Letitia Baldrige on Taste

Attending a dinner party in Washington, DC can be eventful especially if the host likes to ask the dreaded ice breaker question.

Let me explain.

Living and working in DC, you learn pretty quickly that you never want to reveal too much to total strangers because you never know who they know. For one evening’s icebreaker we were asked to describe our dream job in the White House and I said, “Hands down, I would be a Social Secretary on par with LETITIA BALDRIGE”.

Yep, that’s me. I swing for the fences.

Thinking very little of my answer or the guarded discussions with my table mates that evening, the next day I followed up with handwritten notes to everyone I’d met. To my surprise one gentleman asked if I would put the story that I’d told him about Ms. Baldrige in writing for him.

I thought it was an odd request, but he was super nice, so I did it, and it turns out he was Ms. Baldrige’s best friend!

A few days later, I received a beautiful box of autographed books with a handwritten note (on Cartier stationery) from Ms. Baldrige. I was over the moon! And I was grateful to my mom for teaching us to always say thank you in writing.

Taste, class and good manners have nothing to do with money and, as I learned, you never know where practicing good manners will lead. But don’t take my word for it, here’s Ms. Baldrige on the subject of taste…

“Good taste is synonymous with success in all fields of life. It’s not a question of money, but of a trained eye.”

“I’ve always noticed that women in the public eye who have taste have fewer things in their closets than the wannabes striving to get on the Best Dressed List.”

“My own take on taste is that the underlying key to a person’s taste is his or her character. A man or a woman can be known and respected for good taste, regardless of job or income level if they make good choices in clothes, have good table manners, are kind and organize their home to look warm, welcoming, clean and appropriate to their station in life.”

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