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BE A DISCIPLE OF ELEGANCE

James Andrew at home.

James Andrew at home.

A few years ago I was honored to be included in Corriere Della Sera’s Style Magazine in a piece entitled, The Latest Aesthetes. And I was in such tremendous company too, with the likes of Hamish Bowles among others. They wrote: “.. in an era that has abandoned elegance James Andrew is a loyal disciple..and the latest …arbiter of good taste.” It’s a title I’ve tried to live up to every day – and despite this era of “abandoned elegance,” it may surprise you to know that I’m actually quite pleased with a lot that is going on today in the worlds of fashion and design.

For instance via the miracle of Instagram, there are so many sharing their very own sartorial splendor and indeed, there are quite a few marvelous examples of very well dressed and elegant men and women out there! I’m also thrilled to see so many sharing images of iconic interiors and homes that are providing inspiration and excitement for aspiring and established designers alike. Terrific table settings as well seem to be flooding my Instagram feed — so many out there are giving very good table!

James Andrew table setting.

James Andrew table setting.

I find that many are paralyzed by insecurities and don’t know where to start. Good taste doesn’t have much to do with money, it really has more to do with having a good understanding and appreciation of the history of art, aesthetics, and a recognition of fine craftsmanship. Certainly money does not equal good taste! Of course, I won’t deny that having some monetary resources can certainly help facilitate the realization of that hard earned appreciation once one has got it, but this doesn’t need to bankrupt you or your clients.

In fact, a huge part of my collection has come from sifting through eBay for incredible bargains, and going to flea markets and vintage boutiques where I’ve managed to find all kinds of unusual and one-of-a-kind treasures. To the aspiring aesthetes and decorators out there, my big word of advice is that this should all come from a place of joy – our work should make our own and others’ lives better. Be sure to stay light and have fun with what you are doing.

Just as the decoration of one’s home creates an environment that nurtures one’s own soul and those of our friends and loved ones, having friends and family for drinks and/or dinner is another perfect way to celebrate the loved ones in our lives. And it’s all in the details! I never serve a cocktail, for instance, without a freshly starched cocktail napkin! Even a modest dinner for two can be elevated with fine china and crystal.

All of our efforts to live a more elegant life are rewarded on so many levels. The sharing of beauty in all its forms is truly a noble pursuit and can elevate a potentially mundane event into a moment of awareness, and deep appreciation. To this end, I encourage all of our readership to become disciples of elegance – and be sure to spread the joy!

I’m sporting (top) a Tom Ford lavender wool tweed window pane plaid jacket, grey checked cotton shirt and black purple, and ivory glen plaid wool/cashmere tie, Ralph Lauren grey wool flannel pants, Ralph Lauren Purple Label grey cashmere fair isle sweater, Turnbull and Asser grey and black dot silk pocket square, vintage Rolex, Tom Ford era YSL Eton aubergine suede boots, my fragrance is Creed Himalaya and a I’m using a touch of Tom Ford Bronzing Gel for some much needed sun.

10 Comments

  1. Dean Farris says:

    WORDS TO LIVE BY DEAR JAMES!

    PERHAPS YOUR OBSERVATIONS HELP TO EXPLAIN THE POPULARITY OF DOWNTON ABBEY-

    WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU HAVE A COLUMN IN AD OR VOGUE-

    DEAN (AN ASPIRING DISCIPLE)

  2. I GUESS I AM THE ONLY ONE YOU OR ANYONE KNOWS WHO HAS NEVER WATCHED DOWNTON ABBEY! (THE LAST PROGRAM I WATCHED WAS MORK AND MINDY….HILARIOUS I MUST SAY!!!)

    ANYWAY; YOUR ELEGANCE AND STYLE SOUNDS LIKE A NEW VERSION OF DOWNTON. (I THINK IF I GET SICK , I WILL WATCH THE WHOLE THING!)

    I HOPE I DON’T; SO I WILL CONTINUE TO NOT KNOW WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT!

    IT WON’T BE THE FIRST TIME!

    YOU ARE A BEACON OF ELEGANCE…IN A SLOBBOVIAN WORLD,….DO KEEP IT UP. AND KEEP UP THE CLOSE-UPS……THEY ARE IMMENSELY HELPFUL. YOU HAVE NO IDEA. BRILLIANT; ACTUALLY.

    YOUR ELEGANCE WILL BE ‘CATCHING’ I CAN ONLY PRAY!!!!!

    PLEASE COME VISIT AGAIN!

    CONGRATIONS TO MCBEE! WHAT A SENSATIONAL SHOW AT THE CHINESE PORCELAIN COMPANY….THE CHICEST PLACE IN TOWN!!!!

    I ADORE YOU BOTH!!

    XXOO
    PENNY

  3. Michael Hampton says:

    James I drink the kool aid of your elegance everyday! So I guess I am a true disciple? Sometimes I fail miserably (LOL) but I try.

    Best,

    Michael

  4. La Contessa says:

    I LOVE THIS!READ this on my phone yesterday and it wouldn’t let me comment!I TRY EVERY DAY…….and I get asked,” Where are you going all dressed up?”MY ANSWER Is ALWAYS…….the SUPERMARKET!
    I say WE START an ELEGANCE CLUB!!!!
    YOU can be PRESIDENT and
    Penelope VICE~PRESIDENT.
    I will be a DISCIPLE…………XX

  5. Karena says:

    Dear James,
    These are wonderful thoughts on living an elegant life.
    Now if only more people start doing so!

    Xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

  6. James Andrew says:

    Dear Dean,

    Thank You!

    I think it important that we all have fun with this as well!

    And you are right – people long for an era of elegance and sophistication.

    Love

    JA

  7. James Andrew says:

    Darling Penelope Bianchi

    I know you would just adore – Downton Abbey

    Just celebrating life and those around me – hopefully it will inspire others to do the same!

    Miss you terribly!

    JA

  8. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Michael Hampton,

    It is rather comforting that there are others who share the same ideals and who want to surround themselves and those around them with beauty.

    It really does elevate everything!

    Much Love

    JA

  9. James Andrew says:

    My Dear La Contessa ,

    What a marvelous idea – Club Elegante or something like this -how sublime!

    It is interesting that there is a rise in interest in private clubs – Lyford Cay, Doubles here in Town.

    People like standards and these places offer a bastien for like minded people.

    ALL Best

    JA

  10. James Andrew says:

    Dear Karena,

    I am certainly encouraged and see more and more people jumping on board.

    It is my mission to continue to shine a beacon of elegance.

    All Best

    JA

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