The 6 rules of the elegance…

Elegance is a quality of a person presenting a certain refinement and ease in form and movement and, by extension, a person dressed with care as well as sobriety in a non-exaggerated style. However, elegance involves a great many other aspects based on relations with others and the outer world. For example, elegance is the ability to convey strong emotions without being invasive, or show interest in people and things without turning it into a narcissistic curiosity by a desire to stand out, or even to avoid exhibiting ones own abilities and talents. The philosopher Giacomo Marramao tells us more…

1. Elegance is a play of subtraction. Elegance is the ability to avoid excess, a type of play of subtraction that maintains the essential chic. Elegant people dress so that the elegance is not visible and those who dress overly elegant lose their elegance!

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2. Ostentatious is not elegant. Someone who only wants to show off and thinks of elegance as a baroque representation is not really elegant. Elegance sometimes even has to be willingly distracted and neglected. Ostentatious elegance finds its roots in Italian culture. Rome, but also all of Italy, has a baroque Catholic culture and baroque has always been a very theatrical representation. France also has a notion of the theatrical and very pronounced baroque. However, the French also had the revolution, a tragedy that forged the French personality. The French are individuals of character, with a temperament that doesn’t only depend on appearance and representation, but a very developed sense of interiority.

3. Elegance also means that you don’t display what you aren’t … From time to time it’s also necessary to also avoid showing off one’s own abilities and talents. In a certain way, you can’t be elegant without being intelligent enough to be ironic and self-critical.

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4. Elegance is a game of distant merger.  This means respecting the world around us, and being attentive to others, without being invasive. Be distant, without being heavy and a snob, because snobbism isn’t elegant, while showing interest in people and things, without this becoming a narcissistic curiosity by a wish to show off.

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5. The art of putting people at ease. Sensitivity is now the other side of esthetic. Elegance is the ability to convey strong emotions without being invasive, so that people feel comfortable and not in difficulty. An elegant person is welcoming and makes everyone feel comfortable. The moment of sensitivity and emotion is fundamental.

6. Elegance with others: behavior and language. Elegance today means the ability use language, the means of representation: speech and the way one expresses oneself. Elegance has no meaning if it isn’t backed up by an education of language and a lack of vulgarity in the means of expression. This does not necessarily means using formal language: a very spiritual and ironic form of language can be used. However, language shouldn’t be vulgar and, as a consequence, the listener should never have a disagreeable impression of what has been said. It’s possible to agree or disagree, but language weaknesses are not permissible. Today, the risk involves intolerance due to a lack of respect of one group towards another, or one culture towards another. Education is fundamental, respect though language backed up with sensitivity. Sensitivity is decisive.

Bonne chance! Chantal

© Pictures: front page Istock,  inside page Dior and stock

Chantal - Children

Bonjour, my name is Chantal. I’m often told that I’m “so French”. This is, in part, due to my traditional upbringing in Versailles, one of the most conservative cities in France, famous for its chateau, good schools and large families. I have three daughters. They’re model children, cheerful, nice and really fashionable. I’m in Paris almost every afternoon for my charity work and I still work part-time as a dance teacher. When the occasion presents itself, I teach etiquette to children at school. I’ll try and explain why my children get so many compliments.    

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