The Gamine Style: A New Cult?

6 Feb

A dear friend of mine sent me this link recently, knowing how much I love fashion and history and Audrey Hepburn. The post is titled How to Dress in a Gamine Style, with this picture of the lovely Hepburn first thing on the screen.  I’d never heard this term before, so I was interested to learn what it was all about.

The intention of the post, I believe, is benign.  I do think they are trying to be educational, helpful, and detailed.  But it’s the details that started to horrify me the further I got into the article.  For those of you who don’t want to read the full post, “gamine style is sweet, childlike, gentle, innocent and adorably charming.”  They reference Hepburn as the first gamine, and offer twelve steps to help you not only dress like a gamine, but act and become one as well.  These steps give you tips on icons, hair, makeup, clothing, accessories, etc.  But there are also steps about the length of your fingernails, maintaining bushy eyebrows, the number of piercings you are allowed to have, and, my favorite, how to live like a gamine:

Live like a gamine. Gamines not only dress the part, but they live it too. Here are some of the key elements:

  • Learn manners and the rules of etiquette. Begin with Emily Post’s book on etiquette (Manners) and find suitable etiquette blogs to keep abreast of the changing manners in society.
  • Always try to be charming and pleasant to be with.
  • If you’re dressing up as a sweet and innocent girl, don’t act like a bombshell. Be as naive as you can be.
  • Gamines always have poise. If you have poor posture, fix it.
  • Gamines are always smiling a genuine smile.
  • Gamines are respectful and never break the rules.
  • Gamines are classy and ladylike, yet they still have a playful and light side.
  • Gamines have a wide vocabulary and they never swear (in public). Improve your vocabulary and use it to say what you really mean.
  • Gamines always think of others first.
  • Gamines always try to be as happy as they can and look at the bright side.
  • Gamines are the happily charming girls all girls secretly want to be like, but not in a way that they are hated––more like admired and loved.

So basically, in case you haven’t done this already, become a decent human being with manners.  Got it!  Now what should I do with my time?

Do gamine activities such as going to the theatre (to watch a play, not a movie, but a chick flick or cartoons are acceptable too), shopping at small grocery stores or street markets with a basket, going to a ballet, etc. Read classic books (especially children’s classics like The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain); many of these classics are available free online, but a gamine always prefers real books (the old fashioned way). Listen to classical music (or at least 50’s and 60’s music like Brigitte Bardot’s Moi Je Joue, a gamine anthem). And read magazines, write letters rather than e-mails, attend dinner parties, throw tea parties (hand deliver all written invitations) and overall, live in an old-fashioned yet whimsical way.

No more emails!  Piece of cake.  Should I exercise?

Stay slim and healthy. Most gamines are slim with a boyish body. That means that they have as little fat as they can, but always in a healthy way. The gamine sport is riding a bicycle around town and walking (or skipping) while walking the dog. Gamines are supposed to adore sweet things. That means candy, chocolate, cookies and more sugary desserts. So the gamine diet is probably to eat all you desire in very small portions and to burn off the calories cycling or walking.

Looks like I should trade in my cat to get a dog.  Could I wear contacts?

If you want, you can get brown contact lenses too.

Oh good, I’ve been meaning to mask my green eyes.  Any final words of advice?

Don’t listen to others that tell you that being sweet, childish and innocent is silly and immature, they’re just jealous that you are being happy while they bore themselves trying to be “mature.”

Well said!  So who else wants to change their entire personality to be like this?


One Response to “The Gamine Style: A New Cult?”


  1. The Gamine Style: A New Cult? « My Hat Box (and Other Important … | Ladylike Etiquette - February 6, 2012

    […] light side. Gamines have a wide vocabulary and they never swear … … Read more here: The Gamine Style: A New Cult? « My Hat Box (and Other Important … ← An Education in Etiquette « marriage is not a […]

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