"The nuns taught us there were two ways through life - the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow."
The New Rebellion - Dress Up
& Follow the Path of Nature or Grace? Ah, there is the question?
The holiday season is filled with festivities ranging from parties, dinners and shopping with family and friends. Amongst the harried activities, a rise in dress code, manners and etiquette are in full swing. Consequently named, The New Rebellion, where Hollywood old time glamour is making a heady comeback. The Wall Street Journal, November 30th, 2013 Dress Code: 100% Glamour reported a resurgence of elegant apparel for dinner parties in New York with cocktail dresses, stilettos, red lipstick, tuxes and suits signaling a change in times. The young and old are stepping out in high fashion. The days of just denim, tennis shoes and Holiday sweaters are being thrown out the door. It is no longer a status symbol to look disheveled or sloppy without thought or care in appearance. Of course, fashion trends begin in Europe and slowly travel across the United States. Perhaps, Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge has played a strong role in inspiring women to dress with style for important functions or in daily life. She is never seen in disarray or in clothing inappropriate for her designated role. Along with impeccable fashion, hair and makeup - what else is making a comeback? Why manners and etiquette! Today every move, thought and action is being recorded in social media and beyond. So, spread words wisely both written and verbal which leads to another hot topic at hand - does one live by Nature or live by Grace?
NATURE versus GRACENATURE: Nature by definition is strong, conflictual, hard-edged, violent and competitive with the main focus on self. Nature's always has self as the goal, while working overtime for ones own advantage. Nature thinks about how to profit personally from other people and to appear superior in the process. Nature speaks bluntly, is intolerant of differing views, whines and will play the victim role for self gain. Nature is the road to selfishness and self obsession.
GRACE: Grace by definition is the skills required for behaving in a polite way in social situations. Grace is the opposite of Nature in all aspects. Grace requires the ability to listen, to be introspective, to think before speaking and not to expect agreement with every thought. Grace is not envious, jealous or angry. Grace is accepting of self and of peers while giving back with a smile and actions. Grace is gentle, loving and forgiving. Grace desires to respect, to show respect, honor thy fellow man, to be kind and think of others before self. Upon reflection of successful businesses and people or professional sports teams - what is the key? The winning characteristic is cooperation between team members rather than competing to outshine or overshadow. Instead, they value one another, value others gifts and value respect. After all, if everyone were the same it would be an incredibly drab and gray world. Again, a hallmark of the term Grace.
So the question for 2014 - is does one follow the path of Nature or Grace in The New Rebellion? Forever Chic Style fashion savants always choose Grace while dressing with aplomb for an unforgettable moment. As one ponders this pertinent question - exactly what is Forever Chic Style during the holiday festivities of 2013 and beyond for the New Year - 2014?
Top 10 Forever Chic Style "Grace"
Holiday 2013 & New Year 2014
1. Step Out in Forever Chic Style - Dress for Parties: It is important to show respect by taking a moment and dressing for any social gathering during the holidays. When meeting friends for cocktails or dinner select black pants and a gorgeous festive blouse or a skirt and finish with twinkling jewelry for a fine finish. A leather black skirt with a leopard print cashmere sweater and pumps or boots is exceptional for a girlfriend outing. Remember if going to some one's home, the hostess is making an extra effort from cleaning the house, preparing food, developing an inviting atmosphere, setting the tone and dressing for the event. Even a pair of dark jeans with pumps and a pretty top makes a signature entrance. The more one takes time to make a statement, the more respect and honor one shows the hostess and others present at a get together. Be festive, ooze confidence and excitement for the holidays.
2. THE All Important RSVP: RSVP within a day or two of an invitation or by the date specified on the invitation. The hostess needs to know the head count prior to the event. Many weigh all options available and then respond at the last minute. In 2014, try to be courteous and thoughtful when responding to an invite. Reply via email, text or phone call. All are courteous in today's social media arena.
3. Food Issues: In a time where food issues are rampant and causing concern one must be reminded of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind southern rules.
Scarlett O'Hara Southern Rules:
- The Important EpiPen: Inform a hostess of a food issues that requires a EpiPen. A hostess must know if one is allergic to shell fish, nuts etc.
- Overeating in Public: What did O'Hara do when it came to eating at a soiree? Well, in the story, O'Hara ate a full meal at home prior to a party. The reason why was because she did not want to appear gluttonous at an event. It was frowned upon and today remains factual. Do not pile a plate high with food.
- Dairy & Gluten Intolerance's: Common food issues such as gluten and dairy etc. are everywhere in this great land. Be courtesy to a hostess and let them know upfront what one can eat and cannot eat. Hostesses will accommodate and understand.
- Bring Additional Food to In Home Parties: If one wants to bring extra food - ask the hostess. If one is requested to bring food - make sure the dish is assembled and cooked prior to arriving at the party. One can easily warm up in the microwave.
- Be the Hostess with the Mostest: Every hostess today needs to have food on hand that is gluten and dairy free. Wise choices include lots of vegetables, fruits and nuts etc. Have baked potatoes, meat made with oil and think of what your guests would prefer. There are many choices at the local market. Fill up and set out for guests.
- Do Not Announce In Public: Do not make a spectacle of self by announcing at the party, dinner or get together that one does not eat this or that. It is boorish and spreads an uncomfortable atmosphere for everyone.
4. The Holly Jolly Hostess Gift: Always bring something for the hostess along with a bottle of wine. Cherished ideas include hand lotion, candles or an ornament. When attending immediate family events a special gift is not necessary. If heading over to a mother in law's, then a little gift will warm the heart.
5. Scintillating Social Conversation - Read, Movies & Travel: Pick up a book, or a classic tale that will parlay into something interesting at social gatherings. Books are filled with ideas, history, incredible dramatic stories and lifetime achievements. Put down the remote focused on reality or empty television and start reading. See the latest movie slated for the Oscars and delight the crowd. HBO, AMC and SHO have interesting shows to discuss. Or tell tales of a summer trip across the country. There are lots of spectacular jaunts to chat about here and abroad. Do not flaunt or gloat about over the top expensive vacations or embark on discussions about your spectacular second home or what street one lives on. It is crass, arrogant and sallow behavior. Finally, the wealthiest person in the room maybe the one who says nothing about where they live, travel or what they own. They live by Grace. Seriously, nobody cares about ones personal possessions. Furthermore, be careful to not blabber on about a profession or children. Be a woman of substance and style and not a woman trying to keep up and competing with "The Jones" on all fronts.
6. Topics Not for Public Consumption: Refrain from politics and religion at social functions. Of course, if all believe the same way then one can bring up pertinent issue. Remember - no heated discussions or shout outs. Follow Grace and be tolerant versus intolerant. Be open to others opinions. If someone adamantly dithers on about a subject - state the following: "Send me the link, I will look at it later." Or "Interesting thought. I sure do love the pumpkin pie. Did you bring it?" Do not engage instead change the subject. Grace, Grace and more Grace.
7. Be an Avid Listener: "Interested is interesting!" Repeat - "Interested is interesting!" The art of communication is to listen, paraphrase and answer back. Powerful communicators have the gift of actively listening and responding. These dynamo's rarely talk about themselves and instead are gifted in listening to other persons stories. Refrain from endlessly talking about self. Those with strong communication skills will listen to Chatty Cathy's but will move on. Let everyone have a turn at talking. The avid listeners are sensitive to body language and can read a room accurately by observing and then remarking. Follow Grace and be aware that others are in the room that one is not on center stage or alone at a function.
8. Over Imbibing: Be careful with alcohol consumption. It is easy to drink too much at a holiday party. Always have one drink or a glass of wine with food and water. Remember, silly things happen when drinking too much. If driving, one needs to consider a taxi or not drinking at all. Furthermore, during the holidays, do not be out driving after 10:00 p.m. If one is sober, others may not be after the witching hour on the roads. Again, follow the world of Grace. How does one want to be remembered? As a raging drinker or the graceful lady that charmed the room with warmth, smiles and witty repertoire? At a function, recently, a friend, mentioned an acquaintance and stated is this person still a heavy drinker? One does not want to be remembered in this fashion.
9. Don't Overstay Welcome: If there is an ending time on the party, be sure to adhere to the time frame. When everyone is departing, do the same. Respect the boundaries.
10. Thank You Notes: After the event, send a thank you note via email, text or the mail. This last step is important. A hostess enjoys hearing from the guests. Again, it is a matter of respect.
Hopefully, these Forever Chic Style "Grace" top 10 will provide inspiration to The New Rebellion with Grace while wisely showing appreciation for a glamorous dress code. Does this Forever Chic Style maven always follow these top 10 to the tee? Absolutely not - people are flawed and not perfect!!! The ultimate goal in life is to strive to be different, to be aware of others, to continue learning and to follow the laws of Grace, while spreading goodwill towards our fellow man. Along the way, spice up the day or night with polished apparel, beauty and intelligence from within. More importantly, in this holiday season and in 2014 have a special and memorable time by embracing the differences of friends, family and acquaintances, while on the road of life.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”
---Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas
& Happy New Year
Forever Chic Style
& Happy New Year