The Anatomy of Elegance

Elegance isn’t solely defined by what you wear. It’s how you carry yourself, how you speak, what you read. – Carolina Herrera

Taking from one of my favorite designers of all time, Carolina Herrera, her quote on elegance is spot on.

Is it just because she’s the forerunner of her world-renown atelier that she has a good grasp of what elegance is all about?

I work right next to a strip of the world’s most luxurious brands.

And I’m tempted to smash through the window shops to get my hands on that mustard Burberry bag with its signature pattern details or the latest pointed flats from Prada just because I know, heck, we all know the value of  those items can amount to.

I just allow my jaw to drop at how expensive they are! Here in the Philippines, the value of those single items are tantamount to daily meals for nearly half a year to a family of a medium size. Living here blesses me with the consciousness that I can and should spend extra earnings to help others out.

Besides the value of high-end products to its whopping socioeconomic equivalent, there is a reason why elegance is more often than not associated with luxurious products… for such a high price point comes an equally high quality – from the fabric choice to pattern to the precision of stitches down to window shop display while catering to the varying cultures of the global market.

For so much thought and work on a single product, above all work for each detail is refined and respected. There is no wonder that such an item is thought of to be the mark of elegance.

Unfortunately, we have the common misconception that the luxurious, the glamorous, the rich and the high-end are the only things synonymous to elegance. However, the true meaning of elegance isn’t related to any of those.

Elegance is simplicity and refinement.

When I think of elegance, I think of a simple bud that blooms when spring comes and wilts by fall.


There’s elegance in the natural, in coming to terms with the weather, the time and place in various occasions. There’s elegance in coming to full bloom and allowing the rays of the sun to brighten the hues.

Bringing that down to earth, I’ve always believed that enhancing what we naturally have brings out the most beauty. With appearance, it’s whatever piece of jewelry or clothing that brightens the skin tone. It’s the harmony (Note: Harmony is not equal to matching) of each embellishment piece to one another – makeup, jewelry, hairstyle and pieces of an attire.

There is elegance in harmony and order.


There is elegance in keeping each and every detail pleasant for everyone.

We’re asked to live the best way we can not for ourselves but for others – that includes our demeanor, our good manners, our choice of words and how we present ourselves to others!

I’ve heard it said time and time again through the advice of our grandparents and in various etiquette books to keep fingernails and toenails immaculate. To me, this is one of the most unassuming details of refinement that apparently most people are particular about.

Elegance is consistently keeping simplicity and refinement from the smallest details of thought to action.

God, who is all perfection, all beauty, and all love among other things – created us. One of the qualities that I believe He wants us to have is this true quality of elegance.

About the Contributor

Lover of all things feminine, the arts, poetry and string quartets. Currently dabbing into baking. Dreams to get into Crafts & DIY. Proudly a Filipina & Roman Catholic. Visit Isha de Vera’s blog here.

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