In my Sunday New York Times last weekend I saw a full page advertisement which got me thinking and a bit stirred …
The ad featured a commanding black and white photo of Cate Blanchett hawking Longines watches. The caption struck me as odd:
“Elegance is an attitude” – Cate Blanchett
Not to put down the Times for selling that ad or Longines for selling watches, or Cate for accepting her fee – but that quote struck me as quite simply idiotic.
Elegance in respect to people and how they carry themselves?
Elegance in terms of anything else – a wristwatch, a car, a great room, house, hotel, restaurant or a suit of clothing – all inanimate objects, do not have an attitude. Further, I’ve met people whose lifestyle, clothing, homes or wristwatches were beautiful and elegant – who were complete jerks. Elegance is NOT an attitude. Elegance is in the eye of the observer not the holder; elegance is an attribute, not an attitude.
Elegance is not a virtue unto itself.
Elegance is a viewpoint of things, of style, of class and dignity – rooted less likely in attitude than in values, principles and humility.
Elegance is worn, not on the wrist, but inside the head.
Elegance if not about wealth or possessions – which is not to say elegance and wealth are not found in the same places, but for me elegance is present in simplicity in how some people, rich or poor, live their lives. They carry themselves with dignity, they wear their values on their sleeves – that, my friends, is where elegance lives. In any town. With or without a beautiful pricey wristwatch.