# Madame Chic # Reader Questions Answered

Family Not On Board with Madame Chic? Reader Q&A

Thank you for all of your wonderful comments. Life with baby Connoisseur is just wonderful. He is such a joy!

As promised, here are the Q&A videos I shot before having the baby. Today's video answers a reader's question about how to deal with family members who live contrary to the Madame Chic lifestyle. I receive this question so often, I am really happy to address it today.

When we decide to embark on the lifestyle of living a beautiful, elegant and poised life, we sometimes expect everyone else in our life to follow suit! But the reality, more often than not, is that others who are close to us don't even have these issues on their radar. So how to cope?

Check out this week's video to hear my response. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Question of the week

Sara writes:

Hi Jennifer! My name is Sara and I am a big fan of your videos and books and I was hoping to ask you a question on the topic of quality friendships. I love the suggestions you have on how to make quality, like-minded friends. Although those are important friendships, I wonder what I can do about my oldest friendships. The more I have practiced poise the more I realize that some of my best friends are not poised at all. I know that being an example to them is great, but do you have any other suggestions on how to inspire others to lead a poised life? I do not want to make them feel as though I am trying to change them, but I am excited to share the wonderful side-effects that come from looking presentable always and maintaining an air of mystery! Thank you!

Hi Sara, this is such a great question, and I feel it relates nicely to this week's topic as well. It is very important to realize that we cannot change other people, only ourselves. I have mentioned before (as well as in this week's video) that if we maintain our poise and integrity, we may inspire others to do the same. If these are some of your oldest and dearest friends, it is perfectly fine to share the exciting changes in your life with them. You could lend them one of your Madame Chic books, or tell them about how the ten-item wardrobe has changed your life. Or you could email them a blogpost or video from The Daily Connoisseur that inspires you. They might find it interesting and they might not, but either way, you tried! Just remember there is a reason why you became friends with them so many years ago. Remember those reasons if you ever feel frustrated with their behavior. Not everyone has the same lifestyle goals and that is OK!

Comment of the week

Starr writes:

Congratulations on the arrival of your sweet baby. You are a hero! Welcome to the world, baby boy.

During the time I lived in England I haunted the charity shops, gathering a beautifully mismatched collection of Staffordshire transferware. The truly old pieces (some of them over a century) a significantly smaller than the more contemporary pieces. But, sticking with traditional patterns (ie. Willow ware, English Scene), the newer pieces still feel puny compared to a set of "standard" white plates I picked up during a subsequent U.S. relocation. Those white plates almost are never used -- except as serving platters.

Incidentally, when I first returned to the U.S., my sister came to visit. The shipping container had just arrived from England and my sister was so interested in my plate collection. After a happy 30 minutes of looking at the different patterns, my sister (who is universally recognized as the most elegant amongst my siblings) turned to me and said, "Now you need to go to [big box store] and buy some plastic plates." When I asked *why* I would do that, she explained that I needed to save my plates for "special occasions. You can't easily replace these as they break. You aren't in England anymore." I simply told that I use the best I have and if they break, it would be fine...and it is.

Hi Starr, thank you for your comment. I loved the story about your elegant sister. I'm glad you explained that you like to use your best everyday. I bet she got a kick out of that!

This week I would love to know, have you dealt with similar frustrations? Are you struggling with how to deal with a co-worker, family member or friend who is not on board with the Madame Chic/ Daily Connoisseur lifestyle? Let me know in the comment section below, and your comment could be chosen as comment of the week on the blog.

See you next time as we discuss your ten-item wardrobe questions...

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Anonymous said...

I think that it would be the very opposite of chic to make one's guests feel that they are "not up to snuff". One doesn't try to change them. One can only live the way one chooses, and hopefully serve as an example. Be content to live the way you choose without needing "confirmation" from others that your way is the best. The important thing here is to inculcate your chic, mannerly way of doing things into your children so that it is second nature to them. Then, when they visit their more casual grandparents, they don't "go native". It will not be in their nature to do so. Otherwise, with the continuing levels of casualization in America, I foresee greater levels of egocentrism and slovenly behavior. We are currently witnessing the previous generation's parenting mistakes, with children who must be entertained all the time and think they are at the center of the universe. Let's not repeat these errors.

Pam said...

This was a really great comment to discuss today. While my husband doesn't follow a Madame Chic lifestyle intentionally, I have an illustration regarding my husband about how just doing your own thing can influence others. My husband works as a supervisor in a factory. When he first starting working there he noticed that everyone, including the other supervisors, all wore their 'trashy' clothes because, well they work in a messy factory. My husband broke the mold and always came into work wearing dress pants and a button-down shirt. Other supervisors wanted to know why he dressed up. His reply was that as someone in a position of authority he needed to distinguish himself from his employees. The others soon realized that the simple act of dressing the part garnered much respect from my husbands employees towards him. They came back to him wanting to know how he could afford to dress so nice in a factory where it is commonplace for clothing to get marred. He told them that we buy all of his work clothes at Goodwill in a wealthy town nearby and spent MUCH less than they probably did on their work clothes. Soon after, other supervisors began showing up in dress pants and button-down shirts boasting that they had made a trip to Goodwill. We spend less money on a much higher quality of clothing for him to wear in the factory than we could afford if we shopped at regular stores. It doesn't always cost a lot of money to make an impact, and as you say, you may just inspire others to follow suit as we saw in my husband's factory.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this post! ♥

Unknown said...

Yes! I struggle with this all the time with my own parents. Since they love close by, they are in my home at least once a week. My mom freely admits she is not a good housekeeper, and pokes fun at me as I work on living the Madame Chic lifestyle.

I am working on maintaining my poise when telling her what I enjoy about the Madame Chic books and the 10-item wardrobe in hopes that she will, if not come around to the Madame Chic lifestyle, be more open to the positives of living a poised life.

Ashley Diaz said...

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you so much for this post! I think it is very important for people to hear that just because they may choose a certain quality of life, others around them may not.
I feel that I have always had a "je ne sais quoi" about myself, which was very uncommon growing up in rural Georgia and attending a high school in which "redneck" attire was the cool thing. I was never swayed to go with the flow and still stand strong in my beliefs to this day.
My family are definitely more casual than myself, and while it has bothered me in the past that they would poke fun at my "dressing up" or how I never used paper products for meals, over time I feel that they have genuinely come to respect me for my lifestyle decisions. They still occasionally make good-humored jokes ("You know Ashley always dresses up!" or "Ashley would never use paper plates!") but we all know it's in good fun and I've learned to not take offence to it.
Additionally, I have also learned to loosen up on occasion and go with the flow. If we are having 30 people over for dinner (not such a rarity with my large family!), I'll allow "classy" paper products to be used for dinner. I do believe being a gracious "Madame Chic" includes being comfortable in your own skin without causing others to be uncomfortable in their own.

Unknown said...

What a great story! Thank you for sharing what can be done on a budget. <3 We often go to resale shops and have found nice items that would otherwise be out of our price point.

Unknown said...

One problem I have is as you say, clutter is not so chic. My personal belongings are rather minimalist but my family tends to really over do it with gifting the children. Then I am left drowning in a mound of 'stuff'. For example a certain relative may ask me for suggestions for gifts and I may say 'She really would love a scooter' but then when it comes gift giving time that person may have bought 8 outfits, 3 dolls, a bike, a pair of shoes and 4 books. I appreciate that they are trying to be generous but when multiple family members buy excessive amounts of things, things which my kids already have many of, it can be so overwhelming. Especially since the kids feel like I am the 'bad guy' when I talk about our need to let go of some of their things. It is hard to know what to do or say without causing hurt feelings because I know they have good intentions.
Also, my mother consistently makes rude comments about my attire when she comes over. She always tells me and that I need to change out of whatever I happen to be wearing so that I can be more 'comfortable' and that it is ridiculous to 'dress up' just to go to the market or walk around the block etc. She tends to have boundary issues like this so I firmly but politely tell her that I am perfectly happy with the outfit I have chosen.