Friday, November 14, 2014

Elegance is refusal

Image from Pinterest

When I first heard this Coco Chanel quote, the first thought that came to me was food.  That I had to refuse food to become elegant and trim like the bird-like Mademoiselle Chanel.  And being a food-lover there was no way I could picture myself eating tiny portions so I’ve always had a bit of a block towards this quote.

Lately and from two different sources I have heard of a more enticing way to look at it, which ties in perfectly with my love of curating a beautiful life by decluttering items that do not fit the vision of the lifestyle I have for  myself.

And that is just it – refusal of anything that does not elevate your life to exquisite elegance.

- Refusing junky foods in favour of high quality fresh foods.

- Refusing possessions that detract from rather than add to my enjoyment of life.  And this includes refusal of excess possessions.  We all like different ways of living, but I feel at my most content when I have less around me.

- Refusing clothing that does not make me look and feel chic and sophisticated.  That includes clothing I wear to work or out, loungewear at home, nightwear and lingerie.  Everything!

- Refusing to be around people that bring me down or make me feel bad about myself.

- Refusing to accept others beliefs as gospel.  I’m cultivating my own wonderful and empowering beliefs thank you very much.

- Refusing negative thoughts because they don’t feel good and they weaken your immune system.  Apparently it’s been proven in tests which gave me a jolt when I heard that.

- Refusing to listen to myself when I say something is too big or scary to entertain.  What could I achieve if I believed I could do that huge achievement.  Why would I block it from my mind immediately?  Even if I never do it, I’ve at least not closed my mind to it.

Pondering this quote made me think of a decluttering challenge I did years ago imaginatively titled 100 Things.  You can probably guess that the object of this challenge is to find 100 Things in your home to say au revoir to.  I had such fun (isn't it great that we all have different definitions of fun...) so I’m going to do it again.

I don’t have a timeframe for this as that sounds far too stressful and I like to be relaxed.  Perhaps I’ll report at the bottom of each week’s post how many items I’ve decluttered for the week and count up to 100.  I’m sure I could come up with 100 items before Christmas though.

Some challenges count like items as one, such as a stack of magazines.  I’ll be doing it my way which is one item is one item.  Purely because I’ve been through so many layers of decluttering already.  Still, I know I’ll have 100 items lurking around just waiting to be moved on so that someone else can gain use from them.  And I can enjoy that much more room in my home.

My method will be to gather the items in my guest bedroom and donate when I am passing a charity shop.  I’ve just done a big box-load last week so will be starting this challenge afresh.

Here is my starting list for this week:

1. One belt that I never wear anymore even though it’s quite nice and I think I should.

2. One magazine that I have read.

3. A top that I no longer like on myself.

4. A pair of trousers that I was given by a well-meaning elderly relative that don’t do anything for me.

5. A bra (it is still quite new but I have decided beige knit bras have no place in my stylish life, I don’t care if models wear them).

6. One home décor item that I never want to display.

If you’d like to relieve yourself of 100 extraneous items before Christmas, please feel free to join me in the comments section each week!


  1. I have been on the de-cluttering project for several months....I cannot imagine that I have 100 things left to go but I will seriously consider it.
    It feels so great to live with less.
    Enjoy your posts Fiona!

  2. Excellent post! Though I've been simplifying for months, I know I can get rid of at least 100 things.

  3. I have been simplifying for a year but I also see many things that should go. My makeup and lotions always seem to accumulate and never get used.

  4. Oooh, I'd love to get Belovedest to jump in on this challenge. We live in a studio apartment (aka really small) and clutter can eat us alive in a heartbeat. Thanks for the idea!

  5. A very interesting and thoughtful post. I really like your perspective. I have been thinking of another round of decluttering and will give it a go too.

  6. I am IN, and I'm starting right after I hit "publish." (This was already one of my three goals for today.)

  7. I'm with you all the way, Fiona. I've been decluttering for a while now, and it will be good to have a new goal to keep motivated.


  8. Count me in! I de-clutter on a continual basis, but when I have a challenge, I look at things with a much more critical eye! Bring it on!

  9. Dear Fiona, This was an excellent post! They are all good tips. After the Christmas season I ALWAYS declutter, so I am definitely with you for the declutter challenge.

    Also, I've previously suggested a blog called It is written by a French woman and has some fantastic tips on lifestyle and how to dress.

  10. Another inspiring post.
    I do get some decluttering done in between semesters. I have some things that are decluttered but have yet to be dropped off for donation or recycling. Dead electronics and papers tend to build up!

  11. I remember how much this thought gripped me, likely after reading this blog post:

    I want to do the challenge too. So far...
    1. blue jeans that are too big
    2. black trousers that are too big
    3. purple scarf with silver sequins and thread
    4. blue scarf with silver sequins and thread*
    5. blue scarf*
    6. green scarf*
    7. turquoise scarf*
    8. red crystal drop earrings
    *I prefer warm colors over cool, so I rarely wear them.

  12. Yay Michelle!

    And Anonymous, thank you for Et Voila, what a fabulous find.

  13. Since my husband's death, I've been giving away tons of stuff...enough books to help start three libraries, outfitted my girlfriend's husband and son as well as a dozen unknowns, went through my costume jewelry to give to a friend's daughter...the list goes on and on and seems like it'll never end. I need to start on the antiques, collectibles and my clothes next.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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