Many people have different ideas on what it means to be classy and confident- I believe it’s a combination of two things: the sophisticated nature of elegance and the traditional sense of etiquette, that presents us to be classy beings that radiate confidence. Coming across as classy has little, in fact nothing, to do with wealth, status, appearance and superiority but everything to do with behaviour, attitude and confidence. It’s all about self-awareness, and being confident in the way that you conduct yourself and present yourself to others. Being classy is an easy thing to practice once the two areas (etiquette & elegance) are broken down into pointers, that we may already be conscious of, but may not be used to practicing day by day.
Etiquette is the practice of good manners and politeness- something that seems so simple, but is actually something we all lack to a certain extent. The reason why? Because etiquette seems to be something that evolves with the times and frankly, we tend to get lazy as time goes on. Etiquette is mostly about considering the effects that our words and actions have on others, and doing whatever we can to make sure that these are all positive. Whilst some may think the practice of etiquette is rather old-fashioned, there are ways to update these practices and implement them into modern day.
SIMPLE WAYS TO PRACTICE GOOD ETIQUETTE
- Be present in the moment. Set aside your phone when you’re in the company of others, it’s just rude not to do so. You don’t need to be checking your messages or social media when you’re sitting at a dinner table with other people, this just signifies that you’re uninterested and lack social skills. Engage with people whilst you have their time, company and attention- you have the rest of the day and night to text and scroll until your heart is content.
- Communicate. Whether you’re running late, have to cancel or have some other inconvenience that’s prohibiting you from making it to a set plan, communicate to people (with enough time in advance) of your circumstances so they can make necessary adjustments to their time. It’s simply inconsiderate if you don’t do so, and only indicates that you don’t care for the others persons time (this one is definitely my pet peeve). Sending a text or email with a sincere apology the minute you realise you’re running short on time is always appreciated more than waiting around for people.
- Be Private. Keep personal and/or sensitive issues relating to you, and (most importantly) others, off of the internet. This isn’t saying don’t discuss these things with your close friends, of course do that in private, but the whole world doesn’t need to know about the privacies of your life (nor do you want to know about others, I’m sure). Please also see; talking louder than necessary, speaking loudly on the phone on public transport, and playing excessively loud music.
- Remember the basics. I’m talking the classic basics such as; no talking with your mouthful and other table manners, saying excuse me when you bump into someone, saying please and thank you when necessary, not leaving doors, cupboards and drawers open when they’ve been left shut, dressing appropriately according to the dress code, knowing your order before you get to the front of the queue and of course, being polite and patient with all waiting staff/customer service/retail employees in that same way that you would be to anyone else.
A lot of things can be considered elegant; a meal, a dancer, an animal, literature and of course, a person. Elegance is not something that can be bought, but also isn’t something we should expect to come naturally- some people have it and some don’t, but that doesn’t mean we cant practice. I perceive elegance to be an instilled sense confidence within oneself; A woman with elegance has great presence, and turns heads the minute she walks into a room- simply because her energy is so engaging. She is poised, sincere, undoubtedly comfortable in who she is- and most importantly, she leaves a lasting impression on those who meet her. Elegance has nothing to do with what you have, what you can offer and what you can flaunt; a truly elegant person could wear a burlap sack and still exudes confidence and class.
SIMPLE WAYS TO APPEAR ELEGANT
- Hold Eye Contact. Don’t shy away from holding someone’s gaze and eye-contact during conversation. Eye contact is essential in conversation as it indicates that you’re listening, understanding and engaged in conversation with the other person. Would you want to speak to someone who doesn’t seem interested in talking to you? Originally, I felt a bit awkward on this one and couldn’t hold eye contact with anyone for more than five seconds before looking over their shoulder; It’s definitely a skill that takes a while to practice and be comfortable with.
- Culture. It doesn’t take a genius, world traveller, linguist or history buff to be cultured- but culture sure is a key secret to elegance and class. Having a sense of culture doesn’t have to be something that you flaunt in every conversation you have, but it is certainly a skill that will allow you to be able to converse with people from all walks of life- which I believe is an essential aspect to elegance.
- Movement. I believe the way in which one moves around, can tell you a lot about an individual. Movement is one of the most crucial aspects to elegance, but I’m definitely not about to tell you how to walk, sit and stand. Whilst I find confidence in walking with my shoulders back, neck long and head held high, others may find confidence in casual strolling and sitting comfortably. Movement is all about the message you want to portray about yourself, through the way that you move around or even stay still; this may or may not be something you’ve even given second thoughts to before reading this.
- Self care. I believe anyone who appears to be well kept and manicured is elegant in their own way; whether that means putting effort into your hair, makeup, outfit coordination, nails, skincare, diet, physical health…. the list is literally endless. Of course, it’s no-one’s business how many of these aspects you seem to have perfected and paid close attention to, but whether we want to admit it or not, we always notice when someone has put in that little extra effort and attention into themselves.
Read Here: 25 Ways To Practice Self Love & Care
Whilst there’s a general consensus on good etiquette and mannerisms, everyone seems to have their own idea for what constitutes as elegance and what elegance means when applied to who they are. What does class and elegance mean to you?