Saturday, April 5, 2014

E: Elegance (A-Z Blog Challenge: Evocative words)

I am not an elegant lady. I am a Converse and smart-aleck tee shirt sort of gal. I like my clothes to allow
for a walk in the woods, some housework, crawling on the floor after legos or other such endeavors at any time. When the wind blows, so does my hair and if I laugh until I cry, I just wipe it with the back of my hand. There's no makeup to smear across my face.

I just can't stay interested in things like hair, makeup, clothes and fingernails. There's a lot of other, more interesting things out there.

Mostly, I'm comfortable with this. It's who I am.

But I admire elegance in others, and sometimes I wish I knew how to be elegant.

Some women just seem to have an automatic elegance. Especially women of my grandmother's generation. Women who are now in their 80s, if we're still fortunate enough to have them. They knew a kind of style that I just don't get. How does one even get hair to do that?  How do you walk in shoes like that and make it look like something other than a weird balancing exercise?

Take Audrey Hepburn, for example. She was elegant, even when she wasn't trying, or seemed to be actively trying not to be elegant. It wasn't in the clothes alone, though she wore some beautiful things. She could make a bath towel with frayed edges elegant.

Is it something in the bones? If I had aristocratic cheekbones and a super long neck, would that turn me from a cute and fuzzy duck into a swan?

Is it money? Elegance often seems expensive. Pearl earrings and flowing gowns are hard to come by on a schoolteacher's salary. As are occasions on which one might wear such things.

Is it something more physical? A way of holding yourself? A grace of movement and gesture? If so, I don't think there's any hope for me. I am clumsy and charmingly awkward at best.

My grandmother would have said it was poise. She also claimed that could be learned, even though she herself couldn't define it for me well. When she tried, she talked about self-respect and a unruffled, serene demeanor. But she agreed that it wasn't cold or distant from others. We both knew elegance when we saw it, but can't explain it.

At times, I have tried to put on elegance, but it doesn't fit me well. I feel and look like I'm trying. My unease and discomfort shows. I pull at the clothes and pick at my nails. Elegant people never seem to be trying. It just happens, as simply and naturally as growing taller or having a certain color of eyes.

I'll just have to hope that not being easy in my own skin serves me well on the page. Maybe I can write someone elegant instead of trying to be someone elegant.
This post is part of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.


  1. Lovely post and I know what you mean, it can be different things for different people but you recognise it when you see it, even if it's not in the obvious.

    I've chosen to blog hop through the lists and Twitter today, so I never know quite what I'm going to find... glad to stumble upon you ;)

    Curling Stones for Lego People

    1. Thanks so much! Elegance and pornography, huh? Both hard to define, but you know them when you see them!

  2. Great post! I'm not sure who the most elegant actress is today (Keira Knightley maybe?) but I don't think there will ever be another Audrey Hepburn. There is something appealing about the effortless elegance some women have but that's not really me. I'm more drawn to casual, down-to-earth types like Jennifer Lawrence. She's the polar opposite of elegance and grace... and I love her for it :)

    The Pedestrian Writer

    1. Jennifer Lawrence does seem like someone I might "hang" with.

  3. I always thought of my mother as elegant. When we were older, I told her that and she was surprised. She grew up poor and ended up with a rather exceptional life. My mother told me that, with her first invitation to an embassy dinner party, she wanted to change her image. She tried her whole life to be elegant, but always felt like she fell short.
    No. She didn't. My mother was naturally, completely, elegant.

    1. I bet your mother was elegant.After all, her daughter has elegance, too.

  4. You are certainly elegant at getting your point across, great post. It's nice to follow and connect