Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Little Luxuries

This past weekend, while enjoying a leisurely Saturday, I encountered an old article I had stashed away featuring a select handful of fashion industry leaders. The article, titled "Women in Luxury," was something I had clipped out years ago because I found it inspiring. The women, I felt, possessed a unique blend of business savvy, strength, and femininity.
Upon reading through the article again, I was struck by one particular statement made by Valerie Hermann at Yves Saint Laurent. She said that though she grew up in the midst of a culture of science and medicine (many of her family members are physicians), she was always attracted to an atmosphere of "quality and beauty."

That's it! I thought. That is precisely what I'm attracted to! The latter part, beauty, is of course easy. I've always gravitated toward lovely places and pretty things. As for quality...well that has taken me a bit longer to appreciate.
Quality, I've come to realize, is not as easy to spot. Something can indeed be beautiful but of poor quality (think of cheap cashmere and vapid runway queens). This, I fear, is especially true in our modern world of mass-produced fashionable, convenient and "affordable" goods. "Affordable," of course, meaning "cheap"--both in price and in quality.

Now I'm not suggesting that in order to be a lady we must all start spending oodles of cash on only the finest things.
Because although that would be simply wonderful, most of us can't stomach the expense. But I am saying that beauty and quality should go hand-in-hand as often as possible.
For me, this involves creating more of my own clothing, gifts, food, and home accessories using materials that are special. Like the soft yarn you see below. Or the pencil skirt I sewed last week. Or the farm-fresh milk we drink every morning from cold glass jugs. They are luxuries--little ones--that make up that "atmosphere" Hermann was referring to.
Of course, additionally it also involves combining my outside appearance with my internal character (both are always evolving and...frankly...requiring constant maintenance). I don't just want to be a beautiful person--I want to be a quality person, too. Someone who is generous and kind and patient and persevering. Someone who is not wasteful or crude.

Because good character, I suppose, is one of the best luxuries a lady can have...

What is your favorite little luxury this week?
Mine is definitely the super soft merino and baby alpaca yarn that I purchased last Friday. And also perhaps those chocolates you see above, too. A girl needs her chocolate... How about you? What are you enjoying?


  1. Ah, quality and beauty are definitely two of my loves! I have always seen the value in both...and strive to have both in my life in every aspect possible. Sometimes harder to do than one would think!!
    I don't know what, specifically, I'm enjoying this week...but I'm going to give that some thought!

  2. It is harder to do than you think! Partly because nice things are expensive, and also because they're sometimes inconvenient (fine china vs. paper plates, for instance). Thanks for you comment, Betsey!

  3. I've been enjoying quality food, but the idea goes into a lot of your topics last year about planning, being frugal, etc. I've recently started using macgourmet to store all my recipes. Each saturday I go in and plan the following weeks meals, snacks, etc, taking into account special events and our weekly schedule. The it spits out a shopping list for me that I can take around my kitchen to see what I've already got, and then around the grocery store to get what I don't! I've noticed that by doing this I spend less money, have more to eat during the week, I can plan get get prepwork done ahead of time, and it's BETTER FOOD! Instead of throwing things together at the last minute for chicken and some kind of vegetable, we're enjoying full, healthy meals. My husband's co-workers have even been commenting on how "well" he eats! It's amazing how a little planning allows me to cook more enjoyable food that is still kind to my waistline, budget, and schedule for the week!

    Now I just need the great apron to wear as i sweep into the dining room with a perfectly prepared meal on a silver tray :) (I'm working on sewing the apron!)

  4. Nicky--do you think you can come over and plan all my meals for me?! Seriously...we've been eating sandwiches and hot dogs lately... I'm impressed with your organization! Send me pics of your cute apron!

  5. well, the organization doesnt' come naturally, I can guarantee that! We went down to one salary a few months ago so my husband could take an unpaid internship to get some experience (he just graduated with his masters). It's not easy being the breadwinner, and the domestic Goddess, but a little planning seems to go a long way! I'll try to send pics of the apron soon! :)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin