Friday, March 10, 2017

Elegance: A Lesson from 1962


"Elegance is refusal."
Coco Chanel

In April 1962 the White House was abuzz with preparations for the state dinner in honor of the Shah of Iran and his lovely young wife, Empress Farah.  Reports had reached Washington that the Empress would be wearing the most exquisite jewels from the royal vaults; and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, whose elegance in fashion and style had won global notoriety, involuntarily found herself set up to compete in what the world had turned into a two-woman beauty contest.

Although Tiffany and Company had made some of its most impressive pieces of jewelry at Mrs. Kennedy's disposal for the occasion, at the last moment she decided to forgo extravagance for a simple pair of diamond drop earrings and a small starburst clip for her hair.  It was a remarkable exercise in restraint; and the result was that, as the First Lady's personal secretary later recalled, "Jacqueline Kennedy's understated elegance upstaged even the dazzling, jewel-laden Empress."

Mrs. Kennedy's example is a valuable key to a lady's code:  understated simplicity is the essence of elegance.


Picture: Paris Match, April 1962.

7 comments:

  1. Nancy, I love this story and the point it underscores!

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  2. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog over the past few weeks. I struggle with many topics you have touched on. I currently live near Philadelphia, I fully support myself, and I often find it difficult to discover the balance between being a lady such as what you have described (and what I seek to be), and having to be the independent outspoken woman that is required of me as a working woman in the city. Your blog has given me comfort and has helped identify some areas within myself that need improvement. I would love to see you continue writing!

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    1. Thank you, Mandee, for your lovely message. You have encouraged me to continue to write.

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  3. Dear Nancy, I love your blog and wisdom it provides. In the last year I've been visiting it many times checking if you have posted anything new. Please continue to write. Your observations on life are priceless!

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    1. Thank you very much! Your words are so appreciated.

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  4. What a precious lesson and example of elegance for us to follow. I admire her efforts not to try to compete. I also always loved her style, she always looked stunning.
    Jilly💝💝💝

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