Amy Alkon, a good friend of Jack & Hill (that's her at right, in a photo I snapped in Paris a few months ago), links to this Wall Street Journal piece on the effort it takes to look good. Money quote:
Only in America do we think that beauty is a purely natural attribute rather than a type of artistry requiring effort. Look at the French: They are no more beautiful as a people than we Americans, but they understand that every woman can be attractive--if not beautiful--if she chooses to be. Yes, we are given forms by nature, but how we choose to present them is a matter of our own discretion. Few people are blessed by nature and circumstance with the Golden Mean proportions that seem to be universally appreciated. Thus, in the end, it is more democratic to think of beauty or attractiveness as an attribute that one can acquire, like speaking a foreign language or cooking well. To see beauty as a capacity like any other--the product of educated taste and daily discipline--is to see it as something chosen: to be possessed or left aside, according to one's preference.