A Guide to Elegance: For Every Woman Who Wants to Be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions

( 9 )

Overview

The original
What Not to Wear
from one of fashion's most enduringly stylish women ...

Written by French style guru Madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, Elegance is a classic style bible for timeless chic, grace, and poise ? every tidbit of advice today's woman could possibly need, all at the tips of her (perfectly manicured) fingers.From Accessories to Zippers, Madame Dariaux imparts her pearls of wisdom on all ...

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Overview

The original
What Not to Wear
from one of fashion's most enduringly stylish women ...

Written by French style guru Madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, Elegance is a classic style bible for timeless chic, grace, and poise — every tidbit of advice today's woman could possibly need, all at the tips of her (perfectly manicured) fingers.From Accessories to Zippers, Madame Dariaux imparts her pearls of wisdom on all things fashion-related — and also offers advice on other crucial areas in life from shopping with girlfriends (don't) to marriage and sex.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060757342
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/27/2004
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 182,165
  • Product dimensions: 4.50 (w) x 7.12 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux spent most of her life in Paris, and now lives in the south of France. Even as a child she preferred to accompany her mother to the dressmaker's rather than go to the movies. Her talent for design and making costume jewelry led her to open her own fashion house, and her success eventually took her to Nina Ricci, where she was the directrice for many years.

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First Chapter

A Guide to Elegance
For Every Woman Who Wants to Be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions

A

ACCESSORIES

The accessories worn with an outfit -- gloves, hat, shoes, and handbag -- are among the most important elements of an elegant appearance. A modest dress or suit can triple its face value when it is worn with an elegant hat, bag, gloves, and shoes, while a designer's original can lose much of its prestige if its accessories have been carelessly selected.

Very often a woman buys a coat or suit without realizing that its price will be doubled if, in order to accessorize it correctly, she must buy an entire new set in a colour that does not already figure in her wardrobe.

It is indispensable to own a complete set of accessories in black and, if possible, another in brown, plus a pair of beige shoes and a beige straw handbag for the summer. With this basic minimum almost every combination is attractive. I can remember how daring it was considered when Dior first combined brown and black in the same ensemble, but now this harmony is considered a classic, as is navy blue with black.

Of course, it would be ideal to have each set of accessories in two different versions: one for sport and the other dressy. And in this regard I cannot restrain myself from expressing the dismay I feel when I see a woman carry an alligator handbag with a dressy ensemble merely because she has paid an enormous sum of money for it. Alligator is strictly for sports or travel, shoes as well as bags, and this respected reptile should be permitted to retire every evening at 5 P.M.

Bright-coloured shoes are only smart when worn in the evening under electric lights with a long or short evening dress. As for white shoes, they should preferably never be seen on a city street (except, of course, for tropical cities), and in any case only in the summer-time when worn with a white dress. With pastel shades, a beige handbag and shoes are much smarter than white.

Personally speaking, aside from a plain or beaded white satin evening purse, I dislike the white handbags that some women cannot resist carrying as soon as there is a ray of sunshine. They are fine for the beach and summer resorts, but are somehow provincial-looking on a city street, even in the middle of August.

One of the best-dressed women in Paris, Madame Bricard, who was the inspiration for many of Christian Dior's outstanding creations, never carried a bag at all. Instead, she had a series of pockets concealed in the lining of her coats. But there's no need to go to that extreme!

And speaking of the little objects we carry in our handbags ... they can be charming, even more so if they match. So decide upon a colour and a material and little by little try to acquire a complete set: wallet, change purse, comb case, key case, eyeglass case, etc. (An ideal theme for those little gifts!) The style of your compact will depend upon the depth of your wallet. But whether it is an ordinary one or a precious antique gold box, try to have a matching lipstick case and, needless to add, a clean handkerchief every morning. Personally I prefer white ones, of very fine linen, embroidered with my initials.

In short, it is necessary to give a good deal of thought to accessories and never buy anything on an impulse that does not fit into your well-established program. The saying, 'I cannot afford to buy cheaply,' was never so true. Although I am far from rich, I have bought my handbags for years from Hermès, Germaine Guerin, and Roberta. And without exception, I have ended up by giving away all the cheap little novelty bags that I found irresistible at first. The same is true of shoes and gloves.

I realize that all of this may seem rather austere, and even very expensive. But these efforts are one of the keys, one of the Open Sesames that unlock the door to elegance.

(See Handbags, Shoes)

A Guide to Elegance
For Every Woman Who Wants to Be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions
. Copyright © by Geneviere Dariaux. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 15, 2013

    In this modernized day of age, we depend on technology to make o

    In this modernized day of age, we depend on technology to make our daily lives more efficient and convenient. 
    Not only has this changed a generation's way of communicating, but also the taste in music, fashion, and for knowledge.
    What I find even more upsetting is the respect and courtesy that is lacking in our day of age. 
    What is great about this book, it gives you a better understanding of the word elegance and how to achieve it.
    For example, when I think of the word elegance, I think of Audrey Hepburn.
    The one particular celebrity who is remembered for her beauty and classy humor which was easily portrayed on camera.
    However not everyone needs to act like Audrey Hepburn in order to be elegant.
    There are other qualities that I believe every girl or woman should know in order to give off a beautiful appearance through clothing and even personality.

    Woman in particular are more pressured when it comes to appearance. 
    One of my favorite tips or message that Antoine-Dariaux states is, beauty does not guarantee happiness instead strive for elegance, grace and style.
    Just because you may not be the best looking it does not mean your style and personality is not.
    This book gives the how tos and what nots for a better overall appearance, that you can still use in this modern day of age.
    Of course everyone has their own sense of style and although some may not care or what other people think,
    it is still important for someone to come across as a mature and responsible human being.
    No one needs to be lady like if they do not want too, however by cooperating a few of the authors tips would help anyone woman with the lack of self confidence.

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  • Posted April 16, 2012

    Great Guide!

    Most of the time I wing it when it comes to fashion. This book gives great advice from timeless classics to finding your own style. I will be recommending this to my friends and family.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2008

    Elegance never goes out of style

    A very subtle, yet eye opening book that's filled with appropriate advice on dressing your best for every occassion. For anyone who's tired of all the ridiculously over the top tips and tricks from the recent wave of 'overnight stylists', this book is sure to satisfy with classic suggestions on looking your best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2005

    it's okay

    I read this book a while ago and I found it pretty easy to read. It's just hard for someone who dosent know fashion terms and wears nothing but tee shirts and jeans to understand without any pictures of photographs to guide the reader.

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    Posted July 5, 2010

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    Posted March 8, 2011

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    Posted June 10, 2009

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    Posted July 10, 2009

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    Posted December 27, 2008

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