La dolce vita, the sweet life as emulated by the Italian way of life, is to enjoy the everyday pleasure of living. To most of us, who don't live in Italy, such a notion seem like a luxury with an expensive price tag only to be experienced temporarily while vacationing in Italy, or it is of something dreamy in the future, to be lived when that dream mansion is acquired. But does the sweet life really naturally ensue only after the bank account is flushed with millions? As evidenced by one of the most outrageous phenomenon of the twenty-first century - the explosive birth of the ultra nouveau-riche, the sweet life doesn't ensue wealth. In fact, without the cultivation of good taste and elegance, big money will likely buy you big hideosity. The ability to purchase surely doesn't equal the ability to live beautifully.
The sweet life is yours to live right here and right now, in your twenties, thirties, and for the rest of your life. We face all kinds of choices everyday. What differentiates a stylish person from the rest is that, he or she chooses to do everything beautifully. It's that simple. You can eat a meal senselessly just to put food in your mouth, or you can light up a candle, enjoy your food, pour a glass of wine and pair it with an interesting conversation. In everything that you do, you can choose to do it without flare, or you can slow down, savour it, and amplify the experience with beauty. It could be a meal, a bike ride, or an afternoon stroll. Yes, in everything, you can choose the sweet life over the for-survival-only life. It may sound like an efficiency-crippling task to some people (the industrially-driven products of society), but it really is a habit that can be picked up, and this habit, once manifested, will stay with you. This habit will shape the way you live. This habit is the secret to la dolce vita.
Some Tips to consider at different stages:
In Your Twenties - celebrate what you don't have. Take dining or entertaining for example. You may think that you don't have the budget to buy designer plates and cutleries. Therefore, you have to wait 'til your thirties to begin your life as a hostess with the mostess. Not true! Be creative, mix and match fun vintage finds. Use wine or beverage bottles as your vases. Celebrate, or even showcase, the opportunity of having to do with little. The outcome can sometimes charmingly outshine one's abundance in resources.
In Your Thirties - streamline your personal style. If you are not a style prodigy like Yves Saint Laurent, you probably went through many style mistakes in your twenties. By thirty, you should have a better idea of what your personal flare and likings are. Invest in a few good pieces that will showcase your personal style. For example, invest in a good set of dinnerware and cutlery. Focus on developing one thing that you will be really good at in terms of style. For example, if you know you love "dressing up in style" over "entertaining in style," be an expert at it. I am lucky that I have a friend to go to for advice for different things. It's only fair in a circle of friends to be a contributor of something rather than being the receiver all the time. Plus, why wouldn't you want to be really good at one thing? How do you know when you are an expert? When people come to you for advice!
In Your Forties and onwards - be a collector in your own right. By then you are probably an expert of your personal style. You know exactly what makes life that much sweeter for you. Embrace this expertise you have developed over the years, and feel confident when splurging on things that will bring real value, or the other way around. Embrace your confidence when deciding not to buy the "it" luxury item, because you know yourself all too well to follow trends.
"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." - Coco Chanel