Everyday Elegance

(S Taylor, Torn from the pages of “The New Yorker” and used without permission. Please let me know and I’ll take it off the refrigerator, too.)

It starts innocently enough… bad weather, spring break, really too warm for March, lazy weekend … whatever. Oh, I’m just running errands. Or it’s St. Patrick’s Day and that emerald sweater really goes nicely with the tweedy trousers. Downpour = Barbour. Barbour is too short for a coat beneath. Barbour = sweater and slacks.

Get the picture?
(80ºF and a trip to Maymont to see the animals with the kids. The sweater is linen.)

(St. Patrick’s Day. No, I’m not Irish or I would have remembered about the orange tie… whoops.)

Easy, yes. Elegant… ?

Country clothes and the city have a long history, Friday tweeds signaling that you were about to flee to the country house for Friday to Sunday. Monday tweeds signaling that you were just back in and hadn’t time to change for luncheon at the Club before changing for dinner and the opera.

You know how this goes. Fast forward a few decades and it’s khakis and polos unless you’re the groom. Then I caught sight of this gentleman, thanks to The Peak of Chic. It turns out Mr. Adams is a Virginian and he is putting this Richmonder to shame today (and I love the RL style jazz that starts up when you visit the site.)

I’ve written before about the need for eternal vigilance. Surrounding yourself with beauty and culture is the first step toward changing the mindset that only special occasions call for elevated standards. (Would that Mrs. E. and I could afford a decorator and those household furnishings which we covet.)

The second step is to set higher standards in your day-to-day dress. You’ve got the stuff, so do I. How much better do you feel when dressed to the nines? Elegance in dress, I’m afraid, tends to the more formal lounge suit. I say “tends” as there are always exceptions and one should always feel comfortable.

So look to your tie rack or your drawer full of pocket squares today as you think about wearing a bit of the green. And then follow Coco Chanel’s maxim and take one thing off before you go out the door. I originally planned to wear a grey vest with a two tone yellow and gold overplaid with the suit and tie. To strive for elegance strive for sleek simplicity.

(This is my old school tie… considering that it is from The College of William (of Orange) and Mary, it, too, is probably not in the the best of taste today. But it is green.)

In the meantime, here’s to the always elegant Mrs. PvE on the occasion of her birthday. Making it look so easy is the most elegant trick of all. Many happy returns of the day.

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