Elegance is such an ethereal, subjective and esoteric subject that it can be difficult for we ordinary mortals to discuss with any degree of coherence. A case in point: Honore de Balzac’s Treatise on Elegant Living (not in translation but available through amazon.fr) concerns a discussion between Balzac and Beau Brummel on exactly this topic. That is august company in which to find oneself. (For a wonderful examination of elegance based on Balzac’s work, please visit and browse the Forum of The London Lounge. You will find it one of the most civilized places in cyber space.)

It is my intention to study what it means to lead an elegant life in today’s world and how we can cultivate an everyday elegance. But where do we start? What is available to us to study?

Elegance certainly isn’t a brand.

There are many brands that can claim to be elegant — cut along elegant lines perhaps, or elegantly appointed with luxurious details. But are they in and of themselves elegant? I don’t think so.

“Elegance” as my wife so rightly points out “isn’t forced. It’s not “in your face.” Elegance is polite. It pleases you without having to please, impress or shock others. Elegance is not about others so much as it is about you.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself. A seashell may be inherently elegant in design, but it is unaware of its elegance.. We are the ones who bring the essential human element to elegance — awareness of beauty and harmony in thought, word, comportment and dress.

So here we are. In the elegantology section of the site. Here you will find interviews with different people on what it is that they believe makes up an elegant existence and a general discussion of elegance. Any suggestions, comments or thoughts are always welcome.

 

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