No doubt the honeymoon period for France’s new president Emmanuel Macron will be over much sooner than his wife’s. We’ve all fallen for the charms of France’s new first lady, Brigitte Trogneux. At 64 years of age, and 24 years older than her husband, we’re all wide-eyed at her seemingly effortless ability to embrace her age, and look stylish and sexy at the same time.
The UK press can’t get enough of her. In The Telegraph’s recent article: ‘How to channel your inner Madame Macron’ they highlight how ‘la femme d’un certain age’ luxuriates in her maturity in a way that a British woman does not’. While here in the UK our default setting is to play it safe or agonise over what’s age appropriate, our French counterparts flaunt their bare legs and smoky eyes without a moment’s hesitation.
It’s not that French women are any more beautiful than we are, they’re just a lot more confident. And as The Telegraph points out, even when they dress down, their outfit has always been given careful consideration. Here’s a secret: Whenever a French woman pretends she’s not paying attention to how she looks – she definitely is!
a huge part of this generation of French women’s effortless glamour is linked to the confidence they feel with their sexuality – their baby years are over, they’re at the pinnacle of their careers
In another Brigitte fan club article in The Times2: "Bravo for la femme d’un certain age," it’s suggested that this wave of midlife French women ‘spend a lot of time to look like they’ve just got out of bed’. Ex Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfield is also a big advocate of the ‘tired sexy’ look.
This sexy bit is important. The article implies that a huge part of this generation of French women’s effortless glamour is linked to the confidence they feel with their sexuality – their baby years are over, they’re at the pinnacle of their careers and they feel the best and most in control they’ve ever felt.
Ask any of your friends in the UK and I’m sure they’ll tell you they’ve got the ‘tired’ bit down, but feeling sexy is harder to muster. I think it all comes back to the expectations of British society and the limits we, as older women, place on ourselves.
This constant self-conscious questioning of what we can and can’t get away with at ‘our age’ is holding us back. I know women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond who are the most confident and sexy people I’ve ever met. But they won’t admit it. We are the masters of doing ourselves down. The comment: "I love that outfit" is so often met with a response of: "oh this, I’ve had it ages / got it in the sale / it doesn’t fit as well as it used to."
Nonsense, let’s make like Brigitte – tousle that hair, smudge those eyes, swap the jersey leggings for leather and grab yourself some joie de vivre.