Book Review: Lessons from Madame Chic

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris
Author: Jennifer L. Scott
ISBN: 978-1451699371
Published: November 2012
Available at all major book retailers.

This non-fiction book is the first for Jennifer L. Scott, the content of which elaborates on a series of popular entries she had made in her blog, The Daily Connoisseur. These entries had discussed the life lessons she learned during her time as a foreign exchange student in Paris, France. During her six-month stay with a wealthy family in the 16th arrondissement, the lady of the household made quite the impression on Scott and altered the way she saw the world and participated in it.

The general concept is that if one were to emulate the behaviors and attitude of the titular Madame Chic, one would have a more blissful, peaceful, and chic existence. Unfortunately, Scott’s advice fails to come across as anything other than the perceptions of an insecure schoolgirl who alters herself at the merest hint that others disapprove of her clothes, looks, behaviors, etc.

For example, Madame Chic noted a hole in the leg of a pair of sweat pants Scott wore as pajamas, and was concerned that they had been damaged in the wash. After Scott pointed out that her pants had been like that for years, Madame Chic questioned why Scott would keep and wear torn clothing. Scott immediately questioned this behavior as well, and promptly threw the pants out and bought new pajamas. Scott had brought these pants with her from her native California and said she had worn them to remind her of and make her feel at home, but the moment she was questioned about their condition, she got rid of them.

Much of the book is about how to do your hair, makeup, and stock your closet. There are also sections on the importance of reading, music, and art in making for interesting topics of conversation and broadening your horizons. Exercise, fine dining, and using the best of everything you can afford (while sticking to your budget) are also touched upon.

This book is easy to read, though I found myself irritated at the constant badgering that I should completely change my life and habits to conform to Scott’s opinion of how I, and the rest of the world, should be living. If you pass on this book, don’t worry- you won’t be missing out on any advice you probably haven’t already heard elsewhere.