A follow-up to this post.
Being lazy was not a vice in the nineteenth century, it was something to aspire to. Being lazy meant not having to work, and meant having a lot of money. A lot of time and care was invested to make sure all clothes were spotless and creaseless, because this would show physical activity. “A tear is a misfortune, a spot is a vice, wrote Balzac.” The fact that clothing took much time and care to put on showed that you had enough time to waste on clothing yourself, and did not have to spend it on more useful activities. This is why dandies often showed really elaborate knots in their ties: they showed that they had just spend an hour in front of the mirror!
On the other hand, simplicity was valued. “Too much is not comme il faut.” (p. 128) In dress, hair, and behaviour, it was important to avoid overdoing it, because it would make it look like you were trying to hard. The true upper classes were supposed to have natural grace and good taste, and therefore didn’t have to try, or overdo it. The ladies of real aristocratic families “can go out in the simplest of dress without being mistaken for anyone else. Even the most obtuse boor could not fail to recognize them, because they are never taken for what they are not.” (p. 129)