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A FRENCH GIRL’S GUIDE TO OWNING YOUR INSECURITIES

Extracted from ‘Older But Better, But Older’, model and author Caroline de Maigret shares her wisdom

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I don’t like my butt. I just don’t. I’ve disliked it since the summer I was seventeen, when a guy accosted me at the club to inform me that my bum hung low.

I didn’t know him, he was probably wasted, or another jerk whose main pick-up technique was to prey on our insecurities. Strategically positioning himself as the only guy at the party who could possibly be into a body as strange as mine. Wasn’t I lucky to find such a generous, open-minded catch? His words had done their damage. I had finally solved the mystery of what went on behind me, the view accessible to all but myself. That lightheartedness that had the audacity to stroll around would now have to sit itself right down.

The next morning I developed a specially tailored trick for the beach. A kind of crab-walk crossed with surprising pelvic movements, to get from beach towel to the sea. I still perform this ludicrous dance, convinced it prevents a clear sight of my behind.

One September morning a few weeks later the fateful question arose: what to wear for the first day of sixth form? I had a gravity problem to fix.

I had no baggy trousers, so I raided my brother’s wardrobe. I found a pair of tailored brown trousers that I hiked all the way up, tightly fastened with a belt. For the top I borrowed a white shirt, worn with an extra button undone so I could resemble Katharine Hepburn, whose modern elegance had always inspired me. The outfit nailed its primary purpose – and it wasn’t half bad. At school, friends praised my new look.

It was my first time grappling with the concept of a look, of style and allure. I began to understand the value of pushing a detail a little further for a more interesting overall result: these weren’t just wide trousers that hid what I disliked. These trousers gave me a devil-may-care, original nonchalance. From a constraint, I had crafted a flattering style that I liked.

But I still can’t believe a nightclub loser helped me find it.


Extracted from ‘Older But Better, But Older’ by Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas, out now, published by Ebury Press (RRP £16.99)

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