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Kristin Booker • February 3, 2012

Daily Reflection: Why No Is the Most Stylish Word of All


Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, by Lisa Immordino Vreeland (Abrams, 2011)

“Elegance is innate. It has nothing to do with being well dressed. Elegance is refusal.” – Diana Vreeland

I have to admit that as a big fan of legendary editrix Diana Vreeland, this quote used to irritate me. What did THAT mean? It wasn’t very nice to say something like that. Because I was raised to be a nice girl and I thought “yes” had a nicer ring to it.

Over the years, I’ve learned that this quote is one of the most powerful items ever uttered inside the fashion industry and carried outside of it. Elegance, that state of blissful style and beauty, can only be gained by learning how to say “no.” The word “no” creates a barrier for things, people and situations that will not fit our idea of who we are and the life we wish to manifest.

The lack of understanding of this phrase has gotten me in trouble more times than I care to admit. I’m a born people pleaser. I used to like to say yes to things and watch people’s happy reactions when I do it. However, the sharp sides of this double-edged sword cut me to ribbons numerous times when I browbeat myself by overextending myself and arousing their disappointment.

This is why “no” has become my new favorite word. Don’t take it personally. Actually, do I mind if you do? No, not really. 🙂

The art of perfecting the word “no” is that certain something that really elegant people who seem to have “it” possess. They understand how to politely decline anything that doesn’t benefit them. It might sound self-centered but at the end of the day, you are the only person who can really take care of yourself, so why not exercise the right to refuse anything that doesn’t assist that goal?

“No” has gained me so many more things I want to say yes to that it defies logic. I wish I had known years ago what “no” would do, the infinite power of it. I would have said it way more often. “No” closes the door on people, things and situations that really just don’t fit. “No” has given me a closet of friends (a phrase coined from Diane Von Furstenberg – clothes you love that love you back,) a calendar filled with appointments I really want to keep and a life that feels calm, filled with luxury and beauty and happiness.

Live in elegance. Say yes to yourself. Learn to say no.

Item listed above: Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel, by Lisa Immordino Vreeland (Abrams, 2011) – available via



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