Elegance is a state of mind

For the last six months, I have been meaning to do something drastic.
No, friends, I haven’t lost it.
It’s my wardrobe you see; I need to transform it.

I love clothes and I love looking good in them. A good pair of tailored and fitting black and grey checked pants, deep grey boobtube top, with a raspberry coloured cotton scarf, complete with grey loop earrings and black patterned flats. I love mixing and matching colours to see what works for me and what doesn’t.

I don’t follow fashion fads. I create my own by combining what I like and the images I create in my mind with what I observe around me in people’s dress sense and colour matches in nature.

COCO CHANEL – “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”

I’m not a fashion fanatic with the aim of showing off my body or my latest acquisitions but I am super crazy about being comfortable and effortless in what I wear. Of course there are times when I tend to try too hard. There is a time for that I suppose.

I don’t believe we were meant to be slaves to fashion or anything physical for that matter. But that said, everybody has their own tastes and motivations for their choice of style and clothes. But again,even that freedom shouldn’t be a license for what I could call ‘missing the point fashion’ for lack of a better term. Anyway, I digress.

The reason why my wardrobe is on the operating table is because I don’t feel it’s fully representing how I see myself and what I would like to be. If I had to describe, in one word, my fashion interest and what I wholeheartedly aspire to become, it would be…elegant.

Elegance is something that totally speaks to the heart of me because it captures the very essence of the kind of life I want to live – from the way I look to the way I do things. It’s about dignified grace, good taste, refinement, charm, class, delicateness, exquisiteness, sophistication, and this beautiful list goes on. I use this list to guide me. I feel most at home in these qualities. It’s not about trying to fit into an unfamiliar world or forcing myself to be something I’m not. This is how I know elegance is what works for me. It’s never about trying too hard to impress anybody but more about having a sense of sophistication that is directly poured from my own unique soul.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that ultimately, elegance is not really about clothes. A piece of clothing on its own is not elegant, yes, it can be cut elegantly but it’s not only about that. Elegance is a state of being. You don’t put it on and then take it off along with your clothes. Rather, it is the way your personality and character dances with whatever you wear. It is how you illuminate your clothes.

As it often happens with me whenever I’m pondering, thinking or meditating about something, God always sends help and reinforcements in different ways. This time it was in the form of a quote that came to me in a very peculiar way. Anyhow, the quote is by Diana Vreeland, a renowned fashion columnist and editor who worked for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Listen to what she said; “The only real elegance is in the mind, if you’ve got that, the rest comes from it”.

I remember holding my breath the first time I read this. It is profound and as I thought about it some more, I realised that it is also true. This explains why even something as simple as a yellow, straight cut cardigan can be elegant on one person but look quite the opposite on another person of the same colouring. It’s just how it is worn and carried.

Like I said, elegance for me is not just about clothes but it permeates every part of my life or more accurately put; I want it to be the main characteristic that defines my life. This is why Diana’s quote means so much to me. For me, it’s not just a string of lovely words put together but it’s talking about a particular way of thinking, a particular way of living. In my eyes, this would be one of the highest compliments anyone could ever receive…for to have elegant thoughts is to be elegant.

My favourite gym class is called Body Balance and it’s a beautiful blend of Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Balance. Every movement you make in that class is supposed to be fluid and graceful. It takes great effort and concentration to have even one movement as elegant as it should be. It reminds me every week that to achieve anything that is so beautifully graceful requires work. It also prompts me every week to be elegant in every area of my life; work, relationships, attitude, conduct and thoughts. This is where elegance gets played out – in the everyday things we think, say and do. It is a living force. Its source is not in materiality nor does it reside there.

So, a word to you if you’re out there looking for elegance; you’re looking in the wrong place. Elegance is a state of mind.

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