Defining Elegance

(Contessanally calls Fausto Calderai — in white tie– “Florence’s most elegant man about town.” But my money may be on Marchese Dotti Bichi Ruspoli Forteguerri, who looks like he wears a dinner suit every evening.) is a marvelous thing. It is the creation of Yaffa Assouline and is therefore, very elegant. In the online magazine they frequently ask those profiled a version of the Proust questionnaire. “If Luxury were….”

What a good idea! And, as the man who taught me the most about writing used to say: “when you know enough to steal the very best…”

Elegance is an elusive target. I still believe that there is an empirical elegance, something that we all recognize as elegant. But I think that the individual’s definition is by its very nature… individual to that person. I wonder where the overlap occurs?

Do a quick google search on “the elegant man” and you’ll be surprised what images turn up. For the most part your results will emphasize accessories. “Clothes make the man” is the message. And to some degree, that’s correct. Your outward appearance can be indicative of your inner life. “The elegant woman” does slightly better, and rewards you with this survey.

DD, a new reader, commented yesterday “I do believe that elegance in demeanor, dress, and speech is always rather startling to observe, so unaccustomed are we to seeing it nowadays.”

That’s a damning statement, isn’t it? We know it when we see it. But, if we can define what it is to be elegant, we are half way to living a more elegant life. And that’s what this Easy and Elegant Life experiment is all about.

Here’s a little weekend parlor game. I invite you to play along. I’ll even send a invitation to those living persons whom you nominate as elegant soliciting their answers to the quiz.

If Elegance were an object:

If Elegance were a moment:

If Elegance were a person:

If Elegance were a place:

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