In the summer of 1981, I was living in Boston and participating in a summer placement during graduate school. One morning, I happened to turn on the television, and lo and behold: the wedding of Diana and Charles was happening at that moment!
I had completely forgotten the nuptials were to take place that day and was most pleased to inadvertently stumble across the live broadcast. Like everyone else, I was most enchanted by the not-so-charming prince marrying the lovely, young Lady Diana.
Taking it all in, I adored watching the elegance of the pomp and circumstance unfolding on the TV screen. Yes, elegance is the correct word. I, and many like-minded sexagenarians, can recall the significance of that formality even as it began to dwindle in the late 60s, 70s and forward.
A few years later, I watched Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson take their vows. Sadly, both of these marriages eventually failed, but at those moments in time – what magic!
Fast forward decades, I had the opportunity to watch the attractive Prince William marry his bride, the stunning Kate Middleton.
Their wedding did not disappoint. In fact, the magnificent hats were on display. Oh, now that was a treat to watch. In fact, we continue to see the couple – Kate with her hats – and their young family carry themselves with style and sophistication.
Last month, I was determined to watch the next royal wedding because of the focus on elegance, proper attire and rarity of seeing all those hats.
Many of us were riveted to the screen watching Prince Harry take his American betrothed to the altar. The glamorous Ms. Markle also regaled us carrying herself as the duchess-to-be adorned in a simple but lovely gown. The entire undertaking was splendid.
I do not particularly follow the lives of the royal family, or the rich and famous for that matter. My preoccupation with them has to do with the glamour and refined style of their attire.
A little before my time, many people saw such styles exhibited by Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. Much of that fashion no longer applies.
If you watch certain awards such as the Academy, Golden Globes or Emmys, you will see more men are traditionally garbed. The women? Well, it is a catchall. The female attire often runs the gamut, and elegance is not always a word I would apply to their manner of dress.
There is something to be said about allowing us to be more casual and flexible in our apparel, but does it mean we have to extinguish the polished attire which harkens to an earlier time? I say no. As someone who loves dressing more formally when appropriate, I will not forgo my dresses, skirts and high heels.
Being less than five feet, those extra inches on my shoes give me the opportunity of elongating myself even if it is just illusionary and, at this time in my life, while sitting in limousine shoes. Although it is not for everyone, many of us in our seasoned time of life continue to relish such dress up.
Elegance from long ago has also diminished in other areas such as the personal touch. Cursive writing, which is the ultimate in uniqueness, is no longer being taught in many schools.
Personal thank you notes are also on the decline. My mother never forgot to send a birthday, anniversary or thank you card, and I gladly continue her tradition. Although I am tardy at times, I love sending a distinct note customized for that unique person, no matter the occasion.
Of course, it takes more time, but when the person tells you how much your card meant, the feeling you get is extraordinary. Elegance is at its best as far as I am concerned because it extends kindness and gratitude to another level.
How about the elegance of showing simple but thoughtful actions of holding the door or waving thank you when a driver allows you to proceed?
What about smiling and saying hello as you walk down the street along with throngs of others? You may never know how such small, elegant acts of kindness could possibly impact another human being.
Finally, in this day and age of texting and emailing – of which I am guilty and indulge for reasons of expediency – we must never forget the importance of the human connection. Rather than text to inquire on someone’s well-being, how about communicating with the human voice.
More importantly, a face-to-face interaction is often irreplaceable and needed on a deeper level. Attending to such a need is the “frosting on the cake.” More eloquently stated, I would say it is elegance of the personal touch at its best!
What do you think about pomp and circumstance? Does it remind you of the pleasure of taking in the magic of elegance? Do you have some regret that certain traditions are now taking a back seat? How do you feel about the importance of writing personal notes? Do you think technology has diminished the elegance of the human connection? Please join the conversation and share your thoughts and opinions on the matter.