The other day I started laughing out loud. And it wasn’t because of the serious medication I’ve been on to help me recover from my shoulder/arm injury. When I wasn’t sleeping these past couple of weeks, I was reading one of my favorite genres: Advice books. Now, as you know, I have quite a collection of mid-century advice books. But it seems like there has been a proliferation of books and blogs in the past few years advising women on how they can be more like those perfectly chic French women.
My laugh out loud moment happened as I was reading Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott* (a fun little book based upon her popular blog). As I was reading it, I was struck by the fact that what Ms. Scott and other authors are writing about are the same things that Home Ec teachers were teaching in the mid-century (at least, the textbooks and advice books I have from that time period say the same things):
- Make mealtimes special
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Go for quality, not quantity
- Spend money wisely
- Always look your best
- Good grooming matters
- Create a capsule wardrobe instead of being a victim to fashion fads
- And so on and so forth…
[Tweet “We dismiss advice from 1950s Home Ec teachers but devour that same advice from chic French women. “]
Now, I think it is great that the advice has proven to be timeless. But I have to laugh because I know I’m not the only one who has been asked for advice only to have it ignored or dismissed but when someone else gave the exact same advice, the person excitedly shares how much the advice helped her (it happens to me at work all.the.time *laugh*).
Our culture is quick to dismiss the advice of the mid-century Home Ec teachers as being old-fashioned and restrictive while embracing that same transformative advice from those chic French women.
But, in the end, in doesn’t matter who is giving the advice, does it? The only thing that matters is that the advice it helping women become the kind of person they want to be.
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