While I was in my teens, I despaired over the future of elegance. It seemed that the entire world had begun to strive for a pure utilitarism. It was hard to find anything that had an aspect of beauty and simplicity added to it's function. Luckily the trend quickly faded and more and more people were trying to re instate elegance within their lives. Today, there are considerable options to lead an elegant life without breaking the bank. But what is elegance? Many in the past have considered elegance or tried to define it, as you can see here and here in these quotes. Although defining elegance is trying to capture something that in essence is undefinable, for me these two words are always at the core elegance: beauty and simplicity.
While going all out for Christmas or the holidays, I try to bring a bit of elegance back into my everyday life in small ways. The first and most visible probably is the way I dress. I prefer skirts, or dresses, flowing fabrics, not too much fuss and no big, splashy patterns. Kittens or Mickey on a sweater might be cute, but they rarely spell out 'elegance'. Elegance does not need to be expensive. It is a matter of consciously defining your own style. Look at magazines, look at historic costume and decide what suits you in colour, cut and pattern, then stick to buying these things, even if you find something that is rather sweet but that just does not fit the image that you have chosen for yourself.
Aside from clothes, there are many ways to bring elegance into a home without so overwhelming it with feminity that your husband finds it uncomfortable. Having an entire flower covered sofa might not be your husbands style, but few men object to having a vase or so of real flowers here and there. Maybe the day to day china is a plain white, but adding a candle to the table and some nice napkins immediately makes a difference. Cloth napkins immediately give a special air to your table, but nice paper ones can add a nice touch as well if cloth is too difficult to manage on a day to day basis. Still... consider to make sunday dinner perhaps a touch more special and formal, it can be a treat for your senses and a great oportunity to teach your children.
The way you carry yourself, the things you surround yourself with, the way you look at and aproach day to day situations, the things that fill your free time, all can offer oportunities to add elegance to your life, if you are alert to them.