It’s something I’m craving deeply in my life, especially when it seems the world is becoming more vulgar, fast paced and exhausting.
Can we just pause for a moment and take a deep breath?
Doesn’t that feel nice?
That’s where elegance begins.
I’ve been intrigued with Elegance since I was 10 years old and visited my Aunt Lydia in Charleston, South Carolina. I immediately knew she had something special.
At the time, I couldn’t put a word to it, but now I know what it was. It was elegance.
Over the last year, I’ve also noticed something else happening for me. I am becoming more and more intolerant of rudeness, vulgarity and excess. I truly don’t have the time or space for it in my life.
This has caused me to go into my creative cave to study elegance in detail – what it is and isn’t.
Contrary to popularly held beliefs, elegance is not about donning pearls and speaking in a British accent. It’s also not about having a lot of money or fancy cars.
In fact, you can be an elegant cowgirl or bohemian.
Elegance is a state of mind, first and foremost.
It’s a magical quality that a woman can possess no matter where she comes from, her financial statement or her career.
As Yves Saint Laurent said, “Without elegance of the heart, there is no elegance.”
I believe Elegance is the answer to the overwhelm, worry and stress that is plaguing our society.
Wikipedia describes elegance as,
“a synonym for beauty that has come to acquire the additional connotations of unusual effectiveness and simplicity. It is frequently used as a standard of tastefulness particularly in the areas of visual design, decoration, the sciences, and the aesthetics of mathematics. Elegant things exhibit refined grace and dignified propriety.”
In my studies, I have come to understand that elegance has far more to do with what a woman lets go of than what she adds.
If you’re desiring more elegance in your life, here are 12 things Elegant women don’t do so that you can increase your joy, productivity and success:
1. Elegant women don’t waste time on social media
Sure, elegant women enjoy being social, even social media. But, wasting hours scrolling your Facebook feed, getting sucked into the rabbit hole of articles, videos and drama is not their jam.
If you’re spending a big chunk of your day on social media, think about how you could better use your time — learning a new language, cleaning out your closets, reading a beautiful book, spending quality time with your family, writing a chapter in your novel, working on a side project or doing absolutely nothing.
Limit your time by scheduling your social media hours (which is what I do) or install software that limits your ability to log on to certain sites to help you resist the temptation.
Another hint: turn off the notifications on your smartphone. Control it; don’t let it control you.
You may decide to get off of social media all together.
Social media is not a bad thing. I happen to love being able to connect with people all over the world. But, I often ask myself, not just with social media, but with every decision: is this helping me be the best version of myself.
Wasted hours on Facebook? Absolutely not!
2. Elegant women don’t obsess over what everyone else is doing
An elegant woman doesn’t care what you are doing. She’s too enraptured in what she’s creating, enjoying and loving to be peeking over the fence into your garden.
Most people obsess over other’s actions because they are afraid of missing out OR out of envy.
The elegant woman rises above all that chatter and focuses on her life masterpiece.
In other words, she minds her own business.
By the way, limiting your time on social media will also support you in not looking around at others.
3. Elegant women don’t try to change other people’s behavior
She knows it’s not possible, so she doesn’t waste her time trying to do so. Instead, she’s focused on showing up as the best version of herself, having boundaries around what she will and won’t accept and allowing people to be who they are.
The result is that she takes control over her own emotional life. She knows the only person that can cause her to feel anything is herself.
4. Elegant women don’t worry about things they can’t control
An elegant woman understands that worry takes her energy in a direction that isn’t supportive of her most beautiful life. Instead of worrying about her life, she looks at what she does have control over and focuses her attention there.
When worry does arise, she acknowledges it and gives that part of herself some extra TLC. Then, she shifts her attention to all that’s good and right in her life and maps out her next steps.
As a wise, elegant woman once told me, “Worry is praying for what you don’t want.”
Focus on what you do have control of and saunter in that direction.
Plus, most things we worry about never happen.
5. Elegant women don’t dwell on the past
For the elegant woman, the past doesn’t define her. She defines herself.
Her past is done. She’s learned and grown from her experiences. It’s helped her define what she does and doesn’t want for her life.
Everything has happened exactly the way it was supposed to. She gathers the lessons and wisdom gained and looks ahead.
She thinks about the future she wants to create and the amazing opportunities at her fingertips. She doesn’t stare in the rearview mirror because she has places to go.
6. Elegant women don’t flaunt their money
When I had lunch with Iris in the South of France, it was obvious she had tremendous wealth. When I complimented her Givenchy jacket and Birkin bag, she simply said “thank you” and moved on to talk about volunteering in Ghana and the latest book she had read.
She never mentioned that she was an heiress to one of the world’s largest shipping companies. She didn’t need to.
There’s a huge difference between who the French refer to as “nouveau riche” (those who love to flaunt their money) and those who come from an old money mindset (those who have tremendous wealth and you’d sometimes never know).
When I consider the elegant (and wealthy) women I’ve deeply admired, such as Princess Diana, Grace Kelly and Oprah, they exude “old money” class.
While I enjoy designer handbags and first class seats as much as the next lady, there’s something pretentious about using your belongings as a sign of how fabulous you are.
An elegant woman may wear designer clothing, but the label doesn’t define her; her presence does.
7. Elegant women don’t try to do everything
Coco Chanel said, “Elegance is refusal.” The elegant woman isn’t afraid to say no to many things so she can focus on the few things that will elevate the quality of her life.
She doesn’t enjoying disappointing people, but she knows that the bigger disappointment is when she does something with resentment.
She also doesn’t operate with the FOMO (fear of missing out) energy that has plagued modern society. In her mind, she’s never missing out on anything because the party is always within her.
She knows what she values and she builds her life around it.
Her mantra is, “Less, but better.”
8. Elegant women don’t do clutter
It drives them crazy, as elegance requires white space and room to breath. The elegant woman is constantly editing her life and letting go of the things that don’t fit into her life.
She says no to excess — excess belongings, food, alcohol, commitments.
When it comes to what she allows into her life, she asks herself:
Do I love it?
Does it make my life better?
If the answer is no, she lets it go.
9. Elegant women don’t wing their day
She knows that an elegant life is a disciplined one. So, she creates a plan for her day, and she sticks to it like her life depends on it, because it does.
Outside influences don’t pull her away from what she’s declared important for her life. Of course, there are exceptions, such as sick kids or emergencies, but she knows very few things outweigh what she has deemed important.
10. Elegant women don’t over complicate things
Elegance is about simplicity and effectiveness. The elegant woman is always asking, “How can I make this easier?”
She doesn’t mind work, but she likes to work smart, not hard. She’s always looking at what’s not necessary or important so she can edit her life.
She also understands that most of life’s complexities happen between the ears, so she has learned to master her mind, so that it doesn’t master her.
11. Elegant women don’t try to be perfect
This is where elegance is so misunderstood. Mention the world elegance, and most people immediately think of a fully coiffed and well-behaved woman. That’s not true elegance; that’s considered piss-elegant — trying too hard to appear perfect.
Real elegance is a woman that embraces all parts of herself — the good, bad and ugly. She embraces her dark sides and flaws and understands that it’s what makes her so unique. She accepts all parts of herself, and for that reason, there’s no one as comfortable and at home in the world than the elegant woman.
12. Elegant women don’t take life for granted
She wakes up each day and goes to bed at night with a grateful heart. Because she is focuses on the best parts of life, she attracts the best.
Through gratitude and appreciation, she focuses on all that is good and right in her life and the world, and because of this, there’s always a sparkle in her eye and a zest in her step.
Could Elegance be the answer to most of life’s problems?
I think so. The more elegantly I live my life, the better it gets.
I’d love to hear from you.
1. Do you crave more elegance in your life?
2. What’s one action you’ll take this week to live more elegantly?
Let’s talk about it in the comments.
With an Elegant Heart,