Friday, June 4, 2010

Savoir Faire - the ability to do the right or graceful thing. (repost)

This basically means to have social skills and the ability to interact with people of all walks of life and not make a fool of yourself in any place or situation. Plus, you are able to conduct and present yourself in a graceful and polite manner no matter where you are.

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.


  1. So tell me , how does a woman stand around in a skirt?
    Pygmalion was written 97 years ago, My Fair Lady was produced 46 years ago and you probably read Pygmalion 35 years ago.
    Yes, I agree that Savoir Faire is nearing extinction. Any Idea that ancient would be an extinction in America.
    But, Savoir Faire is not dead here in the states. Attempts to bury it have failed.
    Savoir Faire is alive and well in Bakersfield and San Francisco, CA.
    So did you write and repost this article because Savoir Faire can't be found where you live. That's not good. Are you homesick?
    Is a European Savoir Faire the same as an American Savoir Faire. Probably not.
    You do agree, don't you?.

  2. How does a women stand around in a skirt?
    Pygmalion was written 100 years ago, and My Fair Lady was produced 46 years ago. Trendy America would call Savoir Faire an ancient concept.
    In our generation it's more like dress for success, or dress appropriately for the occasion.
    I agree that savior faire is heading towards extinction in the states, because it's the stepsister of the 'trend of the day'. But, despite attempts to bury savoir faire it remains intact.
    I see that you have reposted this article.
    Could it be that you are homesick and you miss Spain and the European way of life?

  3. If you see savoir faire, you know it´s there!
    Home is where the heart is and I´m home now.
    In our generation ... what is dress for success?
    Elegance is timeless .... such as good literature.
    Thanks for reading Matt!