“Elegance,” according to de Ribes, is “the art of being astonishing without creating astonishment.” By this definition few American celebrities exemplify elegance on the red carpet today. For that, you would do better to look to the awards ceremonies of ages past, when most women had a modicum of modesty and cultivated of elegance, style, and sophistication rather than exhibitionism. The art of elegance is not learned overnight. It cannot be bought with a single trip to a high-end luxury store like Neiman’s or Bergdorf’s. It requires thoughtfulness and discipline, and it can take a lifetime to master. “Look to women with power, not to pop stars,” writes Linda Przybyszewski in her book, The Lost Art of Dress. A sense of timeless style and elegance can be gleaned by studying images of celebrities from earlier eras—powerful women such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, and Katharine Hepburn. ...Don’t fall prey to the cheap aesthetic peddled by the cult of celebrity, which emphasizes shock and spectacle. Fashion might be ephemeral, but a sense of style and elegance is eternal.

Samantha Schroeder, “The Cult of Ugliness: America’s Fashion Crisis,” for Acculturated.com

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