I always pay a lot of attention to anyone who gets their book into Anthropologie as I think they are the best major retail curator out there.
The book is an easy, breezy read and Scott's style is charming and has the requisite amount of self-deprecation. She summarizes the key points in each chapter so it makes it a nice reference book too.
The key lifestyle points I took away were as follows:
Have an edited wardrobe. I was at the point where every day in the winter I wore jeans and a cashmere sweater. I wore this uniform because these things were at the front of my overstuffed closet. Now that I've pulled out about 20 key pieces for an eight week period, I am much more creative with my outfits. Normally, I'd have put on a sweater and black pants for an author brunch but now I'm doing the shirt/skirt/scarf/tights thing because I can see them.
Use your best things. Because I have fairly young children still, I got out of the habit of using my good things. I have several Hermès scarves but was reluctant to use them in case someone drooled on me. I stopped using china I loved in favour of Corelle plates, lest one get dropped. I used an inexpensive crossbody bag as it was more practical than my lovely handbags when I was wrestling kids through a grocery store parking lot. And the last several winters, I've appeared mainly in giant down coats since they are warm and sturdy. The fact that my children call my heaviest weight one my "sleeping bag coat" might have been a hint that I looked less than fashionable (it's called the mystique: the only mystique it conveys is "Is there a person in there?)
There was good reason for me to be practical for a period of time. But now that my children are 8 and 10, I can drop them off at the valet parking at the school in the winter so I don't need something to keep me impossibly warm on the blacktop. They are capable of carrying a plate into the kitchen without incident. Serena keeps me on drool high alert but I suspect that Hermès scarves are impervious to french bulldog saliva as they share the same glamourous heritage. Thus, I have started to make an effort to bring glamour back to my life.
This woman is an outrageous liar. I don't drool on my own Hermès scarves, let alone hers!
Make small, delicious meals. Because my children are picky eaters (a problem the French don't seem to have), I often make a grownup dinner just for me. And since it's just for me, it's easy to just have cereal some nights. Well, no more. I find that not cooking everything from scratch is helpful as I won't roast a chicken just for me (although I should!), but I can buy half a roasted chicken at the market and then make a nice salad with it. I'm currently searching for easy, healthy meals (I poached this idea for avocado, arugula, and ricotta on sourdough from the always charming India Alexandra since I have had a craving for it since I read her post. I toast the bread and add just a pinch of fleur de sel. Delicious!
Take care of your skin. The french seem to spend their beauty dollars on skin care rather than makeup, hair and nails. They also seem to have a more holistic approach to beauty, incorporating good eating and things like massage into their routine. Jennifer Scott also swears by the Clarisonic tool, which I think is good too. It's the only way to really get your makeup off I think. Speaking of which...
Wear makeup. I'm one of those people who can look pretty decent once I cover up the sunspots and put on some blush. The biggest difference is eyeliner. I have a suspicion that when I turned 40, Renee Zellweger stole my eyes.
Since the greedy cow* has made no offer to give them back, I have had to get creative. I have had some good success using my Bourjois Intuitive liner to tightline my lower lids (Bourjois, the sister company of Chanel, is amazing.) I can do it all quite quickly now and it makes a big difference.
I also winnowed down the lipstick collection to a true red (I like Chanel's Gabrielle over YSL's glossy stain in Rouge Lacque) and a few neutrals (I like Bobbie Brown's Brownie, Marc Jacobs' Severine and Guerlain's Avarice). I'm also experimenting with wearing fragrance. As an allergy sufferer, I'm always empathetic to people's scent aversions so I limit it to when I'm with a fragrance-positive crowd. My winter go-tos are Poison, which I've worn since the 80s, and Hermès 24 Faubourg, which I picked up at the airport duty free shop in Jamaica. The lady at the Holt's counter gave me a boatload of samples the last time I was there so I'll be trying out some of the Lanvin and By Kilian scents too.
I still have lots of work ahead of me based on her tips such as walking more (harder in the winter in Oakville), entertaining more (I'm lazy), and cultivating an air of mystery (I'm an open book.)
Oh, la vache. I work with such amateurs.
But so far it's been fun.