La vie est belle !

#JusJoJan – Elegance

Elegance. L’élégance. There. It even sounds better en français. Tout sonne mieux en français, n’est-ce pas ? Thanks so much to Linda for allowing me to choose a #JusJoJan prompt! I feel a bit famous, and even a little bit élégante. 

 

What is elegance, exactly? Dictionary.com says it isgracefully refined and dignified, as in tastes, habits, or literary style; graceful in form or movement; tastefully fine or luxurious in dress, style, design, etc.; gracefully concise and simple; admirably succinct. among other definitions. Le Petit Larousse says it is “grâce, distinction dans les manières, dans l’habillement”  Le Petit Robert says it is “Qui a de la grâce et de la simplicité.” 

 

I have a hard time defining this quality, but I know it when I see it. It doesn’t have to be related to affluence, though it often is. I think the word “grace” is almost always part of elegance. Other words that I could use to define it? Classy, tasteful, smooth, simple, serious, stately, grand, stylish, delicate, exquisite… Perhaps it might be good to think of what is the opposite of elegant. Harsh, inferior, unrefined, rough, tacky, busy, clumsy, showy, garish, gaudy, pretentious. In the French, the synonyms are “distingué, chic, charmant, gracieux, raffiné, délicat, discret, courtois, adroit…” and the antonyms are “disgracieux, laid, vulgaire, banal, discourtois, impoli…” 

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So what does it look like, this elegance? I have tried to think of a few people whom I actually know that I consider elegant. They have these things in common: they are always genuine, polite and gracious. They always seem well put-together, have a rather classic style, are very graceful in their movements, have the same regard for all, have an ability to always say the right words at the right time, and have an ability to see a bit of elegance in everyone who surrounds them, even those who are not themselves truly elegant.  They have this ease of being in their own skin, a carriage that says they  are happy with who they are.  They are never socially awkward and always display the best manners, never forgetting la politesse. They are modest about their own talents, which are often amazing. They have good taste in just about everything, but appreciate that others have their own styles and tastes. And they make this all look easy — in fact, this comportment seems to be in their very natures. In short, they are the sort of people who people like to be around.

 

And what about elegant things? Well, they are simple, understated, of fine quality and materials. They don’t need brand names or marks to let the world know how fine they are. They are never over gaudy or too ornate; the ornamentation they do have is tasteful and well-crafted.  They don’t have rough edges or harsh corners. They have sweeping, flowing lines with no confusing shapes. They are purposeful either for utility or as art. They don’t sport trendy colors or styles, but rather remain timeless. I have found elegant architecture, poetry, music, books, paper, pens, artwork, clothing, dishes, furniture, cars and airplanes. (sorry Airbus, but Boeing wins the elegant-looking airplane contest, même si vous êtes français…) 

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“A truly elegant taste is generally accompanied with an excellency of heart” – Henry Fielding   —-  “Sans élégance de coeur, il n’y a pas d’élégance.” – Yves Saint Laurent

 

I love these elegant things and people and try my best to surround myself with them. All my life I have admired elegance, aspired to elegance, coveted elegance. But I must make a confession. Je suis vraiment maladroite ! Physiquement et socialement maladroite. (Translation: I am truly clumsy. Physically and socially clumsy.) So I mostly appreciate elegance and try as hard as I can to be near elegant people and elegant ideas. I try to absorb this elegance as though it were in the air. Sometimes I manage to catch a bit of it. In this way I get to have, from time to time, a few “elegant moments” and ultimately, I guess that is enough. 

 

 

What is this for? Click and find out! (hint: it's the rules :-) )

The rules are simple and elegant. Click here to find them. 

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13 Responses to “#JusJoJan – Elegance”

  1. Deb

    I love these descriptions of elegance. These are what I thought it to mean too. We keep on absorbing the elegance in the air until it becomes a part of us completely. 🙂
    Thanks for visiting my blog and your lovely comment.

    Like

    Reply
  2. Bea dM

    You chose a really tough word to define, but did a great job of trying to explain the unexplainable! Vous l’avez fait avec beaucoup d’élégance et ne pouvez donc pas vous dèfinir maladroite 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. quelle élégance

    Thank you for the post. I love the word elegance (as you can tell from my blog name)! In the past year or so, I have read articles that claim elegance is a dated term or out of fashion, but to me, elegance is timeless.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • jetgirlcos

      I think so too. Have you seen the film “The Intern” with Robert DeNiro? I think his highlights the concept that elegance is not only timeless but that it positively influences whatever surrounds it. Love your blog name 🙂 I must go visit!

      Like

      Reply

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