Monday, September 12, 2011

Haricots Verts or Green Beans


We liken linear bodies to pencils, blades of grass, reeds, even whippets. The French refer to very slender women as 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.

25 comments:

hopflower said...

Of course. Not everyone is an "haricot vert", as the French say; it depends upon one's ancestry and family genes! While I admire the Audrey Hepburn type, I am not one. My curves have to be watched so that they do not take over. But I am medium-boned and somewhat slender for my age and height. Taking a little care is the key to dressing well and always the goal is to look one's best!

Gretchen said...

Oddly enough, I wouldn't consider any of the women showcased to be ronde. "Normal-sized" or average, I'd say. Yet likely that's because we have so much obesity in the States that the normality has shifted? I believe body-skimming clothing works better than flowy clothes masquerading as concealment, but each woman needs to find what makes her feel comfortable as well as pretty, and forget what others say!

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I am more a potato than a green bean, but like you said, I have learned to embrace my curves and not allow them to defeat me. As always I love your street shots and might even use one for an inspiration shot for me down the road. I am learning to better develop and define my own style.

Anonymous said...

They don't look ronde to me either. What size are these women? 42 or ?, since 36 to 40 is average in France.

Villette said...

Two words for all of these women: confident and relaxed. And what could be more attractive than that?

BigLittleWolf said...

We need not - and cannot - all be "haricots verts." Some of us aren't made that way, and was it only 2 generations back that our womanly rondeurs were much coveted?

Perhaps it's time we fully embrace that confidence you speak of, and our healthiest selves as our most beautiful selves.

And in so doing, slightly shift the cultural conversation.

The American Suburbanite in Rural England said...

Lovely post and lovely women...

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Fabulous femmes.

"Taking the time"
means that we personally think we are worth the effort and we are, which flows into
"confidence is liberating"

Great post!

déjà pseu said...

Thanks for this, Tish. It's a great reminder. As someone who's finally settling into my curves and the styles that work best with them, these women are tremendous inspiration.

A bird in the hand said...

A very good reminder that being a bean pole (haricot vert) is not the point; it's making the best of what you have..

Debbi@SheAccessorizesWell said...

The ladies are all lovely. I wouldn't call them ronde either.

Russian Chic said...

Is this true that most women in Fance are petite and slender. What is the average height of women in France? Thank you.

LuxeBytes said...

This post is exactly why French women have such a reputation for being chic and feminine all their live-long days. They all look wonderful!

xoxox

coffeeaddict said...

Most of the ladies in the post are definitely not rondes. What they lack is the much coveted (?) hour glass shape. From what I can see from the pictures the ladies in question most likely have the H shape figure. H shape can be difficult because it can sometimes give the wrong apperance of having more weight than one actually has.

rach. said...

this just makes me want a REALLY big scarf. haha. and you work what you got girlfriend, as long as you are happy that is all that matters. :)

love, rach.
www.so--hi.blogspot.com

LilyBart said...

Women value thinness. Men, not so much. Men generally like a curvy girl. But most importantly, they like a girl who thinks she's sexy whatever the size.

knitpurl said...

Great pictures, words, and thanks for the inspiration - I needed to read your and your readers' posts today. xoxoxo, C.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

All lovely ladies Tish. A great reminder we don't all have to be the same size. I need to do back to how to tie a scarf. Somehow mine looks so messy compared to the lady in the last photo.
Sam

marlaakajake said...

i love reading your forum.
fashion was my life in one of my age ranges. I managed to save all my beautiful scarves and jewelry over the years and as everything evolves..along with age being a state of mind as you so wonderfly express here. so does shape and unfortunately your shape changes too. you put it elequintly and show how simple goes a long way..including color..i dress on how i feel. i will always feel 12 playfully and go wild in a quiet way at night. right now i'm a curvy string bean. right diet and running are letting me dress this way. there is something about being skinny that i always liked..wearing very big and loose clothing...long skirts..loose white shirts...even baggy overalls,,,yes, i'm a woman way over 40....and proud of her stripes too..long stripes i might add. i am happy to read your wonderful fashion and thoughts.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, "ronde" is the French euphemism for "fat". Now, please explain, why any of these women should be called "fat".

Mean Mama said...

This post is an example of why I love to read your blog! Like others, I don't think any of those women are truly "ronde", but I certainly enjoy your posts that show REAL women on the street! thank you!

Rubi said...

Lovely, chic clothes, and women that exude confidence. I'd have to see them in swimsuits to decide if they were really "ronde," though.

For me, who is "plus ronde" than these women, wearing light layers closer to the body is a better look. I've learned there's a fine line between flowy and hiding out.

Splenderosa said...

Ohhhh that 3rd image, just perfection isn't it?

Carmie of the Single Nester said...

These women look comfortable and stylish but I think if I wore something similar, I would look schlumpy . . .

Lisa Moon said...

Have just discovered your blog from Splenderosa and absolutely love it. Have been wanting more "brain food" in my life regarding the elegance of European women and what we can learn and incorporate from them. Thank you so much!

Lisa
sanantoniomurals.blogspot.com

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