Need Your Input: How do you define elegance?

Define elegance on over 50 feeling 40

Hello, everyone, I am working on some future content and would like your input.  Specially, would you tell me how you define elegance?


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Or…is “elegance” something else all together?  Please share your thoughts…I would love to hear from many women on this topic.  Thank you for participating….so just for you…I have a slideshow curated just for this audience and all of these products were recommended to me by different women I respect, just for women over 50….now make certain all of you…


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By Pamela Lutrell


  1. Elegance to me is “refined beauty”. I don’t see elegance in gaudy, highly decorative or excess of any sort. It’s a state of mind that outwardly projects from oneself and its surroundings.

    In fashion, Chanel gave us the formula: Fine fabrics, tailored and minimal accessories. In Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright seamlessly blended function with form. In daily living, Martha Stewart showed us that a thoughtful presentation doesn’t require a lot. A person that exudes elegance would be: Grace Kelly, Barbra Streisand, Princess Diana, and I could go on…

    Elegance is alchemy. It is curated, not contrived.

    Good question to ponder!

  2. i think its the way you carry yourself. i can give two examples. i had a supervisor at one time, she had a way of walking, that was so smooth, i always wondered if her mom had her walk with books on her head like mine did to achieve it…looking back i wonder if that was a weird thing, the books on the head?….i never really acheived it myself, but another adult friend later in life, really tried to get me to improve my posture, which might have improved me some….also, on a trip to Italy, i noticed those women can look good even in sweatpants and a tank top, and thats some kind of grace and elegance i cannot explain but it was very true.

  3. Elegance, to me, always means editing. “Less is more” is how I understand it. Provocative top. Thanks, Pam.

  4. This does require some thought. It is easy to recognize when you see it but not so easy to put into words. I think extravagance has nothing to do with elegance. It is a feeling of refinement that has nothing to do with level of income. Not gaudy or frivolous but more streamlined. Think Katherine Hepburn in those flowing high waist pants, hair loosely piled on her head, and especially the way she sat and walked. I am not sure if elegance can be learned or is just ‘there’. Interested to see what the other ladies have to say as well, as I am sure it means something different to all of us. You know it when it is there. Looking forward to see where you are taking this Pam.

  5. I think elegance has little to do with where you shop or what you spend. I believe elegance is the way you carry yourself, feel about yourself and present yourself. I think elegance starts from within and radiates out.

  6. Less is more Is how I see elegance. It’s a woman or a man who exudes grace and confidence in their dress and how they carry themselves. But simplicity is key as I started off- less is more.

  7. Oh what an interesting topic! As Diane mentioned above, easy to recognize but not so easy to put into words.

    I equate elegance with beauty — the internal beauty of mind, spirit, character that is expressed outwardly.

    A sense of being true to oneself and the confidence of that truth.

  8. The other commenters have clearly pointed the way toward “elegance.” It’s one of those things that you know it when you see it, but it’s hard to describe. It’s simplicity over baroque and overdone—altho’ we do tend to label palaces and old estates as being elegant. Simplicity. Refinement. Carriage and attitude. Ballerinas always seem to look elegant so I think a quite large piece of it is the way we carry ourselves and align our bodies. It’s not body consciousness, but an inner awareness of our bodies and how we are presenting them.
    Decor and clothing that are un-fussy and have clean simple lines speak of elegance. Although the sumptuousness of richly piled velvet and brocades may lead us to think something is elegant, a sparkling white crisp shirt that fits well is also elegant.
    I think elegance also exudes an inner warmth……..stainless steel and leather decor may be simple and seem to be elegant at first glance, they lack the warmth that elegance also envelops us in. The ice queen ballerina may have the same carriage and costume of other ballerinas, yet she does not exude warmth and so she doesn’t seem as elegant.

    Yikes! You could go all day on this one………..

  9. Feel free to go on, Carol or anyone! I am listening and noting these excellent comments!

  10. What an interesting discussion!! I believe in something I reference from time to time as “quietly elegant” which is to say, that which does not scream at you for attention. It’s something I keep in the back of my mind when decorating my home, planning a dinner party, or choosing an outfit for attending a concert, play, or nice dinner out. Elegance. Just a lovely word on the tongue, isn’t it? Very evocative.

  11. Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, to me epitomizes elegance but in my opinion her style is bland and totally boring. So I define elegance as someone who is always perfectly dressed, whose appearance is always immaculate, who never puts a foot wrong, but who never ever lets her own character show through her carefully contrived and manufactured appearance.

    On the other hand, I would never have associated her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, with elegance. Diana always pushed her style and was not afraid to make mistakes.

    Katherine wears traditional English designers whilst Diana wore predominately Italian and French clothes (Moschino and a now-deceased female French designer whose name I can’t recall at the moment).

    An interesting question, and I feel that how each of us defines elegance depends on where we come from, not how much money we have to spend. Living in UK, I used to buy clothes mainly in USA, but I would never have defined any of the brands I bought as elegant. Now I buy mainly European brands but again I wouldn’t define any of those as elegant either.

    I remember I once knew a woman whose appearance was always immaculate, never a hair out of place, never a crease in her clothes, never a mark on her dress, makeup always perfect – probably the most elegant woman I have ever seen…..but oh,so totally boring, and with a character to match!

    Thank you for asking this question Pamela….so thought provoking… opening a can of worms!!

  12. Fascinating comments above. I agree that it’s hard to define but you certainly know it when you see it!! I always admire it so much when I see it in others.

  13. What an interesting question, and thought provoking comments.
    I tend to think of elegance as a classic style, both in architecture and clothing. In clothing it tends to be smooth lines, a good fit and harmonious colours. However, a garmenton someone who slouched would not look elegant, while on someone with good posture it might look elegant. For me, the price of the garment has no bearing on whether or not it is elegant. An expensive garment can be gaudy or too ornate etc. while a cheap garment might be elegant, and vice versa of course.

  14. I can get many mind pictures, but this is surprisingly hard to put in words. I would call it well cut, well edited and effortless confidence. It is aware, but balanced and not robust. It is moon, not sun.

  15. I believe there is an element of dignity in elegance, along with timelessness and grace.

  16. To me elegance means knowing yourself inside and out (being comfortable in your own skin) this radiates throughout.

  17. Perhaps elegance is an aura, an energy, an “is” (conjugate the verb to be). Elegance is a personal interpretation of another’s being; whether animate or inanimate, experiential or tangible.

    We did a similar exercise in a college costuming course… in the 1970s. The bleeding edge of the “Inelegance Movement” *wink* as I am wont to call it. What would contemporary musings of later decades have been?

    Wonderful question to brighten a drab, grey Sunday as “Cristobal” announces his presence.

  18. To me, elegance has little to do with where you shop or how much you spend. Much like class, it cannot be purchased because it starts within you. It’s taking that extra step to look & feel your very best. You posted a photo once of a women who epitomized elegance. I don’t remember her name, but I believe she was wearing a camel blazer & had beautiful dark hair. I believe her name had a slightly foreign sound.

  19. I reviewed some of your older posts & found this elegant woman. Her name is Xitlat, & she was wearing a dark blazer not a camel one. The post was from 12/19/2019.

  20. Elegance is gracc, dignity and humanity. It permeates every action we take in life. It has nothing to do with wealth or clothing. A person is elegant in thought before action.

  21. Elegance is not defined by where you shop, what you wear, or how much anything costs. To me, elegance is a quiet, timeless, confident, classic state of mind and being that exudes from within.

  22. Elegance doesn’t scream at you. It is something that requires pause and recognition. At first it may look plain to many, yet it is not. A second look is required for appreciation. Notice the form, the material, the placement, the simplicity of organization. It can be a simple rose in a bud vase or a bouquet in a glistening crystal bowl sitting on a empty table. It stands alone, quietly requiring reflection and notice to see its value. It is not cost, it is beauty and confidence in its presence. Elegance is often a little black dress with pearls, a single ring and watch on a manicured hand, a structured leather purse, a quiet room, or a devastatingly handsome man in a tuxedo, hand in pocket with a knowing grin..

  23. Elegance is a state of mind that comes out of us and projected on everything we do. It is being humble and gracious when dealing with others. It is knowing who you are and being true to ourselves. It is always putting the feeling of others in mind before speaking out. There is a refinement and graciousness that eludes from someone. This is only only facet of elegance. It extends into our homes, work and all facets of our life as others have stated.

  24. I think of elegance as a just-rightness of how you are living your life, which implies that you cultivate self-awareness in order to know how elegance presents in your circumstances.. I can see both a large, gaudy flower arrangement and a single flower in a vase as elegant.

  25. When I think of elegance I always think of the book called “Elegance,” by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux. This book was given to me as a high school graduation gift by an aunt who had a flair for fashion. In the foreward it says: “What is elegance? It is a sort of harmony that rather resembles beauty, with the difference that the latter is more often a gift of nature and the former the result of art. The origin of elegance is easily traced. It springs and develops from the habits of a civilized culture. The word comes from the Latin-eligere-which means “to select.”

    This is a wonderful book with discussions on nearly a hundred topics and the advice is very practical. I highly recommend this book even though it is from 1964.

  26. What an interesting topic and what great comments it has generated! I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with it, Pam. As others have already said, elegance is something that is hard to put your finger on and difficult to put into words. I don’t think that it has much at all to do with what you wear, or where you shop. I think of it as grace in action and a certain seemingly effortless beauty (though not necessarily conventional) in appearance, manner, and speech. A woman can be impeccably and expensively dressed yet void of elegance while another can be dressed much more simply and inexpensively yet ooze with elegance. Perhaps it comes from the heart. I’m reminded of Colossians 3:12 which reminds us to clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. I think a truly elegant woman also exudes self-confidence.

  27. I think Coco Chanel said it best. “Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.” This is one of the reasons I love your blog — you don’t just discuss clothes, but many aspects of living well and making the best of who and what you are.

  28. Love this description! Yes: on the more streamlined side. Balanced, poised, smooth. Subdued. One thinks of elegance as cool rather than warm.

  29. elegance it me , is knowing who you are and staying true to that idea. If you are cluttered,you are cluttered, if not, one is always ready to pare down. Less is more.It’ s what you do with what you have that’s important My ideal may not be ours, but that’s ok too.

  30. Elegance is ALWAYS cultivated. No one comes into this world knowing how to think, move, dress and interact with others in a respectful, gentle but firm manner. We have to learn to live in a manner that is slow, deliberate, and poised. It is all learned. To think you can’t become elegant is to think you can’t learn a new recipe, language or song. In the words of George Eliott: “It’s never too late to become what you might have been”.

    I turned 50 in December and started my elegant journey at age 45. I want to be remembered as an elegant, classy lady who’s kind spirit made everyone feel welcome and comfortable. A lady who held herself to high standards of conduct, dress and speech. Who could set a table correctly and choose the best lipstick color to flatter her skin tone. Who was warm and genuine, but (respectfully) held her ground when others tried to belittle her or dismiss her. Who was open, but always still had an air of mystery. I’m still learning. but isn’t that half the fun? It may feel awkward at first, but I’ve found the more you practice who you want to be, the more it begins to feel genuine and natural. I’m excited to see your transformation. You’re going to be brilliant, Darling!

  31. When I think of elegant women I think of Princess Grace of Monaco and Audrey Hepburn. I am excited to go through this journey with you.

  32. I will not pretend to be in their league, but I will be striving for my own everyday elegance! Thanks for being here, Ginny!

  33. Elegance to me is a woman who walks with confidence, great posture and a kind heart.

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