Sunday, September 20, 2020

In search of Elegance ... cont.

I'm continuing my investigation into what elegance means for me. During July I read books that I thought would inspire me about french style in persuit of the key ingredients for elegance.  I'm coming up with a few insights that are meaningful. 

Emotional & delicate..... disciplined and yet free...

While Audrey Hepburn is not French, or Parisian, i was inspired to read about her style because she has always been associated with a French form of elegance in my mind. In 'Being like Audrey' by Victoria Loustalot, I found some bits of wisdom.
A willingness to be emotional and delicate can make it possible to achieve what we hope to be: true to ourselves. Audrey was true in her performances, and she was true in her life. She taught us to replace ruthless ambition with the more nuanced and interesting delicacy of emotional truth. When we do, we are likely to discover that we can go even further than we ever intended. (P142)
For me, emotional & delicate, are core characteristics of elegance.  I think its about being able to listen to yourself and others with delicacy... respectfully. And then to offer a response that is kind and compassionate, but also clear and, true to self.

In the book about Audrey, the author also noted discipline is balanced with a lighter side through Audreys life choices...  
Audrey’s hard work and discipline are well documented, but that doesn’t mean she was serious all the time. She didn’t shy away from joking around behind the camera with the rest of the cast and the crew. She knew that part of working hard means knowing how to collaborate and how to make it easier for the entire cast and crew to be successful. Making the work fun is part of the job.
I am reminded that i do like being arround my team at work. They're great people. We have some fun together.. even if we're all remote working this year, we have found ways to have fun together.

I was attracted to this next book because it is about the lighter side of life.. Flaneur, the art of wandering the streets of Paris... Frederico Castigliano. I also felt like there was something very elegant in the art of being a flaneur... 
I zigzag, because the greatest pleasure does not consist in experiencing new things, but in savoring the infinite variation of what I already know. This exercise reaches its peak, for me, in the tiny streets, passages and courtyards that lie along the southern boundary between the 9th and 10th arrondissements.
What distinguishes the flâneur, the element that elevates him above ordinary people, is indeed the particular relationship that he establishes with the space surrounding him.
So, abandon your maps and your GPS, leave your traditional guidebooks at home. The aim is to get lost. You must feel free to wander and roam............. When you walk in Paris you’re not obliged to go to a particular place, you don’t necessarily have to go shopping, you don’t have to take photographs. Feel yourselves free from commitments, feel yourselves under absolutely no obligation to see a famous monument or to visit a museum. 
What appeals to me in these quotes is the invitation to leave all conventional demands at the door, and to move into the world with an intentional abandon. To simple walk in the moment and discover your surrounds anew. 

This weeks reflection has drawn me to these words.....
Emotional & delicate..... disciplined and yet free... 

 Elegance is intentional and yet also a fragile balance... 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Je ne sais quoi

 I define je ne sais quoi as your source of feminine power. It’s the alluring, elegant, captivating, enchanting essence of who you are, demonstrated through how you live. The appealing nature of your mindset, presence, and wardrobe are physical manifestations of your je ne sais quoi.... Devoreux Walton. 

Walton further states.....On each day and for every decision you make, you have the beautiful opportunity to make a choice. You choose what you think, say, do, and wear, which creates your lifestyle.

During July, while hosting Paris in July,  I dedicated my little reading time to to the pursuit of understanding the sense of elegance so often ascribed to french women. Waltons quote above is probably closest to my way of thinking. Elegance is the choice we make to show our genuine self to others in an intentional way. Whether thats in wearing a subtle or even not so subtle flash of colour in an Italian silk scarf or speaking out on things that matter, i believe my elegance is about being intentional, and holding poise & confidence in doing so.

Its Spring here is Australia, and I am going to share quotes here at Thyme-for-tea from my readings and ponderings about elegance. Because spring calls me to action. Its the season that asks me to be intentional again. Its the awakening after winter, and time to step out of hybernation (for me thats hidding away from responsibility for self)... Spring calls for new life, energy and passion.... 

 “L’elégance is the manner in which one does a thing.” EJ Gore from French Lessons: the art of lliving and loving well.
This book was included in my Paris in July reading pile, and one i really enjoyed. Part fiction and part journey through lifes lessons, I joined these two ladies as they wandered through different Parisian parties, musees, parks and shops, as Susan absorbed the lessons Gabrielle shared.
 Allow yourself the time to pause and savor—a glass of wine, a conversation, your child’s smile—whatever is before you, in this moment. This is the ancient privilege of princes. G.
On a matter of self disclosure, I actually dont believe elengance is about standing out of the crowd because you have a tiny wasteline, or because you wear the most expensive suit, or the highest heels.... I  am not one to care for lipstick, heels, handbags or jewells.... elegance for me is about presence.. and as i read a few light hearted books on style and fashion, the quotes i captured were about the character of elegance. 

Intentionally, i hope to destill more wisdom about elegance and poise from Paris over the next few weeks.