Jet. Forever Chic was released on October 15th and is killing it on Amazon rankings! I had the pleasure of receiving a review copy of this little treasure back in May at BEA, Book Expo America. The galley of the book is adorable and the final hardcover is absolutely darling. You know how I feel about books: The size, the shape, the covers, the interior design. Forever Chic is by far my favorite. Wait until you start reading it. Tish Jett spent some years in France and noticed a few things – specifically, tips that French women have embraced with respect to their beauty regime, their fashion sense, their internal development, as well as their overall view of life and their own place in it. Jett started to adopt some of these tricks and and habits and voila, she noticed changes in herself that affected her entire life.
We are lucky she decided to share the secrets that she learned and adopted. I dig Tish Jett’s entire attitiude in treating the whole woman, inside and out and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to pick her brain about her book. I know you will enjoy this practical and well-written guidebook for woman of all ages as much as I do. The hardcover copy of the book rests in a favorite spot on my desk for easy and frequent reference. By the way, Tish writes a terrific blog where she offers many more “forever chic” tips, just what we love, as well as a frequented Facebook Page, A Femme D’un Certain Age. Be sure to connect with her and pick up a copy of Forever Chic. I predict this will be everyone’s favorite holiday gift to get and to give.
Enjoy my Interview with Tish Jett:
Tish, Congratulations on the release of Forever Chic. It is gorgeous! I am convinced that it will help millions of women to feel differently about themselves, their lives, and their place in the world.
Claudine, thank you so very, very much. You are so kind.
Is this your first book? What was your motivation in writing the book?
Yes, this is my first book. My motivation for writing it was simply what I observed every day among my French girlfriends, women on the streets in Paris, and out in the country west of Paris where we live.
They all, from the youngest to women of un age certain as my best French friend likes to say (with a slight exaggeration on the word “certain”). Sensible shoes, for example, tend to be ballerinas, moccasins or for the trendy types, Converse high-tops or Bensimon sneakers – very cute and feminine. Sports shoes are worn for sports as are jogging and yoga togs.
What I saw over and over was effort in equals pleasure out and that pleasure is enjoyed not only for themselves, but also for those of us who love the street theater and, in my case, get great ideas from their clever style twists. French women will, for example, do something as simple as belting a cardigan, pile on an armload of bracelets, wear that famous leather jacket they love with a long peasant skirt, slip a tuxedo jacket over a white T-shirt and a pair of jeans. . .
If I were asked what is the major “takeaway” from my more than 25 years living in France I think I would say: discipline and pleasure. No question about it, French women are disciplined. We know they rarely see any long-term benefit in excess whether it’s drinking, eating or gossiping. They do seem to have a fine eye for joy and pleasure and try to create it when and where they can, from their homes and families to their wardrobes and beauty ministrations.
They get up, get dressed and get out there. I’ve tried to incorporate that mantra into my life because I know how much better I feel when I make an effort.
As we have discussed (through email) I instantly connected with this book. I love beauty tips that are simple, effective, and focus on the outer beauty of women but also on the inner beauty of women. I think you handled this delicate balance brilliantly in Forever Chic. Can you tell us what has been the most effective tip that enhanced your outer beauty? How abut a tip that changed our inner beauty?
Again, as I said in our email exchanges, I am so touched and pleased that you enjoyed the book.
It was my intention from the beginning to emphasize how outer beauty is fun and the tricks and treats we use to keep us looking the best we can for our age should be a pleasure, but most of all I wanted to demonstrate that without substance, after the initial appreciation of beauty, pure facade becomes boring.
As I mentioned in the book, a friend of ours said that at a dinner party he would rather be seated next to an interesting 80-year-old woman than a gorgeous, vapid 20-something woman. He maintained that he certainly appreciated a “lovely young thing,” but would much prefer spending the hours at table in lively conversation, discovering the adventures and life of a woman of an age certain or a certain age.
It should be noted that most of the women we admire for varied reasons, tend not to be what one would call great beauties with Catherine Deneuve for example being one of the great exceptions. French women create themselves, they do not want to be like anyone else. They do not aspire to look like anyone other than themselves. That’s what makes them so fascinating.
Is Ines de la Fressange a great beauty? No she is not. She is, at 57, much better, more interesting, more appealing than a starlet or the latest new face on the fashion scene. She has style, grace, kindness, intelligence and, I’m told, a wicked sense of humor. Obviously she was graced with a perfect morphology for clothes, but she dresses her body and brings her own signature style to her silhouette. She will be gorgeous at 90. She has set the stage.
My tip for my outer beauty: Spend money where it counts. I pay serious money for haircuts and color. I buy all of my reasonably priced beauty products, not makeup, at the pharmacy. They are all remarkably efficacious and they are all approved by my dermatologist.
My tip for inner beauty: Literally, since living in France, I have immersed myself in history. I am fascinated by French and English history. It is so much fun to be at a party and listen to the French banter about the kings, the mistresses, the ministers, the decoration, the excesses. We were invited to a divine dinner party in Paris a few years ago where two guests actually debated how accurate the size of Louis XV’s nose was in a painting. One said it was too large, the other felt it was misshapen.
I try to go to major as well as obscure exhibitions as do my friends. One friend attends one-off courses at the Sorbonne just to learn something new she can talk about with her husband.
My ultimate goal is to look the best I can for my age while doing everything I can to remain interesting for the duration.
I really hope someone will always want to sit next to me at a dinner party.
I am sure that will never be a problem, Tish. Another message that came through Forever Chic loud and clear was the shift of how a woman’s confidence can lead directly to her outer beauty. American women sometimes wait to live their lives until everything is to her liking on the outside or she is in the career or the relationship she desires. French Women, by contrast, tend to live for the day. Can you tell us how you were able to transform your mindset to embrace each day?
Living in France sort of solidified or validated how I wanted to live my life. I have never lived with regrets, the past is the past I don’t look back. From My Reason For Living In France to my all my French friends I have never heard anyone lament the past. I hope I have learned useful lessons and of course the past is part of one’s family history and I treasure the memories, but dwell on the negative? Never.
When I make grand sweeping statements or express my impressions I like to qualify by saying “from my experience.” With that in mind, I believe that the French understand intrinsically that life has its highs and lows, joys and sorrows, pleasures and deceptions. They do not expect perfection, they do not hold out for some unrealistic fairy tale definition of happiness. They “get on” with life and create joy where they can, appreciate it where they find it. They do believe in love and there too, they know that love stories can be complicated and sometimes difficult.
Anyone who expects pure bliss every day is setting themselves up for misery and disillusion. The French know this. But, we have in our power the possibility to create pleasure every day in small ways from a simple, homemade meal at a table set with flowers and cloth napkins, a real conversation among friends and family, and, of course getting dressed.
I get dressed every day which includes eyelashes curled and mascara-ed, a swipe of blush, a pink gloss and always, always perfume. I could spend the day in my pajamas writing at my computer, but I don’t – not anymore. But, honestly, when my desk is clear, there are flowers on it and my underwear matches I write better. Really, it’s true.
Would you mind sharing YOUR favorite chapter? I find it very hard to pick one!
My favorite chapter is the last one, Enduring Enchantments. This is the chapter that talks about substance. After we’ve buffed and polished the exterior, I think we all desire to be more than a fashionable facade. What really makes us ageless and, I believe, beautiful are charm, grace, poise, wit, informed intelligence, politesse and kindness. There are no expiration dates here.
Do you have plans for a second book?
Yes, I do. I’ve almost finished the proposal. I think it will be lots of fun.
Thanks Tish, for a fantastic book and a fantastic interview. We look forward to your next book and will keep up with your latest developments on your blog and Facebook Page!