Thursday, August 13, 2009

quality & authenticity

I'm currently re-reading one of my favorite books, Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl. And here's an excerpt that I think most of us can learn a thing or two from.

She Values Quality and Authencity

My friend Frédérique embodies that very French principle of quality over quantity. She has an almost singular precision in the way she dresses (a closet full of just the right clothes), in what she owns (things with meaning, things that evoke memories), in all the things that inhabit her world. Even objects that are propped up against a corner or thrown onto the floor of her country home (a battered hoe, a pair of muddied, well-worn boots) have a certain particularity about them, as if they were each imbued with a soul. Less is truly more, as long as it's an expression of quality and authenticity. She resists the expendable, the disposable, the trendy, the faux. She knows that having too much choice does not necessarily give her more ways to define herself. She prefers the singular wild flower to the pre-made bouquet. The small car to the big machines. She invariably buys one perfect high-quality dress and not several less satisfying, on-sale ones. And she instinctively knows how to mix and match with natural creativity.

The French girl's preference for quality over quantity ties directly into her ability to say No: No to excess in people, things or ideas; No to what doesn't grace her world. Quality over quantity is not just about material things. Who inhabits her world, who feeds her mind, who's allowed into her private garden? The French girl would rather spend time alone than with people who simply fill a void. As Frederique puts it, "Give me Proust or a good short story over idle chatter any time."


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