Anxious Times / Focus on Beauty & Friendship

Last night I went to my husband’s holiday work party.  It was set in a lovely restaurant  just two blocks from the attempted suicide attack earlier that day. These are anxious times.

 Coping with fear requires looking past it, which is not the same as ignoring it. 

I register it, allow myself some grief for the state of the nation,  and parts of the world, and then I focus on beauty: outward beauty and inward beauty,  which I know as compassion and kindness. Living in anxious times requires strength of mind and a rather singular focus.  A willingness to not hate, to put violent desperate acts into a context which is human, even when the acts are brutal and unforgivable.

So it is fitting that I post myself sitting in one of the prettiest rooms I have even seen. The brilliance of a mind that creates a wallpaper that makes one feel as if one is in a magical garden; how I appreciate that ! I am at The Holiday House NYC, once again, in Robin Baron’s Spring Oasis room.

woman in wallpapered room

The flower in my hair was my late mother’s. I took it from its alabaster vase as a whim, and wore it-  wanting to feel connected to her during the holiday season, but not realizing it fully in that moment.  I have never donned a flower crown, though I love them, but this felt right.

My golden bag, a gift from a dear friend, hangs as a necklace. I want to keep the thoughts of her, near my heart, and I think it looks well there because of that.

Sometimes intention and meaning infuse our fashion choices, and that lends authenticity  to my mind and my heart, anyway. 

purse as necklace

Of course my look is not formulaic , I do not do  full-on sweet without adding a bit of counterpoint .

Therefore I added leopard boots bought last year at TJ Maxx,  by Sam Edelman, similar here , also by this designer.  Maybe it was 2 years ago?  Where does the time go? I choose this outfit quickly,  without analysis. I dress quickly and by instinct, with the setting in my memory to guide my choices. And what a setting!

My white dress is from I love this flash sale sight as it has smaller, less well-known labels, and I like to shop small. I chose the white dress for its texture and its absence of color. I wanted to be a blank canvas for this beautiful room, adorned only with some pattern at my feet and some gold shimmer.  I wore a colorful ring on my finger that I designed, a red sapphire and orange garnets ( an unusual combination)  and cobalt blue on my nails that is a color I have not worn before. I am happy with the way it photographed.

My friend filled my bag with chocolate too! I am always and forever grateful to my friends,  new and old for their ongoing gifts of friendship. For the thought they show when choosing gifts, for the love they impart with listening, for trusting me with their secrets and pain, and letting me share fully in their happiness. I am gratified to share  their lives as sisters would.

Below, I add another layer. More contrast. The black canvas has been replaced for a bit by the sheen of silk velvet, by the inky dark color of a black night of sadness. The golden row of buttons look like molten moons against that ebony sky. This time, I allow the contrast and see that it can enhance the beauty, which is interesting to me. Too, this is something, that I knew by instinct , when I chose this coat by Dolce & Gabbana.

glamorous floral interior

 Leopard meets flower,  animal meets nature; and they not only co-exist,  but compliment.

Velvet coat with gold buttons

After this very brief photo shoot, 20 or so snaps on my Samsung Galaxy Camera phone-  I know you serious photogs are shuddering – I step into the hallway and admire the Christmas tree. The shot looked bland, it did not fit. I wanted more layers, color and contrast. I found a photo of stained glass stairway from a hotel I visited in Portugal . I used a double exposure option of an editing app, and was pleased. Editing is calming for me, a way to deal with anxious times and be in a near-meditative state.

Christmas fashion photography

I should close with this. But I am not going to. I am adding a ceiling from a local restaurant, because it is artful and  of the season. I admire the details one can see when one looks up. We must always look up. So I will close with this image.

I will remind you to look up, to think in a way the elevates, and to dress the part too, when you can.

It need not be expensive, my Dolce coat was bought at Encore years ago for about 10% of what it could have sold for.) It will always be in style and will last a generation,  not a season or two…

beauty in anxious times

All of us deal with fear in these anxious times.. Anxiety over a job,  worry about sexual exploitation, illness, floods, fire… all of the worst headline news are there, and they are real. Coping mechanisms are a vital tool.  Keeping a balanced perspective is so important. What tools do you use to cope with fear,  anxiety and loss?  Do you find comfort in the holiday season where family ties are celebrated and gift-giving generosity is on your mind?

I do. This holiday is a very special one for me. I hope it is for you too, despite the headline news.

Wishing you joy, peace, and safety too. 

the elle diaries

45 thoughts on “Anxious Times / Focus on Beauty & Friendship

  1. Hope I can figure out the balance thing ….tired of tearing up when I think of my mother and am dreading the upcoming holiday season — the first without her….

  2. Every time I read your blog I think: I should be more creative with my style. But then again I think: but that’s not me. But I always love your style Elle!

  3. Like you, I dress to help me cope with the world. You look lovely, and the deliberation that you take with your outfit, but also that you’re functioning somewhat instinctually when choosing it, yes, I get this, I nod as I read. That oversized floral wallpaper piece is amazing. Your D&G coat is astounding and I would like to touch it! Wishing you a happy day of the season, Elle. Glad your mother is incorporated into your outfit too – I wore my dad’s ring today.

    1. WE are much alike Sheila. WE are both sensitive and creative. I relate to your posts, nodding regularly as well.
      I wish you the very same, everyday …
      Yes, I saw that..your Dad’s ring.. lovely.
      warm wishes for holidays.
      xoxo, Elle

  4. Your thoughts expressed over the choices you made on your outfit are inspiring. Letting your soul guide you is surely a way to wear happiness on your sleeve despite these trying times.

    The outfit it lovely but so much more beautiful when you express the sentiment behind it.

    That wallpaper is gorgeous! No wonder why you wanted photos there. It must make you feel like Alice in Wonderland.


    1. I am so glad you appreciate the words behind the post. Not everyone reads and I appreciate that. As a gifted writer yourself, I certainly am pleased to hear that my writing comes through in a way that enhances the post.
      Trying times, yes. But this fabulous place and everyday beauty, too, and kindness all around, is inspiring.
      and yes, the wallpaper!!!!
      Much love, Elle

  5. First up, that’s a beautiful outfit Elle! 🙂 I love the lace dress with that classic coat and the fun boots. The flower was a sweet and perfect touch too!

    I agree that when times are tough it makes sense to do what makes it easiest to get through. There can be a lot of fun things to focus on, and blogging is my way of just focusing on something fun and frivolous for a bit, it’s a nice escape mechanism from the world sometimes!

    Hope you are having a good week so far and you’re getting organised for Christmas! I finished my shopping, just waiting for it all to arrive in the mail now haha.

    Away From The Blue Blog

    1. Thanks!
      I am glad you like the combo. WE both blog for similar reasons, and that is affirming.
      Good for you too be done with the shopping… I am almost done!
      Much love, Elle

  6. I love the holiday season, the season of giving indeed. It’s not always easy to be jolly when the world is in such turmoil and disarray but positive thinking helps Your outfit is charming and marvellous! Leopard is my favourite. <3 /Madison

  7. Superficial as this may sound, Elle, I think it’s particularly important for us to live life a little in such times. To make more memories with those whom we love xoxo

    p/s you look so absolutely exquisite

  8. Very lovely and thoughtful post Elle. i suffer from anxiety, and i have found the state of society very overwhelming at times. I appreciate the idea of focusing on the good and family this time of year. A beautiful look, love the pictures, with the stain glass and what a beautiful ceiling ( i love ornate ceilings). wishing you the best, i love the lace and leopard on you.
    jess xx

    1. I am sorry about the anxiety, but I do think that nowadays, if you are not anxious, you are mot paying attention! We all cope as best as we can. I wish you a beautiful holiday season, and all the best!
      Xoxo, Elle

  9. I don’t know what’s going on, I am still not receiving the feed on my inbox like before… 🙁 So I came here because I KNEW there was a post, of course, but just didn’t know it was from last week 🙁 Anyway, I loved your outfit for the work party. I loved the dress, the boots (Sam Edelman, great), the necklace to remember your dear friend, the new cobalt color for nails and especially, the flower that makes you feel connected to your mother… I know how it is… I also do that… yes, we have to be brave not to hate… difficult times indeed. You look wonderful, dear Elle, on the inside and on the outside! Merry Christmas!

    1. Hello Denise! I changed platforms and sent a notice through my old subscribing company to alert readers of the change. I am sorry you did not see it. If you would,could you re- subscribe since I am on WordPress now, that would be great! Unfortunately there was no way to make this change seamlessly.
      Yes, you are right, we need to be brave and our very best selves at these crucial times.
      Thank you for your lovely words! I wish you a happy and merry season !
      Xoox, Elle

  10. I was sure I had commented. I didn’t. Love the dress, the leopard boots (nice touch) and the flower of your mother was a very creative move. Kudos.
    I love the outfit with coat because of the contrast. I give it an A+.

    1. I am very pleased you like it Greetje ! I was definitely feeling sentimental…I also liked the contrast..but that is me- always keeping it interesting!
      Xoxo, Elle

  11. OMG I know, I already had forgotten about this until now as there is so much going on I can not absorb it all. Just too much. But your look is great and inspiring me. I have a white lace dress. I want to style it like this now! And yes the ceiling is fabulous.

    Allie of ALLIENYC

    1. I agree, it does seem of late that there is so much going on! I know white lace is not an obvious choice for the holiday season, maybe that I why I like it…always a blank slate..the decor… fabulous..right?,
      Xoox, Elle

  12. “A willingness to not hate..” is something that touched me deeply, as your writing always does! I do believe that it’s the key, the first step to embrace life in its fullness, the willingness to not hate, which grows into forgiveness and love. You are a magical person, Elle – with truly magical heart.

    This outfit is just fantastic! I love the lace dress with this gorgeous coat (which I remember seeing and loving before and so happy to see again!), and all the artful details, your Mom’s flower, your friend’s purse worn as a necklace (!) – who’d think of it, only you!! Love your ring, such a beautiful creation, and unusual, as you are!

    And of course the room is magical – it suits you so well, I think you need to decorate your home in such flowers! <3 <3 <3

    1. Thanks for being of the same mind, that is lovely to hear, and I know how big your heart is!
      Love the idea of a papering a room is this fabulous floral– but my hubby would not be too keen..
      much love, Elle

  13. Goodness! In *your* mind this outfit may be formulaic, but trust me, it’s anything but! It’s a stunning blend of old and new, lace and sentiment (and was there any chocolate left in that bag??), soft and quirkiness. Really beautiful and thoughtful.

    I hope you had an evening as magical as your outfit.


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