Easy and Elegant Life

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

Dressing Up the Dressed Down Room

“Nothing Is More Exotic Than a Little 18th Century.” So writes the author of “Dressed Down Decor, Decoded” in the Wall Street Journal. Good interior design is a delight. Great interior design makes you look twice and want to leap into the photo. Jacques Grange’s room featured at the top of the article makes me want to move right in. The Picasso does help with that, of course, but it is the luxury of space that appeals to me. Space that looks livable and lived-in whilst not being overcrowded or too precious.

If we’ve studied smart casual clothing, this is its equal in design and many of the lessons that the author lists could be easily adapted to your wardrobe. What I find amusing is that the style is called “dressed down” or “eclectic informal.” Like smart casual, it doesn’t mean sloppy or poorly curated. It does mean interesting.

The “18th Century” objets? The tie. Patent opera pumps? It has nothing to do with being hip and everything to do with style.

8 thoughts on “Dressing Up the Dressed Down Room

  1. Nice comparison! I would add that one needs to train one’s eye as to proportion. This room has incredibly long drapery to draw attention to the height of the room, but the furniture is kept at a normal height throughout so our eyes are focused on the Picasso.

    A room full of pieces that has been collected carefully through the years to reflect the owner’s style, tastes, usability, and moderate doses of eclectic items to add punch is a good analogy for how our wardrobes should be crafted.

  2. What a great post and perfect analogy to your newly introduced ‘smart casual’ way of dressing. The room and decor are certainly not formal–yet it is perfectly polished, pulled together, inviting, and livable. One could sit in jeans and bare feet and read the WSJ on a Sunday morning, or invite a few friends in for cocktails prior to a black tie event. Perfect room, nothing contrived.

    Speaking of ‘black patent opera pumps,’ I am in need of guidance from you and your readers (and Mrs. E if she is willing to weigh in). I need a pair of black patent pumps to wear with Spring/Summer dresses and skirts and occasionally dressy slacks. Between these two styles, which would be better: a peep-toe, closed heel, 2 1/2″ pump; OR a peep-toe, closed heel d’orsay with kitten heel. Don Giovanni is on the calendar . . .

  3. Great post. The French have perfected interior design–and this room is proof. I love the yellow balanced with gold.

  4. Paula, I think the kitten heel is due for a comeback. A personal favourite of mine. Mrs. E. doesn’t wear heels as she is my height in bare feet and feels funny towering over me. She claims she’s just out of practice….

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