|Posted on June 20, 2016 at 10:50 PM|
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A personal note on dressing appropriately for particular locales: many years ago as I was driving coast-to-coast, I stopped at an ostrich ranch in Wyoming that offered horseback riding. Because I had packed my English riding clothes and helmet, I wore them. As I walked into their tack shack/watering hole, a little old man looked up at me quizzically and asked, rather shakily, "What ARE you, MA-AM?" Which reminded me of the following scene from Roger Moore's James Bond flick, "Live and Let Die"--watch it till the end, when Sheriff J. W. Pepper looks at Englishman James Bond and asks a similar question in his inimitable style. Sheriff J.W. Pepper and James Bond
Of course, I explained that I was wearing English riding tack. Mr Little Old Man still looked a bit puzzled, having had no exposure to that sort of thing in the Wild West, but he did stop trembling. Important to wear what is appropriate for the area that you are visiting. I know there will always be boorish, insensitive louts who never consider others, like the time I visited a centuries-old monastery in Cyprus and actually witnessed a shirtless tourist wearing nothing but "Speedo" swim-trunks below his bulging midsection. Come to think of it, that's a situation that also calls to mind "Live and Let Die"! ©M-J de Mesterton, 2016
|Posted on July 2, 2015 at 5:40 PM|
"To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization."
Harriet Beecher Stowe
|Posted on March 2, 2015 at 6:10 PM|
STOP WEARING CLOTHES THAT ONLY COME UP TO THE HIP!
Wear Garments at the Waist for an Elegant Appearance--Hip-High Jeans Make You Look Dumpy and Fat
(I took these photos surreptitiously from inside my Mini.~~M-J de M.)
Bulging in Front and at the Back Takes Talent--or a Really Lousy Pair of Trousers
And, what happened to her derrière? It is lost in a "Michelin Man"-style stack.
This is not sexy.
Copyright M-J de M., Elegant Survival, March 2015
|Posted on May 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM|
I was visiting a landmark monastery in Cyprus when I saw a chunky male tourist from Russia wearing a Speedo swimming costume and nothing else. That was probably the most blatant example of tourists disrespecting the local culture that I have ever witnessed--it was tantamount to wearing shoes into the Hala Sultan Tekke in nearby Larnaca.
Recently, the people of Qatar have been insulted by and concerned about similar breaches of etiquette in their small country by foreigners. Here is a piece about the local government's measures to stem the rising tide of disrespectful dress by tourists:
Hosts for the 2022 World Cup, Qatar, have begun plans for the hosting of the tournament, and this includes control of tourist behavior.
The country has begun the Reflect Your Respect campaign, which aims to inform tourists how to dress when coming to the Middle Eastern country.
A flier demonstrating the kind of clothing that Qatar’s Islamic Culture Centre wants tourists to keep at home has big X’s under diagrams showing a woman in a sundress, a woman in a sleeveless top and shorts, and a man in a tank top and shorts. A picture of a ladies’ room-style cartoon woman dressed in a short-sleeve shirt and pants – or are they leggings? – also has a big X beneath it.
“If you are in Qatar, you are one of us,” the flier reads. “Help us preserve Qatar’s culture and values. Please dress modestly in public places.”
Qatar has launched previous initiatives to educate foreigners on dress codes, The Independent said.
“The amount of immodest clothing is growing in public places, especially shopping malls,” Nasser al-Maliki, the Islamic Culture Centre’s public relations chief, told Gulf News. “Such foreign behavior conflicts with our traditions. We do not want our kids to be exposed to it or learn from it.”
The campaign extends to a new multi-billion dollar airport in the Qatari capital of Doha, where Qatar Airways moved all its operations on Tuesday.
“Qatar is an Islamic state and being respectful to its culture will help you enjoy your stay,” says a list of “helpful tips” offered at the airport. It says women should dress modestly and men “should not be shirt-less in public,” and advises visitors that “public displays of affection and intimacy are strongly discouraged.”
|Posted on May 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM|
From our late friend, Roger Ebert, five stars for the movie starring Colin Firth and Jeffrey Rush--CLIP:
December 15, 2010 | 1
"The King's Speech" tells the story of a man compelled to speak to the world with a stammer. It must be painful enough for one who stammers to speak to another person. To face a radio microphone and know the British Empire is listening must be terrifying. At the time of the speech mentioned in this title, a quarter of the Earth's population was in the Empire, and of course much of North America, Europe, Africa and Asia would be listening — and with particular attention, Germany.
The king was George VI. The year was 1939. Britain was entering into war with Germany. His listeners required firmness, clarity and resolve, not stammers punctuated with tortured silences. This was a man who never wanted to be king. After the death of his father, the throne was to pass to his brother Edward. But Edward renounced the throne "in order to marry the woman I love," and the duty fell to Prince Albert, who had struggled with his speech from an early age.
|Posted on November 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM|
M-J in Aquascutum Tweed Suit, Her Perennial Favourite
|Posted on July 27, 2012 at 10:25 AM|
Have you ever noticed that the more resentful and jealous a woman is, the more wrinkles she has? The most important age-preventing measure for your face is being a member of the Clear Conscience Club--you know, the one whose members get a good night's sleep. When people carry around the burdens of hatred and envy, resentments and greed, these destructive inner elements inevitably manifest themselves on their faces.
Here is a quote from an interview by Linda Holmes with elegant, ageless singer Darlene Love, whose work in the 1960s with music innovator Phil Spector catapulted her to fame and made her into the exploited victim of a megalomaniac who was ethically-challenged, and for whom loyalty was a foreign concept:
"I have no reason to hate him," she says, "and I never did, because I always found that hate makes you ugly. Makes you have wrinkles. Which I don't have." Here, she laughed. "But you know what? That has a whole lot to do with your insides. When you hate people, it not only makes you hate that person, it gives that vibe off for everything around you. I really do believe that. So I really did try hard not to dislike him and always be the good guy, and say what I say about him and nothing bad. 'Cause it doesn't help."
|Posted on February 5, 2012 at 1:00 AM|
In a Wall Street Journal article adapted from her new book, “Bringing up Bébé” (Penguin Press; February, 2012) , Pamela Druckerman of France reveals Gallic secrets of educating small children for a lifetime of civilised behaviour. Every parent who is experiencing stress and bewilderment at the process of training tots can benefit from learning traditional French techniques and philosophies that, when effectively employed, will positively affect the most important years of their progeny's lives.
Why French Parents Are Superior, by Pamela Druckerman
|Posted on November 14, 2011 at 7:55 PM|
My husband describes the haircut he gives me as "the right cut for a woman of substance". Copyright M-J de Mesterton, Elegant Survival, 2011
|Posted on November 11, 2011 at 9:10 AM|
Duluth Trading Co. is marketing a longer tee-shirt to solve "plumber's butt". In their radio advert, Duluth takes a robo-dump on "mom jeans", furthering the perverted notion that trousers should only rise to the hips or private area. The only sensible solution to plumber's crack, a look that always inspires derision among the clivilised, is to insist on trousers that go up to the waist--you know, that region one inch above your navel.... Jeans and work-pants that start down around your lower gut or hips will never stay up, no matter how long your tee-shirt is. And who wants a billowing shirt above their low-slung trousers, making a person look preggers? That sad result makes all the snide comments and chiding about "mom jeans" ring hollow, since nearly everyone who wears their garment below waist-level is sporting what appears to be a baby-bump.
|Posted on August 4, 2011 at 8:49 AM|
Remember normal-sized clothing for women, before the fashion industry started distorting sizing in order to flatter the anorexia cult? Standard sizing no longer exists, as a dress with a 36-inch bust is now labelled as anything between size 4 and size 14, depending upon whom the maker is targeting. And today's "size 12", whatever that represents, is now often being labelled "plus" for the purpose of charging more for a normal size. Recent research results show that the average American woman weighs 164 pounds, and, in a rational sizing system, would wear a size 12. Some of the styles offered by the U.S.' top elite department store, Manhattan's Bergdorf Goodman, in 1948 started at size 12, and went up to size 20. Originally, "plus sizes" were anything above size twenty. In 1948, this black silk dress was offered at Bergdorf Goodman in sizes 10--20. If a woman wanted something smaller, she had to shop in the children's section.
When shopping for clothing in autumn 2011, pay no attention to sizing numbers, which are misleading and no longer standard; instead, follow the bust, waist and hip measurements.
©M-J de Mesterton
|Posted on July 26, 2011 at 8:52 AM|
|The classic safari dress, by Burberrys|
|Elegant Survival on Safari|
|Posted on May 26, 2011 at 10:05 AM|
|Posted on May 26, 2011 at 10:03 AM|
|Poppy Galore Sundress by Tommy Bahama|
Just as its name indicates, the sun-dress or sundress is meant to be worn in the most casual manner, on the beach or while sunning one's self. The sun-dress is not something that a woman ought to wear to luncheon or lunch, unless that occasion is pool-side or at a beach resort, when one may have just showered off after a swim in the sea. Sundresses do not belong at elegant luncheons or on city streets. Elegant Dressing necessitates a knowledge of propriety in attire; there is a time and a place for everything under the sun. ©M-J de Mesterton
|Posted on May 2, 2011 at 11:45 AM|
Recently, I wrote an editorial lamenting the sad state of women's voices. It is entitled, "Gals are Growling: What Gives?" In it, I recommend that today's women listen to yesterday's smooth-talking ladies in movies. Today's female voices often sound like trombones filled with cottage cheese, rather than like euphonious flutes. Listening to current newscasts, television shows and advertisements from American media will demonstrate this to the conscious listener, whereas in previous decades, women spoke without lowering their voices to gravelly, guttural levels. I've just begun to find examples of smooth-voiced, elegant women of the past. They appear on Elegant Survival Blog's Smooth Talkers page.
©M-J de Mesterton
|Posted on April 29, 2011 at 10:59 AM|
Two times earlier this year I posted my opinion about bridal gowns or wedding dresses*. I said that women of high station wear long sleeves and high necklines. I was vindicated this morning, as the new bride of Prince William wore a very tasteful dress with traditional lace long-sleeves, high neck, full skirt and an actual waistline. I'm very pleased to see my prediction borne out in such a lovely way by an elegant, dignified bride.
The Princess' choice of demurely pendulous earrings and no necklace was perfect.
Let us hope that women of all ages eschew the strapless, sleeveless gowns they have been sporting of late (which resemble nothing so much as swimsuits with trains), and take a cue on timeless, classic style from a Princess.
©M-J de Mesterton
April 29th, 2011
|Posted on April 12, 2011 at 10:05 AM|
Remember Elegantly-Dressed Men?
By M-J de Mesterton, ©Copyright 2010
|Posted on December 3, 2010 at 9:48 AM|
|Posted on October 1, 2010 at 2:43 PM|
|Posted on September 28, 2010 at 4:45 PM|
There is a better way to speak, which simply involves modulating one's voice in a soft tone all the way to the end of each sentence, leaving that grating growl to the dogs and to your male counterparts. Men really don't think it's sexy. I've heard gents describe this new manner of female-speaking in the most unflattering of terms. For examples of attractive feminine speech, old movies are instructive. Even Lauren Bacall didn't do the gritty, guttural growl. This new way of talking must have been in fashion for quite some time while I "slept," because it takes a concerted effort to put into effect--in fact, some of us find it impossible to imitate. Maintaining a pleasant and natural tone, terminating your phrases with a definite stop instead of an audible question-mark, is a winning habit. Dragging the last syllable out longer than those in the rest of the sentence is bad diction, and ought to be avoided. I don't like to preach--leave that to other writers. That said, I occasionally feel the need to make a suggestion. Mimicking some pop-tart who is piled-out on coke, booze and cigarettes is a losing proposition in any facet of your life, so it would be good for you girls to get the gravel out of your gullets, and start sounding like real women again!
©M-J de Mesterton 2010