haricots verts, those fine, perfect green beans we buy at our favorite markets.
Haricots verts, as you know, are highly coveted on the table, but not everyone sitting around that table can be, or wishes to be, as thin as a green bean and, while the majority of French women I see are slender, most are not reed thin and some are a little ronde (one of my favorite words).
So, what does a woman do in a country where we're surrounded by women who tend to fall into the size range of 36 to 40?
Simple: find a style that works for curves, emphasize the positive and move on. The difference, I dare say, between "us and them" is that Frenchwomen take the time -- no matter what their size -- to define a style that defines them and from that moment on they are liberated from the traumas of what to wear, what covers this, what makes that look worse, etc. You know the litany.
Remember, we're talking about yet another aspect of the remarkable discipline Frenchwomen possess. They know the time they put into their own well-being pays off not only for themselves, but for their families and everyone they meet. Confidence is liberating.
From what I see, and I have the pictures to prove my theory, the women celebrate and work with their figures. They, like their slimmer sisters, find a style that works with their rondeur. Long scarves create an unbroken vertical line; tunics work miracles; immaculate grooming is de rigueur; belts slide down to the hip; shoes are always pretty; a statement bauble -- an XXL neon colored plastic watch for example -- and, of course, colors are neutral. They prove every day that ronde is as beautiful as a green bean.