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on 4 January 2004
After taking 'The Fabulous Girls Guide To Decorum' under my wing as a literary bible for my new more stylish and fabulous life I was intrigued to read 'Elegance' by Kathleen Tessaro which was inspired and written in conjunction with 'A Guide To Elegance'. I loved Tessaro's book and enjoyed the practical way she had incorporated the teaching of Madame Antoine Dariaux. The lessons explained from the 1950's in the original publication of her style guide are timeless. I am not suggesting that we should literally take ALL her comments on board - I will never be able to wear a tweed hunting suit with a crocodile clutch when travelling back to my parents home in rural England but, if anything, Tessaro's book has shown that these lessons can be incorporated into current thinking. If Trinny and Susannah have not already thoroughly ingested this gem from the 1950's I will be very surprised indeed.
This book IS old fashioned - it WAS written fifty years ago but the teaching remains very relevant today...
Buy it, read it from cover to cover, and keep it for your children.
Jen
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on 23 August 2004
Ignore the reviewer who says you have to be about 70 years old to read this book.
Like the other reviewer, I was intrigued enough by Kathleen Tessaro's book to order a copy and much of the advice is sensible and timeless. I have just come back from Florence, and, as an experiment, road-tested Mme Dariaux's advice for a summer travelling wardrobe (linen suit, raincoat, 2 summer dresses plus cardigan & jersey). Not only do you avoid the usual panic of cramming everything you think you might need into a suitcase (only to realise it weighs a ton and none of it is quite right) but you can avoid baggage reclaim and feel like you're living out a sort of Bloomsbury/Fellini vibe rather than the hordes of tourists squeezed into their hot jeans and plump white trainers. Roll on the return of elegance. This is a great book.
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on 10 December 2007
I bought this with a little trepidation, fearing that beloved would see it as a suggestion that she lacked elegance (which she doesn't).

It turned out to have been an excellent move on my part. My wife adores it, seeing in it a guide to the kind of classical style she's always been hankering after but has never been quite sure how to achieve, the kind which is the elder sister to fashion, transcending it and making it look just a little silly.

Ladies - you'll love it. Girls - you probably won't, unless you already see Audrey Hepburn as more of a role model than Victoria Beckham. Gentlemen - buy it for the woman you love (and be ready with some fast talking if she takes it the wrong way - ideally have a large bottle of Chanel No.5 to hand just in case...!)
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on 14 January 2010
I once read a book which was based on "A Guide to Elegance". It was about a modern day tomboy finding her feminine side and although she could not follow the guide to the letter, she adapted it to suit her lifestyle and taste.....that was it! I wanted that book for myself. At the time I was living in Holland and could not get hold of it at all. Now 6 years later I have it, and it's eveything I thought it would be. Some people have said " its not for today" " its out of touch" well, yes that it may be, but if you read it and take tips and adapt then it really can become a modern day bible. It may not be for everyone, but for those of us that appreciate etiquette and take pride in our appearance it's a wonderful book that you will look at time and time again.
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on 23 November 2005
Pay no mind to modern curmudgeons - this is a book for women of timeless elegance or those who long to have a bit of that elan. We often see images from the post-war years and wonder how those women living without our mod-cons and credit cards managed to look so fabulous, so pulled together, so elegant. Tailoring was key but there are other tricks and the author reveals them one by one in petit-point chapters that will have you waxing nostalgic for an era you never lived in. Any fan of style icon Dita von Tees should run for a copy and any woman who aims for style and elegance and a proper wardrobe will find a treasure here too. Those looking for quick fashion tips of how to go from the office to China White will find happier hunting grounds elsewhere.
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on 5 July 2014
I'm fortunate to still have my copy of Madame Dariaux's Elegance which was given to me by my mother in the 1960s. It has been my bible of style ever since. I bought this expecting it to be an up-date of the original, designed to bring it firmly into the 21st century. It isn't. It's a highly abbreviated version of the original (which was quite a weighty tome), but what remains is based on advice written fifty years ago, so not entirely appropriate to the present-day (who, for example, changes out of a business suit into an afternoon dress, on to a cocktail dress,and finally a dinner dress??) What's more, this version was published in the US, so the translation contains vaguely annoying American spelling and vocabulary which sit somewhat discordantly with the elegant language Madame actually used. (It has also been very sloppily proof-read. Spelling and grammar mistakes abound, which are somehow doubly shocking in a book about elegance!!!) All-in-all therefore, my advice would be to seek out an original from 1964 (they're still out there,and often cost just a few pence) knowing that it WILL be charmingly dated - the advice on "glove etiquette" is guaranteed to raise a smile in 2014! - but so is this sad volume, and at least the original will be complete and devoid of obvious Americanisms!
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on 13 April 2005
A slice of a life now long gone when women were women and men adored them!!
This little book is a true find,Madam gives you no excuse not to look stylish and groomed at all times .
A true gem.
Read with Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro and you wont be disappointed trust me...now where did I put my lipstick?....
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on 21 February 2010
This book is a current obsession of mine, and I am now the proud owner of a set of pearls to prove it! Why? Because it is shopping advice from the make-do-and-mend generation, words of wisdom from those for whom a disposable outfit from Primark was not an option. Shopping in this way has made me consider carefully how items will fit into a limited wardrobe, how to put "ensembles" together to make a limited wardrobe appear large and, moreover, how to consider quality over quantity. Having drawn the conclusion that I no longer want to be caught up in consumerist purchasing and that I wish to limit my environmental footprint, this book is ideal. I have been reading it with "Green is the New Black", a worthy partner, albeit from a different era and angle. Strongly recommended!
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VINE VOICEon 19 December 2006
I bought this book based on the review below. I am giving just 3 stars as its VERY old fashioned, and I can only use a small fraction of the advice in this book. Also my aim is not just to find a man and make it my lifes work to keep him! Its not very PC (fur stole anyone?) or pro-feminist so dont buy unless you want to see how people USED to dress or unless you are very into old style elegance, ie if you need to know how many strings of pearls you should wear? Also old school fashion such as brown for the country etc etc they are all here. The idea of changing your outfit approx 6 during the day is a little much, if you have the time and clothes go for it, if not its more of a look back in time to a more gentle pace of life, when one wore gloves, hats and furs!
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on 3 January 2014
Bought this for my wife and after only reading twenty or so pages she had made a list of items she needs to buy and has already ordered two of them from amazon. Written many years ago but looking classy needn't cost a fortune if you follow the tips in this book
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