Friday, June 4, 2010
Savoir Faire - the ability to do the right or graceful thing. (repost)
Is this innate or is it learned? This is exactly the question posed in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Audrey Hepburn, who was in my opinion, the Queen of Savoir Faire, played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, the movie based on the musical that was in turn based on the book.
It is still a large part of European culture to use clothes and a certain attitude to express who you are. Women learn from an early age to adapt makeup and accessories to each and every situation they are in, from the gym to the boardroom. Far from feeling like slavery to looks, it is a confidence-booster and a lot of fun!
European men are also fashion-conscious without losing track of their masculinity and no, they are not all male-chauvinists.
In the U.S. the saying goes that if someone is tastefully dressed and has good manners, he or she must be gay or European. And this is supposed to be funny?
When you have savoir faire, you could be wearing sweats and you would still stand out, in a good way. It is not always what you wear, but how you wear it that counts. Your manners, your tone of voice and your presence speak volumes about you.
I recall attending a dance seminar in the U.S. where part of the day was devoted to teaching adult women to walk in heels and stand around in a skirt. I experienced culture-shock right there. Shouldn't we already know this by now?
Learning to own your space and your grace, knowing when to talk and when to walk, is second nature in other countries where most women grow up to be ladies and men to be gentlemen. Admittedly it is in extinction, but thankfully not completely lost and when found, very pleasing to be around.
If you have savoir faire you have an edge, whether you are aware of this or not, and are likely to be more successful in a number of areas, from dating to doing business. It is a win-win art.