Elegance Defined?

At a party at my old apartment in Cambridge, Mass., down the block from the now-defunct but much beloved B-Side Lounge (which I learned met its demise in a divorce settlement, not because people stopped loving its decadent gouda skillet and unparalleled mint juleps), back in the day, a conversation started about elegance.

What was elegance? Who has it? What embodies it? Are some things inherently elegant while others never could be, even if Audrey Hepburn herself were to wield them?

(Sometimes its important to think about things that aren't very important. It keeps us from going crazy.)

Today some friends and I were discussing the recent trend toward formality in both dress and mannerisms in the younger generation after a piece on the LA Times blog "The Art of Manliness" defended its own propensity for nostalgia. A NY Times article last month talked about the return of the suit as a rebellion against the business-casual aesthetic and who doesn't love the art direction and dapper elegance of Don Draper in "Mad Men"? I told them about the party, the list and we started to come up with our own list of things that evoked images of elegance and nostalgia for things we never experienced... Following are a few we came up with:

Top hats. Manhattans. Audrey Hepburn. Oxford shoes. The Great Gatsby. Grace Kelly sunglasses. Red lipstick. Old Fashioneds. Steinbeck. Silk scarves. Pearls. A clean shave. French New Wave films. Brigitte Bardot. Aston Martins. Chanel No. 5. Gray leather handbags. Bowties. Charlie Chaplin. White Dinner Jackets. Old rolltop desks with old-school phones. Pintuck curls. Paul Newman. Trouser socks. Beauty parlors. Liquid eyeliner. False eyelashes. Whole milk. Extra butter. Heels with ankle straps. Leather journals. Convertibles. Ella Fitzgerald. Sailboats. Oysters at Balthazar. Real champagne. Good manners.

What's on your list?


Gray leather handbags!

That classy-ass Triangler...

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