Skip to main content

Discover Lafayette with Melanie Jarrell

Aug 31, 2018 11:44AM ● By Jan Swift

Cultivating an enjoyable and purpose-filled life is an exquisite journey possible for each of us, explains Melanie Jarrell, author of Refinement of Manner: Manners, Etiquette & Elegance for the Twenty-First Century Woman.

In a recent podcast interview of Discover Lafayette (, Melanie discusses the important influence that her grandmother, born of French parents, played in her life as a young girl growing up in Lafayette.  As the hostess of many events of a social and political nature, Melanie’s grandmother exemplified the do’s and don’ts of French protocol and modeled the behavior of formal etiquette to be followed in a public setting.

Reminiscing with delight as she recalled her memories of her grandmother’s closet and bedroom, and the exquisite scents of fine French perfume which always lingered in the air, Melanie provides an inspirational account of her love of French mannerisms and the culture’s focus on slowing down and savoring the delectable experiences in life. Quality over quantity is of utmost importance. Purposeful and thoughtful choices precede action, whether it is setting a beautiful and functional table for guests or selecting a suitable outfit as one prepares to go out to meet the world.  

Lessons learned through her own experiences led Melanie to understand that slowing down and adopting a “less is more” attitude underlies the European way of life and leads one to instinctively refine one’s manner and edit down selectively to enjoy what is truly important in life. Clutter and unnecessary possessions are to be discarded to allow room for those things that are a source of happiness. Of utmost importance to the modern woman are maintaining one’s integrity, respecting and showing kindness to others, and being a good citizen, all of which are truly priceless. The bonus of adopting this way of life is to experience the joie de vivre for which the French are famously known!

Refinement of Manner took shape as Melanie began to compile her experience on the subject while spending her summers in Paris.  Over several years, she wrote memoirs on her French upbringing, researched all the well-known “subject matter experts” such as Amy Vanderbilt, Emily Post, Judith Martin, Lillian Eichler, and Letitia Baldridge for their particular rules of etiquette, and read scores of biographies of women of rank and social status. She claims a robust library of first-edition etiquette books and searches for that obscure, unknown author to add insight into the lifestyle of the refined woman. However, in the end, Melanie Jarrell developed her own unique twenty-first century class of etiquette she calls “Refinement” that provides an inspirational guide for today’s woman.

In addition to the traditional etiquette rules, Melanie encourages the reader to go inward, reaching in to determine your personal mission statement. The accomplishment of the impossible is possible when you dig deep, focus on the few things that matter to you, and quit wasting time on the frivolous things which won’t matter a year from now or 50 years from now.

Melanie Jarrell exemplifies the exquisite qualities of which she writes and has been an inspirational force in my life. I encourage you to invest in yourself and read Refinement of Manner if you are ready to begin an adventurous, intentional personal development journey. Available on Amazon in eBook, Audible, and Hardcover.

Please visit to listen to this podcast episode.  While there, subscribe to receive weekly episodes on your iPhone or Android device.

Jan Swift is
host of Discover Lafayette, an audio podcast focused on the people and rich culture of Lafayette, the Gateway to South Louisiana. An attorney experienced in government and commercial law, she is affiliated with Swift & Rhoades, LLP.