For starters, that’s not necessarily what this blog is about, but rather the title of one of three books I’ve had my nose in this summer. Written by fellow Nashvillian (did I just say that?), Jordan Christy, the book covers “the art of living with Style, Class and Grace”. Now granted, as I continue on this journey called life – I’ve always wanted to say something so cliche like that! – I don’t necessarily need a book about class & grace…it kind of comes with learning how to walk in biblical womanhood (Thanks, Jesus!). Nonetheless, I am a huge Audrey Hepburn fan in terms of style, class and grace, so I picked up this book as a fun, quirky summer read.
As I said before, you don’t necessarily need a book on class if you’re a Christian woman choosing to live out biblical womanhood each day. The majority of this book was common sense. I was actually slightly disappointed about the waste of paper; and haven’t felt such ways since Steve Harvey wrote “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”. So. Much. Paper. dedicated to Simple. Common. Sense.
In my opinion, Christy’s view of Style, Class and Grace was quite rigid. Aside from common sense that most of us should learn by age 13, the book was wrapped up in two things that I’ll focus on in this post, and that’s Vanity and Pride.
The Cost of Style, Class and Grace – Throughout the book Christy gave advice along the lines of, depending on your specific style (Trendsetter, Sporty, Classic, Rock n Roll, Sweet/Elegant or Bohemian), the must have brands in your closet to become a woman of Style, Class and Grace include J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, Anthropologie and Diane von Furstenberg. That is, if you’re wanting to “save” money, you should resort to stores like Urban Outfitters and Banana Republic. Before I go further, there is nothing wrong with these stores and nothing wrong if your budget allows you to shop these brands without so much as a thought to balancing your checkbook (not that any of us use checks anymore, but you get my point). However, the way Christy writes is rigid. First, anyone who knows me, knows that I’m pretty much the queen of making it rain $20 at the Goodwill (especially on the 1st Saturday of the month!). Furthermore, and I say this in the most non-boastful way, I always, ALWAYS get compliments on my Goodwill clothes…then smile on the inside knowing I spent $14.75 on several ‘new’ outfits! Second, you can buy clothes at J.Crew and still lack Style, Class and Grace. It is not what you wear, but how you wear it and why you wear it! Putting on Jimmy Choo’s (yeah, those were mentioned, too, along with Louboutins…) does not make you any more classy as sitting down and playing a cello makes you into the next YoYo Ma. You can still look (or in the case of the cello, sound) like a hot mess; and not just on the outside, but on the inside, which leads me to my next critique: Pride.
The Attitude of Style, Class and Grace – Rule #1 of Womanhood: Do not tear down other women to make ourselves look/feel better. As a Christian woman, it’d be distasteful for me to look down on a nonbeliever to prove a point about the fruit that’s bearing in my life. It’s kind of like the difference between church discipline and evangelical effort. Let me explain; if a person professes to be a Christian, but has unrepentant sin, we use church discipline (i.e. 2 Timothy 4:2 is a good example of this) to guide them back. However, if a nonbeliever is living in sin, we use Scripture as a tool of evangelism, not discipline – have you ever tried to tell someone who’s Agnostic that they’re sinning against God?…You know, the God that they may or may not believe in? Ineffective, right? You got your feelings hurt and are now headed to sign up for a class on Apologetics, right? Mmhmm…Likewise, we, as true ladies of Style, Class and Grace do not use what we know about being a ‘Hepburn’ to ‘correct, rebuke and encourage’ (2 Timothy reference again) the ‘Kim Kardashians’ and ‘Lindsey Lohans’ of our generation, but should probably take a “Go therefore…” (Matthew 28:19) approach. I’m merely using these as examples or analogies, so before you start saying that’s sacrilegious….let me explain. I think it’s important to take what we know about Style, Class and Grace and make friends (or disciples….Matthew 28:19) with the, for lack of a better term, ratchet ladies of our generation. Beyonce lied; you did not wake up with Style, Class and Grace…someone taught you, and I’m assuming in a non-arrogant, friendly way. Bashing another woman because they lack Style, Class and Grace does not just throw them under the bus, but merely shows how much you lack the same qualities on the inside.
You can be dressed like an Audrey with prideful and arrogant motives. Where’s your heart in the way you dress – be it in a short skirt or a business suit? A bikini or a one-piece (Cause y’all know that’s a debate in the church…)? Leggings with an oversized shirt or a little black dress? Are you looking for applause from people (*cough* Galatians 1:10)? Or have you really had a change of heart?
So, maybe I thought too much into Jordan Christy’s tone as she wrote this book. She may indeed be Lindsey Lohan’s mentor and does not merely bash ‘stupid girls’ in her book. But, since we all have been born in sin, I think at one point, we all lacked Style, Class and Grace….but someone was there to gently show us how to be women; without judgment, without sarcasm and without an ego….and probably on a budget! But she was sincere, intentional and exemplified grace.
Until next time…