Glamour Has a Place in White House and Your House

Glamour Has a Place in White House and Your House

By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News

The press in recent weeks was on a Sherlock Holmes-worthy trail in search of first lady Melania Trump, who wasn’t seen in public for nearly a month after undergoing what the White House described as surgery for a benign kidney condition.

That changed June 4, with the first lady’s appearance at a private White House function.

During the weeks she was “missing,” America — or at least the media — went gaga, suggesting a variety of reasons for her disappearance, none of which seemed to be based in reality.

I was struck that not only was the first lady nowhere to be seen but also notably missing was the touch of glamour she brings to the White House and just about anywhere she appears.

Melania Trump has unmistakable glamour. She always appears in style, thanks to her wardrobe and the way she wears it — a big white hat, her powder blue stylish suit on Inauguration Day, her shimmering evening gown during the state dinner for the French president, her Casablanca trench coat, her eyeglasses. There is a cool femininity about her that the world finds intriguing.

Melania Trump has spent a lifetime attending to personal details about her look, as did folks like Cary Grant and another first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy. The world watched these style-setters just as they are watching Melania.

It does seem that we have to look a little harder for glamour — at least formal glamour — these days. Gone, as of last month, is the crisply white-suited author Tom Wolfe. Gone is the classic beauty of Ingrid Bergman and the Adolfo style of first lady Nancy Reagan.

Glamour in home decorating — and in the decorating of hotels and restaurants — is often harder to find as well. There are few glamorous eateries in New York. Perhaps La Grenouille is one of the last bastions of classic style where damask, murals, flowers and black-tie-clad waiters still can be found. Not so with those glamorous nightclubs, where a 12-piece orchestra played all night and silver Champagne coolers were placed at every starched-white-cloth-draped table.

Our culture has moved on, adopting a much less formal attitude — and perhaps that is the way it is meant to be. But less care typically means less glamour. I do long for the world of the beautifully appointed bed, with all those crisp white sheets, pillowcases and comforters. I love a house filled with fresh-cut flowers. I love a dining room with silver candelabra polished to the nines. I love a home filled with color and comfort. I love a party where gentlemen and ladies are black-tied and sparkling. Today’s black-tie-with-denim events just do not sing to me of glamour.

This week, the first lady attended the Ford’s Theatre annual gala in Washington, where she paid tribute to President Abraham Lincoln’s legacy. Her hair was impeccably groomed, her makeup flawless and her floor-length Escada gown striking. Back on the scene, she was the very picture of glamour.


  • Carrie Cederholm on

    Yes, yes well said!
    As a baby boomer I adored watching the movies of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Of course we had Audrey Hepburn in the 1960’s but really no other actress had that true style.
    As for our home, a nice fairly sized apartment – visitors comment that it looks like a home not just an apartment. “Real furniture” collected over 4 decades with family and personal treasures. Every meal is eaten on an antique tea table with real china, crystal and cloth napkins in napkin rings.

  • Brazilliance Man on

    Well said! Having been an antique dealer and floral designer for many years, I couldn’t agree more.
    Loving all the details of an impecibly set Victorian table, to big colorful bouquets of flowers, to the beauty of design in antiques in decor and dress. It’s ironic that you wrote about this topic Carleton. I was just talking with my daughter this week regarding this. As you know we are frequent guests at the Grand. My daughter Chloe and I were talking and said it is utterly refreshing there are still a few places like the Grand that one must dress for the occasion in the evening. Having them require gentleman in jacket and tie and ladies in dress attire making the evening so much more special an event. How exciting it is to see ladies with beautiful hats and dresses and men looking distinguished in there pressed suit and tie, and even the kids in their best dress (and behavior). Those things create memories dear to the heart, cherished forever of a bygone era of class that I too hope someday will return. Casual dress, casual living. Doesn’t it leave a void in one’s life of those who haven’t seen the world of finery and color?
    My hat is tipped to you Mr. Varney for bringing the world of color and style to so many.

  • Lou Barone on

    I’m with you 100%. Lou

  • Marc ONeill on

    What a fine inspiring article ! Thanka so much for writing it

    I will be at the Grand in a couple of weeks:)

  • Jackie Kane on

    Spot on article! Those of us who appreciate a life of style in our homes, selves and surroundings understand what it adds to life and our experiences. How preferences are changing to basic and casual “everything” is difficult to understand, especially when you know the Joy that living life, celebrating beauty and the smallest of holidays with an appreciation for details and formalities brings. It is particularly sad to know there is an upcoming generation who has not even experienced the difference to decide which way of life would feel like the best experience. I can only hope this will go full circle where a renewed appreciation for beauty, color (all is not Grey people!!), dressing up, setting an elegant table, celebrating even the little things in grande style…. and before you think it is limited by money, that is not true. The grandest style can be created on a small scale with simple elegance. I could go on and on…. hopefully those who don’t get it will come to know what they’re been missing and be part of a resurgence in getting back to Timeless Style & Elegance in our lives.
    Carlton, keep on inspiring the world with your wonderful use of Colors and Timeless Design! Everyone else, Experience the Happiness!

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