Why French Women Age More Gracefully Than We Do

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We’ve got plenty of hometown pride, but when it some to style, we’re unabashedly in the business of stealing tricks from the French. This goes for everything from fuzzy angora sweaters and eye cream, to the perfect merlot to pair with dinner.

Helping us one tome at a time is Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat and luminary who single- handedly taught us that women can cut an enviable physique while still indulging in red wine and carbs. The next installment of her empire, French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secrets of Style and Attitude, tackles anti-aging from all corners of attack, including understanding the storied French Paradox.

What strikes us as most interesting about Guiliano’s outlook on aging gracefully is that it’s not just merely based on appearance, but a difference in culture — and that’s not just a reference to plastic surgery (French women go under the knife too, she admits).

“The difference is the U.S. is a ‘youth’ culture, France is not. Literally, here you are old after 30 and not in France. There is still respect for women in their 50s. I feel young in Paris for the obvious reasons. Men still look at women my age and try to flirt, have humor, low-key, but seduction nevertheless. And what woman is not sensitive to it?” she told WWD.

Now, a newfound youth will not eliminate fine lines, but some of our favorite female paragons have taught us that ‘you’re as young as you feel,’ is an effective mantra, inside out.

Though if you’re looking to turn back time with a youthful glow, there’s simply no way around moisturizing.“For women in France, moisturizing is a religion. It is a country of creams, treatments and facials. “When I settled in Manhattan, people looked at me strangely when I asked where they went to get their facials. In France, it was like going to the dentist — okay not exactly — but it was considered required maintenance,” Guiliano writes.

But slathering on cream isn’t all it takes to keep up with French women. Americans must become full-on Francophiles when it comes to culinary fare, as well. The good news is that unlike the juice cleanses that we’ve been brainwashed to look at as the be all and end all for keeping a desirable weight, The French Women diet invites you to indulge in oysters, green veggies, yogurt, chocolate, mushrooms, and the diet secret du jour: honey.

The sweet nectar has been making headlines lately thanks to The Honey Diet, which could help you list up to up to 3lbs a week. Essentially, it involves eating a spoonful of honey before bed each night to curb surgar cravings. We bet that Guiliano would get behind the slenderizing regiment in that it doesn’t involve calorie counting, expensive diet foods, and most especially, anything close to a starvation plan.

Guiliano also recognizes the importance that clothes play as part of the French lifestyle. Basically, it comes down to having well-made, tailored basics in a neutral color palatte, and making sure you always look put-together. One of the rules in her book states, “Comfort, yes; casual/sloppy, no. Not on the plane, not in the streets. Not anywhere.”

If you need more convincing, just look to Catherine Deneuve, who at 70 is still as vivacious as she was starring in Belle de Jour.  ‘Wow,’” Guiliano writes. “She is a little rounder, but seems to be saying comfortably: ‘Who cares? I am the whole package, not an aging neck.’”

French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secrets of Style and Attitude hits shelves December 24. Pre-order it here.

datherine deneuve aging

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