You don’t need to wear designer clothes or possess a lot of money to look and be classy. Class is what comes from the inside. It is your actions, reactions, facial expressions, ability to take a compliment, decline an invitation and overall how you carry yourself throughout life. I’ve met many women who are brash, rough around the edges and often just downright rude and unladylike. On the other hand I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many women who are polite, kind, helpful, are respectful of others, have pleasant facial expressions and accept a compliment graciously. These rare breeds of women have simply made the decision to be elegant and ladylike, with or without money. Today I want to share 12 things that every lady should know so you can start implementing them in your daily life.
1. Smile More Often-The warmth and softness of a smile makes us more approachable and it instantly makes us more attractive to everyone we come in contact with. Smiling puts others at ease creating a more pleasant environment for those around us and keeps our own spirits up too, no matter what life is throwing at us each day! Our facial expressions are something that we need to be mindful of as it’s easy to forget what our face is doing while we focus on a stressful task at hand. If you need to, set alarm reminders on your phone. This is a great time to take a moment to sit up straight for better posture and blood flow, meditate on a few things you’re grateful for which will naturally cause you to smile (even if it’s just to yourself). Don’t be surprised if this practice makes you feel more joy!
2. Learn how to Receive a Compliment- Too many women shrug off another person’s well meaning compliment about their professional or personal accomplishments, their outer beauty, their outfit that day, their well kept home and the list goes on. They do this with an “it’s no big deal” OR “this old thing?” reply and attitude. You work hard every day and commit yourself just like Hollywood celebrities do but they accept their Oscars and Emmy Awards for all of their dedication and accomplishment, you should have the confidence to do the same. Smile, politely say thank you and just feel good about yourself in that moment and how the other person has just made you feel. When a compliment is not received well it’s almost offensive to the person giving it.
3. Don’t Become a Fishwife- If you haven’t heard the expression, I’ll fill you in. The fishwife is the woman who yells for her husband at dinner, nags him to get things done around the house, screams at her kids and rants until everyone and everything is in order. This is so unappealing and will repel those around you. Replace anger, yelling, frustration and rage with softness, kindness, patience and grace. Calmly ask your children, spouse or friends to do something for you in a polite tone. I’m not suggesting you fake who you are but simply move in a direction that exudes class and respect for those around you.
4. Answer the Phone in a Polite Manner- When you pick up the phone, answer it like you would if a celebrity hunk was calling. Be polite and simply say “Good afternoon, Jane Smith speaking”. You have greeted the person on the other end and let them know who is speaking. Nobody enjoys hearing “Hello?!” in an exasperated tone or one that tells the caller “you called at a bad time, what do you want?” If it is truly a bad time, simply do not answer the phone. Let your voicemail catch it and call them back at a more suitable time. You might be liable to say something you wouldn’t otherwise and will likely regret it later.
5. Profanity is a No-No. Classy women refrain from cursing and sounding like a drunken sailor, it just comes across as crass. It lacks tact and is such a turn off to everyone in your company, especially men. Instead, a lady prefers so use a creative vocabulary or remains quiet. For example: Someone cuts you off in a parking lot and nearly causes a huge accident. Don’t stick your head out the window and say “What the *%$# were you thinking?!” and flip your middle finger, rather keep your anger to yourself. No matter how mad you are or how panicked you feel, don’t lose your temper and cuss. Not only is this not lady-like (nor is it gentlemanly), if you happen to have your children in the car, they might be likely to emulate you and repeat it.
6. Don’t Become Intoxicated- Celebrating among friends, family or colleagues with a champagne flute of bubbles isn’t a sin, unless you cannot handle your alcohol. Getting drunk at a party proceeded by dancing on the table is not becoming of a lady. You won’t like what people say about you or the photos and videos that may have been captured of you in the moment that could possibly end up been posted on social media. It isn’t a good look and it’s not worth the embarrassment. Classy women know their limits, drink within them and choose to sip on sparkling water thereafter so they can continue to mingle with the crowd without causing a scene or worse- an accident on the way home!
7. Ace your Appearance. No matter where you’re headed, always make it a point to put your best foot forward maintaining a presentable appearance. You don’t need to own expensive designer clothing to be a classy woman, it simply involves taking pride in what you already own. If your clothes have threads hanging, a stain you couldn’t get out or a hem that has come loose on one pant leg, it is obvious that you lack the pride in your appearance that others take. Always wear clean clothes, freshly pressed if wrinkled, free from hanging threads, rips, stains, pilling or fading. Instead, neatly put together an outfit that you know looks good on your figure along with a pair of pearl earrings and a few natural-looking basics such as a coat of mascara, a neutral shade of lipstick (or gloss), and a bit of blush and/or bronzer to complete your ladylike look.
8. Speak Eloquently- There is no need to use slang unless you’re goofing around with friends and not looking to be taken seriously. Learn the English language properly and try your best to use it and your most polished vocabulary daily. You are an educated woman, so let your words exude that. Form your words fully. Accent or no accent, people want to understand what you are saying, so always strive to speak as clearly as possible. There is a scene in the movie Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts is dining with Richard Gere and he asks to order for her and she replies “Yeah”, then quickly corrects herself by replying “Yes, please do so”. While ordering food or making a request, use: “May I please have” vs. “Can I get a ….”, Thank You instead of thanks, it sounds more formal and sincere. Always strive for the most elegant way of speaking for it is pleasing for others to hear in both business and our personal life.
9. Learn the Art of Saying No- There are times in life where we are simply too tired, not interested or don’t have the financial wherewithal to take part in an upcoming event or fulfill someone’s request. Most women just say “okay, I’ll do it” or “I’ll be there”, because they don’t want to be perceived as rude, difficult or selfish and often times it’s because they don’t know how to say ‘no’. There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself, just make sure you express it the right way. Example: Your grandmother asks you to take some items she has taken it upon herself to collect and keep for you (as she knows she is moving to a retirement home soon) and you just don’t have the space and don’t actually like them anyway. Simply say “Grandma, these are definitely some neat treasures. I would love to be able to help but I just can’t.” You can offer an alternative suggestion such as a donation pickup, gifting it to another family member or helping her sell the items if necessary. This does not leave room for discussion on how big your apartment is, if you have a storage locker or what your personal style is. If she asks again, repeat the same words: “I would love to, but I simply can’t.
10. Walk with Confidence- Whether you are entering or leaving a room, grabbing a few groceries at the market or pumping gas, elevate your body. Hold your head up high, bring your shoulders back, lengthen your spine and tuck your tummy in for a strong core. Walk to your destination with long elegant strides, always with purpose and without fidgeting. Classy women always appear as though they’ve just landed from Paris and are only in town for two days to grace you with their presence. If you don’t feel ultra comfortable walking confidently in heels, then I suggest reading this post I wrote titled How to Walk in High Heels. You have accomplished a lot to date, you should always carry yourself as strong, confident and proud. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel about yourself and how many heads will turn too!
11. Nail Your Nails- There is nothing worse than seeing someone with dirty fingernails. It says a lot about their overall health and personal hygiene along with how much they care about themselves and their appearance. Yellowing, chipped and ragged nails at any length are not ladylike. People see your face and hands first no matter how much of the rest of you is covered up. Keep your nails at a short to medium neatly-kept length depending on your profession and hobbies. Seeing the whites of the nails is important, so keep those! Invest in a pair of rounded nail clippers and keep nails trimmed regularly, especially if one breaks and the lengths are uneven-even if you have to sacrifice nail length, they should all be the same. Keep a file on hand in your purse should a nail break. Avoid getting yellowing nails by taking nail polish off your nails for periods of time, use baking soda and lemon juice and soak them if you have this problem. Once filed and given a basic buff, use a base coat to keep any color from seeping into your nails then apply two coats of neutral polish like a natural pale pink. Use a topcoat to prevent chipping and you’re all set. If you choose to wear a darker shade of nail polish, beware of peeling, or chipping which becomes noticeable far faster than a neutral shade. The same holds true for toe nail polish and pedicures. Your toes will hold polish for 3-4x as long so you can leave this longer and do some spot touch ups at the tips when necessary, or an entire fresh new coat on all nails. For this reason I always bring my own nail polish when I travel or to the nail salon because I know I can touch it up later. If you want to maintain perfect nails for an upcoming trip or event, getting a professional gel polish manicure may be a wise investment to maintain a professional looking mani as it dries instantly and lasts 3x as long. This pale pink shade called Ballet Slippers by Essie is my all-time favorite beige-pink tone, I’ve worn it for about 8 years almost every single day as it hides minor chips and looks elegant with any outfit. It was the very color Megan Markle wore on her wedding day to Prince Harry. It has also been a top choice by Kate Middleton and has the Queen’s stamp of approval, a color she has worn on many occasions.
12. Maintain Good Hygiene- There are too many women making time for Netflix, scrolling through social media, shopping, cleaning and everything under the sun but who do not properly care for themselves. Classy women are not dirty. They don’t sleep with all their makeup on at night, they brush and floss regularly, and take care of their health. Firstly, showering daily is a must. Being clean is not just for everyone else who smells you but it is so that you feel clean and fresh and ready to give the day your best. Secondly, you should wash you hair bare minimum every other day with the exception of African American hair which as told to me by friends, benefit from leaving it unwashed for up to a week. For most hair, if you are leaving it longer than a couple days, it will start to get greasy and clumpy looking (usually at the back of your head where YOU don’t look). I see it all the time in the workplace, a woman dressed well and her makeup looks pretty but her hair is dirty or she has flattened hair that appears to be bedhead at the back of her head, it ruins an otherwise polished look. We are human, we’re not perfect and there are times where you cannot it as you overslept your alarm, could barely function after a sleepless night with baby, no worries, just wear your hair up in a clip and/or use dry shampoo for a quick fix so it is less conspicuous, but wash it the very next chance you get. Dry shampoo and body sprays work in emergency situations but should not be a replacement for showering, they are filled with chemicals that cover the skin, scalp and hair so use them sparingly.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful as you strive to become more elegant and ladylike. You may not always do everything perfectly, the most important thing is that you make progress by getting out into the world to be your personal best!
Want more? Learn ‘How to Dress Classy on a Budget‘, which is my most read post! You may also enjoy the ‘10 Benefits of Being Well Dressed‘ to discover how simply putting more effort into your look can improve your life. Wondering what outerwear is worth your investment? Read ‘10 Jackets that Every Classy Woman Should Own‘. To see my personal outfits of the day and classy fashion inspiration, you can view and shop my exact looks here.
Wondering just how much a lady should share with others? Read ‘8 Things You Should Always Keep Private‘.