WHERE HAS OUR ELEGANCE GONE?

As I sat in a crowded subway car, I couldn’t help but notice the natural beauty of the women that were hopping on and off the car. They were mostly professionals on their way to work on a typical Monday morning, yet some weren’t. One thing captured my attention: when did yoga pants and workout outfits becomes the new norm, and what’s the deal with the suit and joggers combination? Where has, our elegance gone? We had so many role models growing up, like Garbo, Dandridge, Monroe, Hepburn, Kelly, Deneuve, Bardot, Angelou, Taylor, Ross,  and Lady DI. Has this sense of simplicity, femininity, effortless chic vanished? For a fact, I know that it still exists in all of us women, despite the change of era and the desire of a healthier and more active lifestyle. We still all love a compliment or a sugar-coated flirtation, don’t we?

 

Has Feminism Failed Us?

As a stylist, I’ve had several extensive conversations with my client’s husbands or boyfriends about women and fashion. Their complaints came down to, that women nowadays are too basic. They’ve all conveyed to me that we women are hiding behind the independence card as an excuse to just look whatever. Most importantly, they’ve pointed out that in Europe as well as in Asia, women, independent or not, rich or poor, maintain that charm until now. They look graceful and well put together. So much so that the men-literally say, “I want to know more about that woman” or, as the late David Bowie said the first time he had met his wife of twenty-four years, “I am going to marry that woman.”.

Dressing more appropriately can build or boost confidence. It’s hard to admit, but our appearance counts a great deal in our daily exchange with the world. It’s not always about doing it for the opposite sex. Often, it’s certainly something that can help us feel better about ourselves.

The question remains: what’s happening here in America, especially in New York City? We set trends, have a reputation for great shopping experiences, yet we can’t seem to cope anymore. Did this sense of freedom corrupt us?

Opting for comfort over looks makes sense. I get it, but really? What happened to our daily glamour and our sense of fashion? Where is that mystery that a woman leaves behind when she walks pass a stranger?

I personally just can’t accept seeing a suit ruined by running shoes, ladies. Although Chanel pulled it off in their 2014 fall campaign, we can’t all afford $1,500 joggers. Showing off our gorgeous legs in a pair of kitten heels instead, isn’t a crime. It’s just a devaluing statement not to use that privilege.

 

Alternatives

 

Ladies, we are not asking you to run around in heels all day, but a little thought in your daily appearance would help to achieve that casual glamorous look. Let’s face it: supermodels aren’t in heels all day either, even though they won’t admit it. Business women: instead of wearing sneakers and socks, how about wearing a nice pair of ballet flats to complement that suit? Yoga pants devotees:  a lightweight nicely fitted pair of chinos will satisfy the fix.

I suggest showing off your sport clothing while blasting a heavy bag with a perfect round-house or holding an insane yoga pose. When you are out and about, however, try the following:  replace the seemingly trendy yoga clothing with a pair of well-made leggings, a great tunic or pullover and a monochrome wool or cashmere coat with a pair of equestrian boots or ballet flats, whatever works for each of us unique women. Even a great quality button down with a pair of nicely fitted jeans and some flats would look great. Some of us have seen “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” when Audrey sat on that window ledge singing while wearing that simple oversized gray pullover, a pair of blue chinos and her flats. That look has become her signature throughout the years; so simple, yet so elegant. We shouldn’t be geniuses to do just that. We need a little more thought when putting into the act of dressing up before we leave the house. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to achieve this look.

 

My Advice

We sure love our running shoes, Ugg boots, yoga pants, workout outfits and flip flops, but it’s time to leave those wardrobe pieces for their purpose. That is exactly why they have those names.

Next time we want to leave the house for an errand, let’s try a different approach by dressing more accordingly. Who knows? That boyfriend that we all want, might be just around the corner, waiting to be transported by the “je ne sais quoi” that we leave behind looking a bit more polished. If not, then by traversing the city labyrinths, giving everyone an aura of our magic is a reward to us all the same.

 

By: Marie Caroline Charles