My quest to live a simpler life often leads to less sophistication amongst others. But at some point, I realised that I still wanted to live elegantly, at least part of the time.
So, how can you live simply and elegantly, at the same time?
- Define what quality and elegance mean to you.
- Reshape your brain to become more elegant, via meditation, deep breathing, gratefulness and smiling.
- Feed your body with “luxury”, simple yet healthy food.
- Practice meditative eating.
- Do yoga, ballet, or any other activity that will improve your posture and gestures.
- Possess few, yet very qualitative items.
- Cherish your possessions, they are a little part of you at the moment.
- Learn to communicate and interact in a polite and gentle way.
- Read and learn, educate yourself.
Let’s now dive deeper into what makes a simple yet elegant life, and how you can combine the best of both worlds.
1. How Can You Live a Simple yet Elegant Life
The best way to start living a simple yet elegant life, is to consider quality over quantity in every aspect of it.
What do quality and elegance mean to you?
First, you need to be really clear about your OWN values. What does it mean for you to be elegant? Does it mean that you move elegantly, dress elegantly, eat elegantly, talk elegantly – or anything else? Part of elegance is to stay consistent and true to your personal values.
How can you become more elegant, keeping a simple lifestyle?
Coco Chanel said: “Elegance is Refusal”. To some extent, simplifying your life will actually help you become more elegant in itself.
This is why I recommend you start by focusing on the simple things that will automatically make you feel and act more elegantly. Your body and mind are the pillars with which you can set the right foundations.
Your Mind is Powerful
There are various types of meditation, so you can find the practice(s) that suit you best. I found mindfulness and visualisation techniques very powerful to help you live a simpler, yet more elegant life.
Mindfulness helps you have better focus, and appreciate the simple things in life. Visualisation techniques help you project yourself 3 years ahead in order to make you feel like your improved version of yourself.
This can be very helpful, as your mind sometimes gets stuck during the process of personal change. It can refuse to believe that you are becoming a different person. But if you actively show it your new self and help your mind get accustomed to this new image in the mind, you will be able to be more elegant quicker.
Meditation also has a great side-effect. In the long run, you will feel more comfortable with silence. This will prevent you from speaking “non-elegantly” in, say, awkward situations.
You will learn to observe more become a better listener. This will give you the opportunity to have higher standards for your contribution to the conversation. Do you truly understand the problem? Do you have something valuable or helpful to say? Silence is OK, and sometimes it is necessary.
Also, learn to pause often throughout the day in order to take a few deep breaths. This will help you slow down. An elegant person does not hurry or “stress out” over things.
Practice Gratefulness for at least 5 minutes every morning and every night. Gratefulness is powerful, it will make you more contempt even with a simpler life. You will appreciate the simple things and be more positive and happy.
When we think of elegant people, we often imagine an uptight person with a serious look on their face. Yet smiling is not contradictory to being elegant. To the contrary. I urge you to smile more – to yourself, to your friends and family, to strangers. Smile at simple things, at nature. It will make you more radiant, self-confident and this will show.
Your Body is Your Temple
Food should be a luxury fuel
Start with the food you feed into your body. Eating simpler, healthier meals will reduce your amount of stress, rashes, skin problems. And you will feel more elegant.
Also consider your WAY of eating carefully. Eat very selectively, slowly, gracefully. If you are going to treat yourself, make it in the most elegant way, with high quality products.
Practice what I like to call meditative eating. Appreciate the colour, shape, smell of your food before you even take your first bite. Train yourself to keep appreciating every bite with all your senses. It will make the experience much better to you and you will simply look more elegant.
If you drink wine, drink an excellent one, and sip it instead of “drinking” it. If you eat a dessert, start by admiring the art and learn to appreciate every single bite.
Yoga, ballet for elegant gestures and postures
Another simple way to become more elegant to the core is to engage int yoga, ballet or any other activity that will help improve your posture and practice elegant movements.
Studies have shown that standing up straight and tall will not only improve your health, but also make you happier.
Pleasure everyday rituals…
Possess Simple, yet Elegant Items
Always keep in mind that fashion and trends are not important. What’s important is that you develop your own simple, elegant style and personality.
You may want to start by decluttering clothes and cosmetics that just don’t fit your style. You should regularly go through your stuff and get rid of the unnecessary. With a decluttered, tidy and clean home you will feel much lighter and hence, more elegant.
Pick a few items that you love from your “keep” pile, figure out why and set an intention to stay true to your personal style in the future.
When shopping for new items, be precise about what you need or how many items you want to buy. Pick just a few, very qualitative items with the intention to LOVE AND CHERISH them for at least 5 years.
This is why you should be very selective. Does the brand, shape, color align with your personal values? You will shine and appear much more elegant when your mind, body and possessions are all perfectly aligned.
Great “stuff” can be a bit more pricey – and maybe also timeless, at least in your personal definition of timelessness.
Last, CHERISH of your possessions. You do not need them, hence you should consider yourself lucky to have them. Clean them, repair them, polish them. By now, you have very few items and they are a reflection of your values, at least for the time being. So, treat them with respect and, of course, elegance.
Education will help you become more elegant. Depending on what aligns with your core values, you can even go as far as to learn more about manners and etiquettes.
But more generally, I believe it is worth thinking of more polite and gentle ways to communicate and interact with others.
Make a list of kind words or good formulations that you would like to use more often. You can also practice making creative (and appropriate) compliments.
Learn how to say “No” politely yet firmly, and how to accept compliments gracefully.
Reading and learning about various topics will help you have better insights and a qualitative contribution to conversations.
2. Finding inspiration to Become Even More Elegant
Find inspiration. Do you have any role model? What is it that inspires you so much about them?
Go through all the elements that contribute to elegance. Which clothes are they wearing? How do they talk? How do they act? What effect does it produce on other people?
See whether you can take small steps to compare with yourself. Careful, it’s not about replicating the same behaviour. Try one small change (for instance a new piece of clothes), see how it makes you feel and reflect.
If it works great for you, you are on the right track. If not, examine your emotions and self-image. Is it simply a matter of getting used to this new look or way of acting/talking? Or is it too far stretched from your personality and values.
If so, acknowledge it and learn to let go of wants that do not fit you.
3. How to be Elegant Everyday?
What is important to feel elegant everyday is to start the day right.
I would recommend that you wake up a little earlier if necessary, in order to put in place a proper morning routine. It does not have to be a long routine. 20 minutes could do.
Just make sure that the time you give yourself will allow you to squeeze in the elements that will help you feel elegant throughout the day.
In my case, a little bit of meditation and yoga are now a “must-do in the morning”. Even if just 5 minutes of each.
I also take a shower first thing everyday in the morning. It helps me have the feeling that I am fresh and am taking care of my body and appearance.
What’s important is to prepare yourself so that you FEEL elegant, as if you would want to have an elegant impact on every person you meet today. What does this mean exactly? Hard to say, everyone feels differently.
I can sometimes walk out of the house wearing a hoodie and no make-up, but still FEEL elegant. That’s because those clothes felt most perfect for me that day, and I am sure that my feeling of elegance will shine through.
Books That I Love… To Help You Out: