Saturday, November 27, 2004

Balance in Beauty

This piece comes from Beaten Paths printed in 1890. Not a bad piece of advise for us today.

" I believe that God desires us all to become as beautiful as possible. He who at morn and eventide makes the skies a blaze of color; He who stars the meadows in spring with flowers of a hundred hues; He who arrays the autumn woods in glories of crimson and gold, and in winter makes every gaunt branch glitter with incrustation of diamonds, is surly not averse to beauty.
Make yourself as beautiful as possible, and have no fears that either your character or your influence, will suffer loss. Dress develops taste, observation, judgment, modesty. A becoming dress gives evidence of refined culture; it is an open letter of credit, read and honored by all.
Let your dress be as beautiful and becoming as you can make it. You owe this to others as well as to yourself. But at the same time, beware of carrying ornamentation to far. For the highest beauty is not that which glares and dazzles, not that whose aggressiveness compels attention, but rather that whose quiet, unobtrusive grace waits discovery at the eye of the connoisseur.
It is not the leonine sunflower of Oscar Wilde, but the shrinking violet, that moves the sweetest chords in the poet's lyre. "Virtue," says Lord Bacon, "is like rich stone, best plain set."
Talents and graces of mind and heart need no meretricious setting to make the world cognizant of their existence. The true principle was disclosed by Dr. Johnson when he declared that a certain lady must have been well dressed, because he could not remember what she had on.
The lady uses dress as an auxiliary, and would feel humiliated to have the world take notice of her wardrobe rather than of herself. Over ornamentation is worse than no ornamentation at all."

As I think about the Red Carpet filled with Hollywood's starlets 'glaring and blazing' in their dress; I suspect they are not humiliated that the world takes no note of their character.
Just a guess.

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