Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

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.

11 thoughts on “Everyday Elegance

  1. Oh dapper just the same. A second glance before dashing off is always a good idea- that final edit is most certainly an act of simplicity.

  2. Even though I am not one drop Irish, I am wearing my great Irish fisherman’s sweater, knitted by someone’s wee Irish gran and picked up by me at a carboot sale in Wales for 50p.

  3. Scottish here and planning to wear some orange today . . . lol. But, your point of living one’s life fully each day resonates. I’m a proponent of always using the good china, always using the good bedding, and always trying to put one’s best foot forward.

  4. You look as though you are about ready to jump in a 2 seater for a quick spin down to town for that forgotten item, like stilton cheese. Well, the celebration of sorts took on a life of it’s own which has me still putting away serving dishes and silver. My cake I shall have you know was a pot-o-gold.
    Now you be a good lass and pop on over for a pit-stop and see a couple of sharp suitors.
    Many thanks for the memes in regard to my royal b-day.

  5. Mr. Sartorialist, I love the way you use the linen jumper as scarf. This is very stylish. The jumper looks more like cashmere than linen. It’s quite common practise among well-to-do Europeans to wear clean crisp white shirt, a navy or camel colour cashmere jumper draped and tied across the shoulders and a pair of loafers. You see them wearing like them as they sit out in a chic cafe outside with their sunglasses on. You see one way of identifying if they are Europeans or not is to look at whether they take off their glasses during the lunch or not. If they don’t take off their sunglasses, that’s definitely European – think of the way Helmut Berger dress in “The Romantic English Woman” It’s oh-so-urbane European!

  6. Ah but here is a quote, “Charm is elegance made casual, with the emphasis on the casual. American charm, to be truly American, somehow has to combine the aristocratic with the democratic, but without a trace of snobbery.”

    The above I think is from the website Ivy-Style, quoting from the book Fred Astaire by Joseph Epstein. I’m reading the book now, and haven’t found that actua quote, but it certainly does capture the spirit of the book.

    Perhaps there is more ease to elegance then you suggest? I’ve been giving this idea of “American elegance/charm” some thought, and would be curious to hear what you think.

  7. What’s wrong with William and Mary? I think the tie is great. I just wish they still sold it at the alumni store.

  8. Hi Seth, I just meant that a college tie from a school that still has a royal charter from a Protestant, English King and Queen might not be appreciated by all… They got rid of it only? Or all ties? What next? The mascot?

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