Easy and Elegant Life

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


When I started Easy and Elegant Life ‘lo those many years ago, I had lofty ambitions. Design, dress, cookery, travel, reading, and music were all to be addressed in the interest of pursuing the art of living well.

Slowly those topics fell away. I had to start somewhere and looking around at the sorry state of menswear, or more precisely what passed for acceptable modes of dress and fashion, I honed in on helping the average man look better and feel better about looking good. (FYI, The Middle Ground, my booklet about smart casual, is just about ready to be released into the wild.)

I’m happy to report that these days there are myriad resources to get solid advice about menswear. So maybe it’s time that I once again explore a few ideas about living well.

No time like the present.

You’re going to groan when you realize what I’m recommending.

Folly Beach, SC. March 2018. 6:45 am.

Become a morning person.

Admittedly, getting up to watch the sunrise whilst on vacation isn’t a huge sacrifice, but I realized that I’ve grown to love getting up before dawn and watching the sun come up. My morning routine has changed over the years. Around the turn of the century, I would get up to run, ending up on my front porch to stretch and watch the sun rise over the rooftops.

These days exercise is walking the dogs and yoga, both of which happen after I return home from dropping my daughter off at school. But I still make time to enjoy the dawn.

Most mornings I get up, pad downstairs, throw on some winter weight track pants and a fleece, drink a glass of lemon water, put the kettle on to boil for some Moroccan Mint tea, and settle in at the dining room table to write my morning pages. Keeping a journal has become a habit and a great way to start my day. It focuses me by letting me get things out of my head and onto paper before the daily intrusion of email and responsibilities. I strive for the Julia Cameron recommended three pages.

About 15 minutes into my writing, the sun begins to come up. In a few more, I wake up the kids, make the tea, and start to warm up Mrs. E.’s car (C.A.D. has her housebound for the cold months.) And so my day begins. I stroll into it rather than leaping, all because of a few extra minutes that I’ve built into my schedule in the mornings.

If one of the tenets of the Easy and Elegant Life is to appear calm and unruffled, strolling into a morning is highly recommended. Start to become a morning person and see how much it adds to your life.

8 thoughts on “Start

  1. Dear Chris,
    You follow a rigid but good routine for starting the day as best as possible. Also in regard to Mrs. E.
    Yep, the last couple of decades, sure the dress code has changed but still there is a group that never will give up on dressing classy and stylish and in general they score higher in international business!

  2. Hi Chris,

    I have benefited so much over the years from your posts and you my friend are a true inspiration. I am also a believer in getting up early. I try to get up between 3:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. so that I can relax before the onslaught of nonstop busyness takes control of my life, running me ragged in the process.

    As for Mrs. E’s C.A.D., maybe you should consider moving farther south or move to the west coast. We do have cold weather here, but only for about ten days a year, which is dispersed throughout January, and February. The rest of the time during those months the temperature is in the high forties to low fifties. Summers are absolutely perfect here. Like Goldilocks described, not too hot and not too cold and very little humidity.

    Thank you Chris for all of the great advice over the years. Your input has been invaluable. I am looking forward to your middle ground book.

  3. Thank you for commending the morning life. I discovered it too and get up at the “crack” (as a good friend notes). By 7 am, my best friend (dog) and I are strolling to the dog park. Charleston is lovely at sunrise and the city offers many parks and sidewalk water bowls for its dog residents.
    Even when the city’s tourists are not chic, the historic home are spectacular and I love studying them every day.

  4. Allyson, I’m jealous. I love it down East. Charleston and the surrounding islands are some of my favorite places.

    Thanks Todd! I’m chuffed at the people who have agreed to review it!

    Mariette, you know me, I’ll never stop fighting the good fight for everyone to dress just a bit better!

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