Deanna Littell's Charm School


In Editor's Desk on February 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm

To help along cupids arrow, gentlemen, let’s turn to older times when life was more charming, manners more elegant & poetry a common means of communication. This is the perfect time of year to polish up your manners (see Art of Manliness in the reading assignment below) & try to impress. Even try your hand at poetry (see reading assignment).

Scott Schuman, the Sartorialist blogger is trying to get his in order-see his post of Feb 1st. This charming post was followed by tons of reader responses. We all want more manners in our man.  Style & grace are high up there with charm.

If you’re ready for a Masters Degree, it can be found in The Book Of The Courtier–a guide to courtly conduct. Try to cultivate some sprezzatura, a virtue much prized in Renaissance courtiers-a kind of nonchalance regarding one’s behavior. Everything that is done or said must appear effortless-cue Cary Grant-I think it’s his turn as “Master of Charm.”

For A Perfect Valentine’s Day:

In keeping with the “Courtly Love” theme, take her to see the Drawings Of Bronzino at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Be treated to several of the most extraordinary drawings of the past 400 years. Afterwards, get home in time to listen to the “Lovely Love Songs” concert on WQXR- 105.9 FM @ 4:00PM by Asteria-Songs about “Courtly Love”. Afterwards cook up lovely dinner: Oysters (of course), lobster ravioli, and strawberries & creme fraiche-Pink Champagne flowing throughout.

Or: get tickets for “As You Like It” @ BAM . The New York Observer proclaimed it, a charming & romantic play. Chances are there’s a fitting quote-“Unto you I give myself for I am yours”, for example,which you can inscribe on a lovely card-red with gold ink- and put in it’s matching envelope with the tickets. Dinner will have to be early to get to Brooklyn in time. Try the above menu during the “Lovely Love Songs” concert on WQXR. Take any leftover Pink Champagne with you in the car.

Or: stay in bed all day & read poetry-soooo…. charming. Order in a snack (blinis & salmon roe) & have a bottle of Pink Champagne on ice.  See “Love Poems” below.

Some Charming Gift Ideas: Aiming high? Try for Van Cleef & Arpels “Midnight in Paris Watch” for him-revealing the exact position of the stars in the sky of Paris at midnight. If this seems over-budget, tell him he can put it on his “Wish List”

On your “Wish List”, how about those great SMYTHSON notebooks-“With Love & Kisses” $50, “Forget Me Not” $50, J’Adore $67. He’ll appreciate your thriftiness.

Or, for a Valentine’s Charm: check out my web-site :

Both Ladies & Gentleman can take a tip from Ivanka Trump in her new book, THE TRUMP CARD, ” Be charming, but be yourself.”

Ladies: to make sure he reads this, press on the “forward” button.




The Art of Manliness by Brett McKay, Kate McKay

The Book of the Courtier by Conte Baldassaire Castiglione

Twenty Love Poems & a Story of Despair-a charming red-covered slim volume by Pablo Neruda

  1. What a WONDERFULLY full, exciting, and inspiring list! Thank you for these ideas and superb tips.. delightfully and beautifully executed..

  2. I love this post, such a great variety of interests I will be for sure to check out!

    Thank you Deanna 🙂

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