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    An Ode to the Art of Elegance

    Barbara Vinken

    Not a façade but a way of life: In a time of strenuous self-improvement, it is elegance that truly makes a society sparkle

    In the grand tapestry of contemporary fashion, elegance was once revered as the epitome of style. Nowadays, it finds itself misaligned. A casualty of shifting perceptions, the concept of elegance is considered by some as archaic, overly whimsical, or, regrettably, an indulgence of the social elite. In pursuit of challenging these misconceptions, join us as we embark on a journey to reclaim the art of elegance. 

    Long before elegance became synonymous with clothing, it flourished in the realm of language – representing a harmonious dance between eloquence and beauty. It then transcended written and spoken discourse, extending its influence to manners, hosting, and, of course, the sartorial realm. 

    At its essence, elegance is a celebration of savoir-vivre. It is an art of living that celebrates those who gracefully spend their attention and affection. It beckons us to pause amid the relentless pace of modern existence, encouraging thoughtful choices over haste. A leisurely stroll over a frenzied sprint, if you will. Elegance invites us to resist the relentless demands of efficiency and embrace the beauty of the moment, reminding us that life’s true allure lies in its subtleties.

    Today, the perception of elegant living may have morphed into an unwelcome duty. A social burden laden with stress. Let us recall the joy that stems from a lighthearted approach to life – one that revolves less around ourselves and more towards others. The pleasure of pleasing and being pleased is the beacon guiding us out of social stress.

    In embracing elegance, we debunk the misconception of perfection, recognising it as an art form that transforms weaknesses into grace. It is not about conforming to norms, but rather, extracting beauty from imperfection. Balzac saw imperfections as the very essence of charm, a sentiment echoed humorously by Osgood in Billy Wilder’s Some Like it Hot

    “Well, nobody is perfect,” he quipped with an unwavering smile.

    The journey becomes the destination. It inspires us to adorn ourselves in a manner that elicits smiles and comments from those we encounter. Life, a series of fleeting moments, deserves to be celebrated. In every poetic shimmer of elegance, the mundane is transformed into something extraordinary.

    True elegance transcends the reduction of others to mere objects or the brash exhibition of one’s achievements. It lies in the delicate balance of subtlety and confidence, where less is indeed more. Elegance emanates from those who don’t flaunt their successes but play with them with grace, embracing their imperfections and smiling alongside others. 

    It is the sovereignty of elegance that allows us to break free from stereotypes – paving the way for an open and kind public space. As we navigate this modern era, let us divert our gaze from the virtual. Instead, let us embrace the present, giving compliments and engaging in genuine, face-to-face interactions.

    Elegance is an age-old art. It is a celebration of a happy coexistence that prioritises integration over competition. A casual art, it’s a learned skill that permeates the everyday. So, let us revel in the rediscovery of elegance, reviving its charm and making it an integral part of our lives once more.

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