True elegance

This simple, elegant outdoor walkway is part of the Ferguson Center for the Arts. Newport News, Virginia, January 2009

This simple, elegant outdoor walkway is part of the Ferguson Center for the Arts.
Newport News, Virginia, January 2009

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” Coco Chanel

I think it’s interesting that an icon of fashion design such as Chanel would be a spokesperson for simplicity.  In my mind, fashion involves the marketing of endless shoe styles, scarves, purses and costume jewelry, to say nothing of more clothes than the average person can fit easily into her closet.  We might fall for a clean, basic dress design dramatically portrayed in an advertisement, but the proliferation of ads themselves sell the idea of more, more, more.  And some of the bizarre looks in today’s footwear could not be described as “simple” by any standard.

The same is true in home design; even the magazine spreads that feature a clean, spare style also are selling the idea of ever-changing paint colors, linens, furnishings and trendy looks that are destined to give way to the next “great new thing.”  While I love looking at colorful home fashions as much as the next woman (OK, almost as much), I do wonder whether the cost and maintenance are worth indulging in the latest fads, especially in hard-to-change items such as light fixtures and tile backsplashes.

Bling is great fun, but it also takes up a lot of storage space.  And my life definitely bears out the old 80/20 rule when it comes to what I actually use and wear most.  In fact, for me it might be closer to 90/10.  Maybe Chanel’s quote would be a good one to keep in mind next time I go into my closet to put together a donation for Goodwill.  Elegance has never been a word I associate with myself, but it’s something to aspire to, especially if it helps me de-clutter.

Do you agree with Chanel that simplicity and elegance go hand-in-hand?

One year ago today:

The ultimate sophistication

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Judy from Pennsylvania

    This very artistic photo would do well framed on a wall. It’s very calming and lovely.

    I would agree that as far as what we wear, elegance and simplicity probably do go together. Yet it’s not always the look we’re going for. Sometimes romantic, sometimes country-casual, sometimes sporty — we gals find all sorts of ways to express ourselves through our choices of clothing. For me lately it’s been old jeans and loose tops with smears of dirt and splatters of paint while my hubby and I work to clean up the yard and paint the deck. I think I’ll call it the do-it-yourselfer, mottled look!

    • Judy, I love that idea! and yes, having different looks, clothing, jewelry or even recipes or seasonal decorations can be very refreshing.

  2. Good morning, Julia! I do agree with Chanel that simplicity and elegance go hand-in-hand. Probably because I think of gracefulness as a sort of elegance, and there’s nothing graceful -or elegant- about tripping over the unused sports equipment cluttering up my family room, which happened to me last night and formed in me a new resolve toward simplicity.

    • Susan, I share your resolve to remove so much of the clutter in my home that creates not just psychological obstacles to the kind of life I want to live, but also, far too often, creates literal obstacles as well!

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

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