Sunday, May 15, 2011


What's your definition of elegance? Everyone's definition is a little different. Satin and pearls? A crisply-pressed business suit? A pair of jeans and a white top? With pumps? Or sneakers? A soft perm, braids, teased hair, springy curls? Ribbons, barrettes? Hair up or down? Rings, necklaces, chokers, bracelets? Tattoos? A vintage pilot's outfit with a white scarf? Cocktail dress, native clothing? Make-up or no? Purses, totes, accessories galore? Or the 'less is more'?

Genevieve Dariaux wrote A Guide to Elegance: For Every Woman who Wants to be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions It was originally published in 1964, but some of the basics are very true today. Ms. Dariaux advises women on various topics under fashion. For example, under "F: Fashion", she writes:

"There are two different kinds of fashion, which might be distinguished as True Fashion and Passing Fashion. True Fashion is a deep current that changes only every four or five years and is the inspiration of some particular creator, while Passing Fashions are ripples of no importance, which are carried off by the winds of a single season and are invented by a number of different designers. (p.46)."

In other words, timeless classics and the latest fads. Some things don't change in almost 50 years.

While the basics are timeless, other bits of Dariaux's advice might not go over well today. Her highty-toity attitude about certain aspects of style aren't very practical for modern times. Some of her 'less than sensible purchases' include: "a classic black Persian lamb coat, a set of blue fox furs, a little white mink collar that goes with nothing, and at least 100 pairs of pretty, inexpensive shoes that hurt my feet'.

This book is the inspiration for Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro. A woman named Louise Canova finds a copy of Dariaux's book in a second-hand bookstore. She uses it as a guide to renovate her looks, her poise, and her attitude about life. The two books are closely linked, with a short excerpt from Dariaux's book at the beginning of each chapter.

Re-energizing your elegance is possible...if you're willing to work for it. And of course, the only one who can define your elegance is you.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2011

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