When I had the opportunity to interview $100 Makeover’s Leslie Segrete, I immediately asked her about a topic that’s been on my mind lately: everyday elegance. Whether it’s true or not, I have the impression that my grandmother used to entertain in refined style on a regular basis. I have visions of her serving hors d’oeuvres to unexpected guests on her prettiest silver and china. Even on my most together day, this just doesn’t happen in my house.
Part of me feels that’s a good thing. Most of us depend on items that are durable and low-maintenance– even disposable, and today’s complicated lifestyle just wouldn’t be possible without them. But is there a way to bring that sense of specialness back into our day-to-day?
Leslie was adamant that china, silver, and crystal shouldn’t be relegated to annual holiday appearances. She joked, “There’s nothing wrong with occasionally using those items.” Naturally, maintenance is a concern, but you don’t have to deck out your table like you’re entertaining the Pope. Consider breaking out your wedding china once a month– maybe Sunday lunch or Friday supper– whatever is special for your family. Or polish up an old silver pitcher and use it for your water or iced tea. Or, Leslie suggested, use a pretty tea cup in the mornings instead of a utilitarian coffee mug. We may never return to the days when people “dressed” for dinner (and honestly, we probably wouldn’t want to), but we can integrate elegant pieces back into our lives a bit at a time. And maybe by doing so, mealtime can become a brief haven from today’s hectic pace. Maybe.
And what if you’ve accumulated a mish-mash of fine tabletop over the years– lots of great stuff from many different patterns and styles? Consider using them all together, which creates an eclectic effect that feels thoroughly modern. If you’d like to cultivate this kind of collection, Leslie recommends browsing your local flea market or shopping Etsy, Ebay, and Replacements.
Happy hunting and remember to watch Leslie Segrete on A&E’s $100 Makeover, Saturdays at 10 AM Eastern/ Pacific!
Lucie Amberg is also a contributor to Powder Room Graffiti.