Over the last several months we have had the incredible pleasure of having Iris Terrisson as our intern. Born into the wine industry and raised in the South of France, Iris is a bright world traveler who studies business at university in Paris. She has been spending this summer in NYC working with both Yes Way Rosé and a wine importer and is spending next semester in Singapore and Shanghai. She is as amazing as she sounds with impeccable style and taste. (So much so that we’ve asked her to please stop dressing better than we do!) She is also a total pro at the elusive French attitude that is a global obsession. In honor of Bastille Day, we asked her to share her top tips on how to fake the ‘tude, regardless of where you are from. Merci beaucoup, Iris.
How to Fake a French Attitude by Iris Terrisson
1. First things first, wearing a beret and holding a baguette will not make you French. The attitude is mostly about having weird little habits and behaviors, like not smiling and developing a smug expression. The French are not the most expressive or joyful people, but we’ve always been taught to have restraint and to stay neutral as much as possible. Keep this in mind: “Less smile, more attitude!”
2. Forget about beer. The French practically drink the equivalent of their weight in wine. Being French it is absolutely a must to love wine and we like to cultivate a sophisticated attitude about being natural wine lovers.
3. Speaking about wine, in France it’s more “#RoséAllYear” than “#RoséAllDay.” There is no rosé season. Want to look French? Order a glass of Rosé in February.
4. The French love coffee as much as they love wine. We enjoy it as a ritual and drink it after lunch and dinner. The most important thing is to savor the coffee sitting down and out of an actual cup.
5. People always say French people are rude. This is just natural. It also explains why we swear so much and “Putain” is our favorite curse word. Try to use it in any situation or for expressing any emotion and you’re on the right track.
6. The French style is often envied for this “je ne sais quoi” that makes it special. France has a huge fashion heritage, gathering the most prestigious designer houses in the world. However, most of the time our wardrobes consist of simpler things. We like to keep it casual, wearing basic items and enhancing the look with accessories. We also dress in neutral colors like white or black most of the time and are not too crazy about colors. It’s ultimately more about the attitude than the clothes, so be confident in what you’re wearing and project a feeling of nonchalance.
7. French people have many faults, including smoking. It’s just in the French culture. Luckily you don’t have to smoke to fake it. Just put a cigarette in your hand (you don’t have to light it) or carry a lighter around and you will immediately feel more French.
8. Another fault of French people is being late. There is no particular reason for us not to be on-time. For dinner it’s actually perceived as rude to arrive on-time. You should therefore arrive 15 min late when you’re invited somewhere. The golden is rule is to never, ever, arrive early to anything.
9. You can not fake a French attitude without learning that we don’t give hugs. We do what’s called “la bise” instead. You basically pretend giving a kiss on the cheek with the proper noise, but without really touching the person. This applies to your friends, family, and acquaintances. If the situation is more formal you can just shake the person’s hand.
10. Don’t try too hard. The French would rather act natural than too sophisticated. It’s all about details and the little things like easing into your day, savoring a good cup of coffee, and taking a stroll around the neighborhood.