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Friday, July 4, 2014

Beautifully Ugly

"Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head."~ William Shakespeare

There's a French term I love and have used before in this blog- Jolie Laide; it means to be 'pretty' and 'ugly' at the same time. I've got the urge to revisit it. (It's just that kind of concept for me.) It's used to describe someone who though not born with the physical attributes normally considered 'beautiful' is nonetheless attractive because she's not only made the most of what she was born with, but has gone beyond and created her own unapologetic sense of style- one that flatters her in particular, all with a personal sense of confidence and flair. And it may or may not be done with any respect to current fashions or what anyone else might think of her. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald said 'after a certain degree of prettiness, one girl is as pretty as another.' Though I can't say I totally agree, I can see his point- there can be a certain boring blandness to some prettiness.  Someone who is born beautiful doesn't have to work at it; those among us who were born less endowed have to work at it. Perhaps that's part of the reason that a woman who is Jolie Laide seems from first glance to have more and deeper substance than one who is just 'pretty.' Maybe it's the painter in me, but I find the well put together, more unusual people more interesting to look at than the pretty face. I think it's that I'm convinced there's somehow more to 'discover' by looking at them. 

So let's say one considers oneself the perfect candidate to be an enigmatic, fascinating example of jolie laide- how could one go about it? Remember my remark about how there can be a certain blandness to 'pretty'? I have to say for me that's usually true if there's just too much going on- too much makeup, too much with the clothes and hair, etc. Overcomplicated. True 'pretty' can be almost a shock in it's simplicity- and what usually contributes to this simplicity is one commonality between a traditional beauty and the more unconventional jolie laide beauty is good health. (Sorry, here I go again.) I know I harp on this, but it's what makes the 12 yr old models in the fashion mags pretty, and every other example of pretty, beautiful, good looking, gorgeous, sexy, whatever- and at every age, too- that's out there. It's THE foundation of attractiveness. 

The only 2 necessities beyond that would be 1) the deceptively easy task of finding visual proportional balance, both in face and body.  This requires seeing things as they are, without need for any criticism or judgement- just the visual reality, and figuring out what will make it all look 'balanced,' and thus visually pleasing. For this you can work with makeup, haircut, and design lines in your clothes. And 2), bringing out your individual aesthetic. If at all possible, definitely highlight what's unique about you. It'll make you stand out. As always, work with your style. Take from fashion what works for you and your personal aesthetic, and forget the rest. Only wear colors that make you look your absolute best, and styles that make you completely happy. 

Of course, all this is true for the conventionally beautiful OR the Jolie Laide stunner… :-)

Happy Dressing!