You don't have to be well dressed or have 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 in life. I've met many women that are brash, rough around the edges and often just downright rude and not 'lady-like'. 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 certainly do know how to accept a compliment. These rare breeds of women simply make the decision to be classy, with or without money. In my observations and own personal upbringing this is what I have learned …
1. SMILE! Smiling creates a more pleasant environment for those around you and keeps your spirits up too, no matter what life is throwing at you each day.
2. Learn how to take a Compliment. Too many women shrug off another person's well meaning comments either on their accomplishments, work, beauty, wardrobe, home and the list goes on. They do this with the "it's no big deal" response 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. Smile, politely say thank you and just feel good about yourself.
3. Nobody likes 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, screams at her kids and rants until everyone and everything is in order. This is so unappealing. Replace anger, yelling and rage with softness 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 like you would if a 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. I never like to hear "Hello ?!" in an exasperated tone or one that reeks "you called at a bad time, what do you want?" If it is truly a bad time, simply do not answer the phone. Let the machine get it and call back at a more suitable time. You might be liable to say something you wouldn't otherwise and will likely regret later.
5. Profanity is a No-No. Classy women do not swear and sound like a drunken sailor, it just doesn't work. They use creative vocabulary or tone down their thought of something terrible. 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 give them the finger, rather keep it 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 man-like, just plain rude) and if you had your kids in the car they're likely to repeat it.
6. Don't get drunk. Celebrating with friends and family with a couple of glasses of wine isn't a sin, if you can handle it. Getting drunk at a party then dancing on the table singing is just so trashy. You won't like what people say about you and what they recall later. It just isn't worth it! Classy women know their limits, drink within them and when they reach their limit they drink sparkling water, soda water with lime etc. to mingle with the crowd but not cause an accident on the way home.
7. Your Wardrobe Matters. You don't need to have a lot of money, or any for that matter to be a classy woman. Simply always take pride in what you do own, put on your best face and go out into the world. If your clothes have threads hanging and a stain you could not get out and a tear in the seam of your pants it is clear that you lack the pride that others take. Always wear clean clothes, freshly pressed with no threads, rips, stains or fading. Instead neatly put together an outfit that you know looks good and throw on a few basics: mascara, lipstick (or gloss), and a bit of blush.
8. Speak Eloquently. There is no need to speak in slang. Learn the English language properly and try your best to use it and your best vocabulary daily. You were given a brain and have had education, let your words exude that too. Form your words fully. Accent or no accent people want to understand what you are saying. Speak clearly and form your words fully.
9. Turning down a request. 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 in 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. There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself, just ensure you express it the right way. Example: Your grandmother asks you to take some items she has stored for you as she knows she is moving to a retirement home soon and you just don't have the room and do not like them anyway. Simply say "Grandma, these are definitely some neat treasures. I would love to but I just can't." This does not leave room for discussion on how big your apartment is, or what taste you have. If she asks again, repeat the same words. "I would love to but I simply can't".
10. Walk Proudly. Whether you are entering or leaving a room, grabbing some quick groceries or pumping gas, hold you head up high. I'm not kidding. Hold you head up high, shoulders back, lengthen your spine and tuck your tummy in. Gracefully walk to your destination always with purpose. Classy women always appear as though they have just landed in from Paris and are only in town for 2 days to grace you with their presence. You have accomplished a lot to date. You need to show yourself strong, confident and proud. You'll be surprised how much better you'll feel about yourself and how many heads will turn.
11. Nail your Nails. There is nothing worse than seeing someone with dirty fingernails. It says a lot about their health and personal hygiene and how much they care about themselves. Yellowing, chipped and ragged nails at any length are not good. People see your face and hands no matter how much of the rest of you is covered up. Keep your nails at a short, neatly kept length. Seeing the whites of the nails is important, so keep those! Invest in a pair of nail clippers and keep them cut regularly. Keep a file on hand in your purse should a nail break. Avoid the yellowing nails get by leaving nail 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 2 coats of neutral polish like a natural pale pink. My favorite is Mademoiselle by Essie. Use a topcoat to prevent chipping and off you go. French manicure is most classy if you can afford to have it done professionally. Thankfully after painting my nails for 20 years I've mastered the art of doing my own perfect French manicure. If you have dark chipping nail polish you are better to take it off completely and wear nothing or a coat of clear or neutral then go out like that. The same holds true for toe nails and pedicures. Your toes will hold polish for 3-4x as long so you can leave this longer and do some spot touch ups when necessary.
12. Be clean and Hygienic. There are too many women making time for TV, 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 and they brush and floss regularly, and take care of their health. Firstly, showering daily is a must. Being clean is not for everyone else who smells you but it is so that you feel clean and fresh and ready to give your best. Secondly, you should wash you hair bare minimum every other day. If you are leaving it longer than that your hair 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, it ruins the whole thing. There are some times where you cannot prevent it as you woke up late, no worries, just wear your hair up so it is less conspicuous.