Thursday, July 23, 2009


It's been a glamourous week, what with meeting The Sartorialist on Wednesday downtown at Holt Renfew and Kevin and Susan's wedding this weekend at One King West, and it has me thinking about beauty.

Recently I've been poking around design blogs, both for fashion and home decor, such as Lookbook, Apartment Therapy, and Etsy. What hooks me is the visual intrigue: a textured scarf, the smooth edge of a coffee table, the classic colour red. Seeing The Sartorialist face-to-face, however, made me question a few things about beauty. Surrounded by a crowd of 20-somethings, most of whom were overdressed and preening themselves in obvious attempts to be "discovered" by him and featured on his fashion blog (admittedly, I did fantasize Scott Schumann dropping the pen midway through signing his autograph, holding out a hand and whispering, "Hold it. Hold it right there...", whipping out his camera and photographing me in my drab office attire), he was shorter than I thought he would be, wore a wrinkled dress shirt under his (designer) pinstriped suit, and spent a great deal of time talking about himself. Which, I suppose, was fine considering we had traveled there to bask in all his Newman but it struck me as odd.

Odder still were the VIP Holt's clients who were treated to instant personal greetings by Scott - they squealing in sugar-coated glee, he double-kissing (*mwah, mwah!*) them on each of their stretched, tanned cheeks. These women and, by association, the whole scenario made me feel as if I was having an out of body experience. The sculpted face, the manicured hair, those teeth like rows of Chicklets, the bony shoulders, that designer dress, that patent purse, those goggle sunglasses, those four-inch stilettos... That voice... That laugh... These people pushing up against me to be next to meet him...

I felt like yelling, DO ANY OF YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what I beheld on Wednesday wasn't beautiful. It was fake. Money itself was not the issue. I have a feeling that the extravagance of Susan's wedding on Saturday at a four-star condo hotel will match the elegance of Melissa's wedding at her parents' house last week - the wedding budget of either is of no consequence. The brides are beautiful, and release beauty wherever they are, because they free.

What struck me most about Melissa on her wedding day was not her coiffed golden curls, her vintage birdcage that veiled her azure eyes, or her beaded Spanish inspired gown, but that she laughed. She laughed walking up the aisle. She laughed during the vows. She laughed through the speeches. She laughed during their first dance. She laughed. All. Day. Long. A bright, sparkling, top-up-my-glass-of-champagne-garçon laugh that starts in her belly and rolls right up through her being, tinkling each one of her teeth on the way out like orchestral bells. A laugh that you can't help but laugh along with. Her laugh is an invitation.

And that's gorgeous.

And it's not sold at Holt Renfrew.

This passage from Matthew used to bother me:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?[...] Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?[...] Each day has enough trouble of its own."
before I realized that Jesus was not an ancient sartorialist, imposing his fashion faux-pas on those who wished to live a pious life. His point was don't worry. If his point was to poo-poo creative outfits, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have used lilies as an example of beauty. AND COMPARED THEM TO SOLOMON AND ALL HIS SPLENDOUR.

The equation goes a little something like this in my mind:
Solomon + all his splendour〈 the lilies of the field〈 you when you stop worrying
So stop worrying. Be gorgeous. Take a page from Melissa's book, and laugh at the days to come.

What you feel is what you are
And what you are is beautiful

- "Slide", The Goo Goo Dolls


beth said...

hahahaha - yeah! like I shared on Sunday, I love the woman that can LAUGH at the days to come :)

The wedding was such a testimony of the freedom, joy, and beauty that comes from not worrying...


Jen said...

This post comes at a rather perfect time. We all struggle with society's views of beauty. I am sure that we all have something that we would like to or perhaps have tried to change. My goal for today, after reading your post, is to laugh. A genuine deep belly laugh. To find the beautiful me that God created, not the one that society views as beautiful.

Thank you Sarah!

Lois said...

exactly... the penny drops... nicely done... <3

Seth Kimberley Graham Hunter said...

pooh-pooh would be better. poo-poo is something else entirely.

Mie said...

Jason Mraz has a song called "Remedy" in which the lyrics go "I won't worry my life away, no not today"

in his concerts he all the time encourages people to see the beauty they hold "look into the light and see how awesome you can be" and promotes "not worrying" ("every little thing is gonna be alright")

something we need to hear. He's got a pretty good reach. Go God I say!