Monday, January 12, 2009

How to be Classy & Elegant without Money

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 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 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 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 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 it later.

5. Profanity is a No-No. Classy women do not curse and speak like a drunken sailor, it just doesn't work. They use creative vocabulary instead. 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 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 gentleman-like, just plain rude) if you had had your children in the car, they might be likely to repeat it.

6. Don't get drunk. Celebrating amongst friends, family or colleagues 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 and singing is just so trashy. You won't like what people say about you and what they might recall later. It just isn't worth it! Classy women know their limits, drink within them and choose to drink sparkling water to mingle with the crowd but not cause an accident on the way home.

7. Your Appearance Matters. You don't need to have a lot of money, or any for that matter to be a classy woman. Simply take pride in what you do own always and put on your best face when you 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 obvious 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 natural-looking basics such as a coat of mascara, a neutral shade of lipstick (or gloss), and a bit of blush and/or bronzer.

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 most polished 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, so always strive to speak clearly.

9. How to turn 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 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 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 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, 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 Proudly. Whether you are entering or leaving a room, grabbing a few groceries or pumping gas, hold you head up high. I'm not kidding- head up, 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 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 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 to medium 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 getting yellowing nails by leaving 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 2 coats of neutral polish like a natural pale pink. My favorite is 'Madison' by Zoya. Use a topcoat to prevent chipping and off you go. A French manicure is most classy if you can afford to have it done professionally. If you have dark peeling, or chipping nail polish you are better to take it off completely and leave nails bare, use a coat of clear or neutral color than go out as is. 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. For this reason I always bring my own nail polish to the spa, because I know I can touch it up later if I have the color on hand at home-especially useful while traveling.

12. Be clean and Hygienic. There are too many women making time for TV, 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 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 many, benefits from being left 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, it ruins the whole thing. We are human, we're not perfect and there are some times where you cannot prevent it as you overslept your alarm, could barely function after a sleepless night with baby, no worries, just wear your hair up so it is less conspicuous but wash it the very next chance you get.

I hope you've found these basic tips to be helpful in becoming a more classy woman. You may not always do everything perfectly, the most important thing is that you get out there and be your personal best.

Thanks for Reading!



  1. I really enjoy this post. I just have a question about nail painting. Is it ok if I just keep my nails short and clean without any polish, since I don't have much time for my nails :-)? Thanks!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the post Nhan! Natural nails without any polish are completely okay. In fact, that is how mine are right now. ;)

    Not everyone has the time to paint and repaint since nailpolish can chip quickly. Short, clean, neatly kept nails are perfect!

  3. Such wonderful words to model one's life by. A big Thank you for such a great post!

  4. Brilliant post Karla, if you don't mind I quoted it in my own blog.
    I love number 10 !!

    1. Hi Andrea, not a problem at all! I don't mind if others use my quotes as long as they are cited. :)

  5. Fantastic. I love it.

  6. Love, Love your blog. Great Stuff!

  7. Dear Madam,

    You wrote an amazing post. Thank you very much. I thought I was reasonably classy, until I read this. I would suggest making a modified version for teenage girls as well, like me. Thank you very much. I hope you have a wonderful evening.

    Miss Elizabeth

    1. Thanks so much, Elizabeth, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I like your suggestion about creating a modified version for teens. I will definitely put some thought into it. Have a wonderful weekend! Warmly, Karla

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  9. I loved this article ~ Simple and to the point! I have a question though: how on earth do you know what type of hairstyle to choose? I have asked different stylists and no one wants to give me an opinion. This is very frustrating! What advice can you give to a woman with thick, long hair, who has a roundish oval/ovalish round face? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lorraine! Thanks so much for your question and I'm glad you enjoyed the post! :) In terms of hairstyles, it really depends on a few things. Number one being face shape and hair coloring depends on skin tone. The idea is to frame the face and make certain features pop. For example, certain shapes and sizes of eyes can really benefit from bangs to draw attention to them. Likewise, a layered angled hair style that frames the face can enhance cheekbones. I'm really surprised that the hairstylists you've asked haven't given you any opinions or feedback as they are the experts in this area! ;) It's hard to offer advice without seeing a photo of your face and current hair style but layers would be a must. If you'd like to keep your hair longer, you can get really pretty long layers with shorter ones around the face frame. You may want to add some highlights to add depth to your overall hair coloring too. One great piece of advice is if you find hairstyles that you like on others with a similar face shape, take it to your stylist and ask them how they feel it would work on you, maybe they can give you the exact cut or alter it a bit for you specifically. There are many styles I see on others that I adore but would not look great on me. The key is to have a signature style that works for you regardless of trends. I hope that helps. XX Karla

  10. I love this articlce. It just give me a power of confidence and build my self esteem. Thanks for your guidance.

  11. Love it very helpful and well put ,
    Thank you !

  12. Good day, this is very helpful. Thank you for sharing! :)


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